Bridge Online

Welcome to Bridge Captain. On this site we present bridge tips for absolute beginners!

Understanding Bridge

Grab a pack of cards, three pals and you’re in business.

Take the jokers out and there are 52 cards left. Mix the cards up ( shuffle ) and dish out ( deal ) all the cards, one at a time, starting with whoever is on the left – each player will finish up with 13 cards.

Because the cards were shuffled before the Deal, each set of cards received by the players ( called a hand ) are in no particular order and the players do not receive a set number of cards of each suit – the only requirement is to have 13 cards when the deal is finished.

When the deal is complete each player looks at his hand and sees that the cards have four different emblems on them. Three look like their names – hearts, spades, Diamonds the fourth being a club.
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There are 13 cards in each pack with the same emblem and each set is called a suit. ( four suits with13 cards – 52 cards in the pack. )

Every card in each suit has a value, either high or low or perhaps in between. Here is a list of the cards in order of value starting with the highest. Note that the ace is top of the pile – always high in bridge.

  • ace
  • king
  • queen
  • jack
  • ten
  • nine
  • eight
  • seven
  • six
  • five
  • four
  • three
  • two

The Dealer (the person who dishes the cards out ) turns over the last card he deals to himself so that the other three players can see what it is and the suit of that card becomes the trump suit for that round.

Any card of the trump suit is more valuable than any of the cards belonging to the other three suits ( hence the expression he or she “holds the trump card “).

Bridge was born out of whist – a game which has been around for hundreds of years. So for a few minutes it will pay us to look at how to play whist and this will give us a firm grasp of the basics of Bridge.

Remember:

  1. Cards shuffled
  2. Cards dealt (13 each )
  3. Dealer turns over last card
  4. The suit of that card is trumps for that round.

The object of whist is to win as many tricks as you can. What I hear you ask is a trick?

This is what a trick is.

A trick is made up of the four cards of one round of play.

The player on the dealers left puts down the first card – any card of any suit he cares to choose. The other three players have to put down a card with the same emblem on it. In other words they have to follow suit.

It is the most valuable card of the four played, that is the highest card, that wins the trick.

The player that wins the trick starts off the next round of play.

What about the trumps is now the cry from the wings.

“What’s a trump?”

Remember when we started to play the first thing that happened was the shuffle. This made the number of cards that the players received of each suit was totally random. The only thing we know for certain is that each player has 13 cards – it is impossible to know how many cards of each suit each player has – that is the trump.

Example of play

Maggie has been dealt 5 hearts, 3 spades 3 diamonds and 2 clubs. So she has her 13 cards.

The card turned over by the dealer was a heart, so hearts are trumps.

The person putting down first played the highest card of clubs – the Ace, and won the trick.

He played next the king of clubs, the second highest card and won the trick.

He won those tricks because he led a club each time and played the two highest cards of the club suit to capture each trick.

He then tried it again with the third highest card – the queen . but now look at Maggie’s hand again, she only had two clubs so what does she do?

She plays a trump because she can’t follow suit. As we said earlier a trump beats any card of the other three suits and so she wins the trick. Even a 2 of the trump suit will beat an Ace, king or queen of any other suit.

Some times it happens that two players don’t have any cards of the suit led. The first of these players may play a trump, but if the second player plays a higher card of the trump suit it is the second player that wins the trick. This is called an

Whist is normally played by the two players in two teams of two. Each player sits opposite his partner of the same team.