Bridge Lessons For Absolute Beginners.
Lesson 1 – What is the aim of a game of bridge?
Bridge is a card game for four players. It is played as two teams or partnerships. The teams play as North & South, and East & West with partners sitting opposite each other around a table.
The game uses a standard pack of 52 playing cards, with each player holding 13 cards. Bridge is a trick taking game. A trick is a round of 4 cards, with each player playing one card. One player starts each trick and each player in turn must follow suit, if they can. If the game is being played using a trump suit and a player can’t follow the suit that was led, s/he can play a trump card instead.
The trick is won by the person playing the highest card in the suit that was led, or the person playing the highest trump card.
The aim of the game is to win as many tricks as possible.
Lesson 2 – Duplicate bridge – What is it?
If you play at a club, online or just with groups of friends you will often play duplicate bridge. With duplicate bridge the cards are not randomly dealt at the start of each round. Instead preset hands are dealt so that each pair plays each hand. This way you can score your partnership’s performance against the performance of the other players taking part.
Lesson 3 – Valuing your hand
Before play starts, each player will sort their cards into suits. There are four suits: spades, heart, diamonds and clubs. Spades is the highest ranking suit, then hearts, then diamonds with clubs being the lowest ranking.
Clubs and diamonds are known as the minor suits and hearts & spades are known as the major suits.
To value their hand, each player adds up the number of high card points that they hold. They count 4 points for each ace held, 3 points for each king, 2 points for each queen and one for each jack. A pack of cards contains a total of 40 high card points (HCPs)
Lesson 4 – Let the bidding commence
Before the cards are played the players make “bids”. The aim of the bidding is to tell your partner something about the number of points held and the distribution of the cards in your hand.
Once the bidding is concluded the partnership will have agreed “the contract” that the game will be played in.
There are two types of contract – a suit contract and a No Trumps contract.
If a game is played using a suit contract then a card played from the trump suit will beat cards from the other suits – remembering that a player must follow suit if they can.
If a game is played in a No Trumps contract then, as the name suggests, a player cannot win a trick by trumping it. Trumping is also known as “ruffing”.