Passion of The Game of Bridge

Playing Bridge: the Big Picture

Playing Bridge: the Big Picture

This is an overall overview when playing a hand of bridge from start to finish as your “big picture” reference before dig in into the detail.

[Holding a Hand]

Each player has 13 cards

In general, we can categorize all activity into 4 segment below:

A. The Beginning

  1. 4 people sits on a table taking  North, East, South and West position. North and South are partner, as well as East and West.
  2. Each player have 13 cards to play.
  3. Each player do the assessment of their own card. What kind of distribution they have, how many point, etc, etc…

B.The Bidding / Auction

[Bidding Box]

Bidding Box

  1. One player start the bidding (who will start first is predetermined) by making a bidding of a contract (there are 35 kind of them) which communicate the value of his holding to the other 3 player. For example: one bid 1 this tell everybody on the table:  “My hand has at least 5 cards of Heart, and I have 12 – 21 points”. Each also can choose not to bid with “Pass”
  2. The bidding can be written by hand into a special bidding sheet, or in official tournament, a bidding box (as picture on the right) can be used.
  3. Each takes turn to make a bid or “Pass” clockwise.
  4. If you don’t understand opponent bid, you may ask the partner to explain to you the meaning. For example if you are South and East make a bid, you can ask West what  is the meaning of the bid.
  5. The lowest bid will be 1 and the highest will be 7NT.  The lower bid cannot be used after the higher bid has been made.
  6. The bidding / auction only stop until there are 3 “Pass”es.
  7. The highest bid is the contract of that particular hand. Whoever bid that contract the first time will be the “Declarer” who will play to meet the target of the contract.
    For example : the highest bid was 5, then whoever bid suit the first time on that partnership (maybe 1 or other bid) will be the declarer.
  8. The partner of declarer will be called “Dummy” as he will not really play on that hand. His/her main job is only to lay his own hand on the table for everybody to see, hence “dummy”
  9. The opponent will be called “Defender” as they have to defense against declarer to try to break the contract.
  10. The left hand side opponent of the declarer will become make “Opening Lead”, that is start the play with the first card put into the table.
  11. If there is mis-turn or wrong bidding sequence, in a tournament you need to call the tournament director “Director !”

C. The Play

  1. The play start with opening lead. Once the opponent lay the opening lead card, then dummy will be opened and put on the center of the table.
  2. Declarer will examine dummy to plan his strategy to fulfill the contract. Both defender also try to figure out the defence to “steal” as many trick as possible from declarer. There will be pause here maybe 1 or 2 minutes, then the war continues.
  3. Cards that have been played will be put down facing the table toward the winner of the trick for traceability purposes.
  4. Whoever win the trick will have to make opening lead for the next trick.
  5. Total, there will be 13 trick , some  will be for declarer, some will be for defender. After all cards have been played, then tally will be counted and announce whether the contract was made, overtrick or undertrick.
  6. Any problem during the play, you need to call the director as well.

D. The End

  1. Then as closing, North (usually) have the obligation to record the score and result and  prepared for the next hand.
  2. Each player need to count their own card again to make sure there is no mix-up and put back into the wallet or board for next table to play the same hand.

There you have it. Not too difficult, isn’t it ?

Recommended next reading in this series: Assessing Your Hand
– Or go back to the series list: Learning The Game of Bridge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *