All variations of Bridge are trick taking games, and the object of both contract and rubber Bridge is to win the largest number of tricks in the game. To begin playing a game requires four players who will work in partnerships of two. One player is designated as the scorekeeper and they create a score card by simply drawing a cross in the middle of a sheet of paper and designating one side as “they” and the other as “we”.
Partners are seated opposite one another and the locations are designated like points on a compass – north, south, east and west.
The game uses a standard set of 52 playing cards with rank established as aces high and twos low. The dealer gives each player 13 cards. The players take a few moments to sort their hands by the four suits.
There are 13 tricks in a hand of Bridge, and most players examine their cards to see if they will be able to provide a strong game in each suit. This helps to determine their bids.
Next, an “auction” occurs to decide who is going to declare trump. This auction is in the form of bids that provide a number and a suit. The number describes the estimated tricks that the team is going to try to win (which is in excess of six) and in what suit. For example, two clubs.
Bidding also takes into consideration the value of the suits. In Bridge the suits are ranked as from lowest to highest as follows: clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades and no trump.
The auction begins with the dealer. The responses for the succeeding players must be either “double”, “redouble” or “pass”. The double simply doubles the opponents bid, the redouble is said by the team mate of the player whose bid was just doubled. Pass simply indicates that no bid is being made. Should all players pass, the hand is “passed out” and all cards are returned and a new game is dealt by the next dealer.
When bidding occurs it circles the table three times and is then considered the contract. The winning team must work to meet the contract, and the player who first bid the suit is called the declarer, while their partner is the dummy.
Play begins from the declarer’s left, and is lead by any suit desired. The next to play is the dummy who is obliged to lay out their cards in order and by suit, with the trump suit on the left of their team mate’s field of view. The declarer dictates which of the dummy’s cards are played on each trick. A trick is won by the player who played the highest card of the leading suit, unless trump cards were played. The highest trump always wins the trick. The cards from each trick are gathered by one of the winning team mates and held for scoring.
To score, the points for successful contracts are noted in the appropriate column and below the horizontal cross bar. Bonuses are noted above this line. Bonuses include points for overtricks or penalties for undertricks, and these points do not count towards a win.
How to Win in Bridge – Score and Contracts in a Game of Bridge
To score contracts, the keeper uses the following values:
- Clubs or Diamonds = 20 per trick
- Hearts or Spades = 30 per trick
- No trump = 40 for first trick and 30 thereafter
- A doubled bid simply doubles the score of the team who met the contract, and redoubled multiplies the score by four.
- The declarer’s team gets 50 points for meeting a doubled contract.
The team that scores 100 points on the lower line wins the game.