Learn More About Bridge

The Game of Bridge

Bridge is a trick-taking card game played by four players in two partnerships. The game aims to win tricks and score points. The game is played in two distinct phases: the auction and the play.

The Auction

The auction is the first phase of the game, in which the players compete to win the contract. The contract is a declaration of how many tricks the winning partnership will make. The bidding starts with the dealer and continues clockwise around the table. Players can either pass or make a bid. A positive bid must be higher than the previous bid. The auction ends when there are three consecutive passes. The contract is the last bid made before those passes.

The Play

The play is the second phase of the game, in which the winning partnership tries to fulfil the contract. The declarer is the player who plays the hand. The declarer's partner, called the dummy, places their cards face up on the table. The declarer makes all decisions in the play of the hand, both their own and the dummy's cards.

A trick is a collection of four cards, one from each player in turn. The player who wins the trick is the one who played the highest card of the suit led, or the highest trump if a trump was played. The next trick must be played from the hand that won the previous trick.

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How the Cards Are Placed

The cards are placed individually in front of each player. The cards are placed vertically (towards us) if we win the trick. The cards are placed horizontally (towards opponents) if we lose.

Ranking of Cards in a Suit

The cards in each suit are ranked from highest to lowest as follows:

A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

Ranking of the Suits

The suits are ranked from highest to lowest as follows:

Notrumps (NT) Spades (♠) Hearts (♥) Diamonds (♦) Clubs (♣)

Naming a Suit

Naming a suit declares that suit to be trumps. A card from the trump suit is more powerful than cards from any other suit. Notrumps means that there is no dominant (trump) suit.

Value of the Honour Cards (HCP – High Card Points)

The honour cards are ace (A), king (K), queen (Q), and jack (J). They are worth a certain number of high card points (HCP) as follows:

A = 4 K = 3 Q = 2 J = 1

What is the Partnership Looking for in a Contract?

The partnership is looking for the best contract at the correct level. There are three levels to bid to:

  • Partscore: Combined points less than 25

  • Game: Combined points 25-32

  • Slam: Combined points 33+


Game is a bonus that is awarded when a partnership makes a certain number of tricks. The number of tricks required for game varies according to the trump suit or notrumps.

  • 3NT: 9 tricks

  • 4♥/♠: 10 tricks

  • 5♣/♦: 11 tricks

While you can find detailed lesson notes on the New Zealand Bridge website, learning in a group offers a more enriching experience. Immerse yourself in the camaraderie of fellow Bridge enthusiasts, share insights, and learn from each other's questions and mistakes.

Whanganui East Bridge Club

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Come and join us and you will soon understand why we love this game.
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