The Game of Bridge

Bridge is a card game for four people using a standard deck of 52 cards – no jokers - which are all dealt equally to the players. Players sitting across from each other are partners. 

A trick consists of four cards, one played by each participant in clockwise order around the table.  There are rules that govern who plays first to each trick and who “wins” the trick.  Play continues until everyone has played all of their cards for a total of 13 tricks. The basic objective of the game is for each pair to win tricks.

Before play begins there is an “auction” during which the players bid, naming a suit they would like to be “trumps” and the number of tricks they think their partnership can take.  Cards in the trump suit act as “wild” cards, outranking any card in any other suit.  They can also state that they do not want a trump suit referred to as notrump.  The auction starts with the dealer and progresses clockwise around the table.  At each player’s turn to bid, they may pass or make a higher bid.  The auction ends after three players in sequence pass at some point after the dealer's first bid.

The side that bid the highest is said to be on offense with their opponents on defense.  During the play the offensive side is trying to take as many tricks as they said during the auction while the defenders try to keep them from doing so.  If the offensive side takes the required number of tricks they score some points, otherwise the defenders score points.  Scoring can get a little complicated depending on the level of the highest bid and the type of bridge being played.  Significant bonuses are given if the bid is significantly high and the offensive side takes at least that many tricks.

When bridge is played in a home or a small group setting, it is usually played in a form called rubber bridge where each table shuffles and deals their own cards.  Your success in this type of game depends not only on your skill level, but also on the cards you and your partner are dealt.

There is another form of bridge usually referred to as duplicate or tournament bridge where a larger group of players participate.  In this form several decks of cards are used.  They are shuffled and dealt only once at the beginning of the game and placed in numbered metal or plastic trays referred to as boards.  There are typically about 24 – 28 boards used, and they are distributed to the tables in groups of 2 -5 boards, depending on the number of tables.  After a table plays those boards, the boards are moved to another table and at least one of the partnerships also move to another table.  The movements are designed such that no one plays the same boards or opponents more than once.  Also, everyone plays all or nearly all of the boards and the other partnerships that held the same cards.  After the session is complete, each pair's scores are compared to the other pairs that held the same cards and their rankings are determined accordingly.  Many players like this form of play because your end result is not dependent on the cards you were dealt, but rather on how well you did with those cards.

All of my classes are suitable for either type of bridge.

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