Bridge Rules – Learn How To Play This Epic Card Game

Bridge Rules – Learn How To Play This Epic Card Game

Of all the games played with cards, the bridge is easily the most complex one you’ll encounter. Although the basic bridge rules aren’t that hard to learn, the various strategies and conventions you’ll need to memorize make things quite complicated.
When played in the tournament format, the bridge card game is almost entirely the game of skill, even more so than Texas Holdem.
The game is all about your ability to communicate the information to your partner and play your hand in the best way possible based on the information you have.

If you have some experience with tricks’ games, you’ll have a good starting point at least, as you’ll understand some of the fundamental premises of the bridge card game.

If you’re really intent on learning how to play bridge, you need to be prepared to put in some serious hours of studying. Unlike most other games like rummy, the bridge doesn’t make any sense if you try to play it “randomly.”
In this article, you’ll learn bridge rules and some fundamental concepts of the game, which should give you a nice head start on your journey. You won’t be ready to sit down and play immediately, but you’ll at least have a good idea of where to go next.
Bridge Glossary

Bidding – the process of making a contract in bridge game, determining the goal that the partnership wants to achieve.
Tricks – batches of four cards played face up. The number of tricks won determines if the contract is completed.
Declarer – the player trying to make the contract.
Defenders – players trying to prevent the declarer from making their contract.
Dummy – declarer partner’s hand that’s placed face-up on the table after the bidding and before the play starts.
Trump suit – the suit that’s been selected as the trump through the bidding process.
NT – no-trump. A special kind of contract in bridge, where there is no trump suit.
Game – a bridge contract of at least 3NT or 4 of any suit
Small slam – a contract at the 6 level (like 6NT or 6c)
Grand slam – a contract at the 7 level (like 7h or 7d)
Conventions – special bidding systems used to exchange information between partners without actually talking.

Bridge Game Preparation

As far as logistics are concerned, the bridge card game isn’t particularly demanding. All you’ll need is a standard deck of cards and three more players.
The game is traditionally played by four players and in pairs or partnerships. Players sitting across each other are partners and are designated by four sides of the world.

North-South (N-S)
East-West (E-W)

While learning how to play bridge, it’s also a good idea to have a handy bridge scoring card.
You can find these online, but they are also often included in the decks. You’ve probably seen these before but didn’t know what they were for.
When playing in an official bridge tournament, you’ll also come across bidding cards. These are used for the bidding process, but you don’t need them when playing with friends. You can verbally announce your bids.
Bridge Rules

For most people, it will take some time to learn and understand bridge rules fully. The game is quite complicated, but you shouldn’t let this discourage you though.
Give yourself enough time and learn at your own pace.
The Objective of the Bridge Game
Your main objective in the bridge game is to either make the contract that you declared or prevent the other partnership from making the contract.

The side trying to make the contract is known as the declarers, and the other partnership takes on the defenders’ role.

To make your contract, you’ll need to win tricks through a process similar to that found in the game of spades. But, how do you arrive at the contract in the first place?
Bidding in Bridge: Making the Contract
In the bridge game, the bidding process is probably the most important and the most difficult part. You’re trying to achieve the highest number of points possible between you and your partner, but avoid going too high as failing to complete the contract comes with penalties.

In the simplest of terms, the contract defines the trump suit and the number of tricks you promise to win.

There are three main types of contracts in the bridge card game:

Minor suit contracts: where clubs or diamonds are trumps
Major suits: where hearts and spades are trumps
Non-trump (NT): there are no trumps

But how do you go about making a contract?
It happens through the process of bidding.
It starts with the dealer, who can put in the initial bid of their choosing, or decide to pass, allowing the next player to make a bid (or pass), etc.
An individual bid promises to win six tricks plus whatever the number is mentioned in the bid.
For example, the dealer could start with the bid of one heart (1h). This means they’re going for a contract of at least seven tricks (6 + 1), with hearts as the trump suit.
The player left to the dealer can elect to pass or bid themselves. If they want to bid, the bid has to be higher than the original bid.
In this particular example, the bid could be one spade (1s) or any bid on the second level (2c, 2d, 2h, 2s).
When making the bid on the same level, you have to bid the higher suit. Unlike when playing poker hands, suits have a different value in bridge card game and are ranked as follows –  clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades (from the lowest to the highest).

To arrive at the final contract, two partners need to work together.

This is where bridge rules become tricky. Every bid you make sends a certain message to your partner, and based on that information, they’ll decide their action.
If North bids 1H and West passes, what should South do? How do they best support their partner and arrive at the most favorable contract?
This is where various bridge game conventions come into play. These conventions explain what every particular bid means within that convention. I’ll expand more on that concept a bit later in the article, although you need to know that this is a vast topic that countless books have been written on.
Scoring in Bridge

Much like the rest of the game, bridge rules for scoring are rather complicated. It will take you some time to memorize them, so you should probably print them out or have the scoring card around while still learning.
The number of points won in a round depends on the kind of contract declared and whether the declarers make the contract, fall short, or go over the promised number of tricks.

Standard contracts: 50 points for making a contract + additional points for any over-tricks (+20 for a minor suit, and +30 for every major suit over-trick). If your contract is no trump, you’ll also receive additional +10 points.
Bidding the game: bidding at level 4 for major suits (4h), at level 5 for minor suits (5c), and at level 3 for NT: +250 points if you make the game, plus all the points described above (basic contract and over-trumps).
Small slam: making any contract at 6 level (like 6c or 6NT): +500 bonus points
Grand slam: +1,000 bonus points.

If you fail to make your contract, you’ll receive -50 points for every under-trick.

For example, if you end up playing 3h but only make seven tricks, you’ll be two tricks short and will receive -100 points.

During the bidding process, your opponents can also call doubles on your contract if they believe you can’t make it. In that case, penalties for failing to make the contract are higher.
If you believe the other side is wrong and you’re confident you can make the contract, you can redouble, which gives you the chance to win extra points when you make the contract.
I won’t explain the points’ system for doubles and redoubles here in detail. When you’re ready, you can easily find this information, but you won’t need it when just starting with the bridge game.
Going for doubles is an advanced play that you can only make once you develop a better understanding of how the whole bidding process works and how to figure out if you have enough key cards between you and your partner to prevent the opponents from making the contract.
You should focus on learning basic bridge rules and how to play this game for the time being. When the time comes to expand on your knowledge, there are heaps of resources out there to help you.
Dealing Cards in Bridge
Everyone receives 13 cards, face-down, to start the round. Cards are dealt one at a time, starting with the player to the dealer’s left and moving clockwise.
How to Play the Bridge Card Game

Learning how to play bridge once the bidding is done is actually the easier part. While there is still a lot of strategy involved if you want to play properly, at least the bridge rules for this part of the game are fairly straightforward.
Playing a Hand of Bridge
Once the bidding is done, you’ll know who’s the declarer and who’s defending. At the start of the play, the player’s partner making the final bid will put their cards on the table, face-up, for everyone to see.

This is known as the “dummy” hand. Once cards are tabled, the partner no longer actively participates in the hand.

The player seated immediately left to the declarer (the still-active player from the declaring partnership) will play the first card, face-up, on the table.
The play then continues clockwise, so it’s the dummy hand that goes next on the first play.
Since the declarer’s partner is no longer participating in the hand, the declarer decides what cards they want to play from the dummy. So, the declarer plays both hands for the partnership.
The player who wins the trick is the next lead with any card from their hand, and the round plays according to the same rules.
Winning Tricks in Bridge
The first card to be played on the table is known as the lead. Once the lead is played, all players must follow suit, if possible.
So, if the player leads with an Ac, all players must also play a club, if they have any clubs in their hands.

The trick is won by the player playing the highest-ranking card of the corresponding suit (aces are high in bridge card game).

If a player can’t follow suit, they’re allowed to play any card from their hand. If it is a contract with a trump suit, this includes any trump cards. In the event one or more trump cards have been played, the trick is won by the player playing the highest-ranking trump card.
In no-trump (NT) contracts, there is no trump suit. This means that the trick is always won by the highest card in the lead suit.
Calculating Points
Once all 13 cards have been played, players will count tricks and mark down the scores. The scoring is done using the earlier described system. When all scores are noted, a new hand of the bridge card game can commence.
Bridge Game Tips & Tricks

Learning bridge card game rules is one thing, but learning how to play bridge well and make no mistakes in the process is an entirely different matter.
Bridge strategies are so complex and detailed that it will take much more than reading a few tips to become good at it.
However, you should still try to understand these common notions, as they’ll help you on your journey to becoming a great bridge player.
Bridge Card Game Tip #1: What Are Conventions in Bridge?
If you remember, we’ve mentioned conventions earlier in this text. These are very specific bidding systems that help players communicate with each other without talking to their partner. In bridge, you’re not allowed to talk to other players unless you’re making a bid.
In official tournaments, special cards are used for this purpose, and players aren’t allowed to talk or exchange any signals at all. Any such behavior would be considered cheating.
There are well over two dozen bridge game conventions, and it’s up to you and your partner to agree which one you want to use. You also need to let your opponents know what convention you’re using, but it’s not your job to explain how it works. If they don’t know, that’s on them.

To give you an idea of how these conventions work, here’s an example of Acol, a fairly simple one quite popular with beginners.

In Standard Acol, your opening bid promises at least 12 high card points. High card points (HCP) are counted as follows:

Aces: 4 points
Kings: 3 points
Queens: 2 points
Jacks: 1 point

There are many special bids within this system. For example, when you open with the bid of two clubs (2c), you aren’t sending a message that you want to play in clubs.
Instead, you’re letting your partner know you have a strong hand (at least 23 HCP) and are inviting them to the game (going at least to level 4 or 3NT).
Based on your partner’s response, you’ll try to further determine what suit you want to play in or if you might be better at playing in NT.
This is just a very small fragment of how bridge game conventions work. Once you’re done learning bridge rules, I suggest you spend some time studying Standard Acol, as you’ll need to know at least one convention if you want to play the game correctly.
Bridge Card Game Tip #2: There Is No Shame in Passing
New bridge players often feel compelled to make a bid, especially when they’re the first to speak. There is really no shame in passing, though.

You should only open bidding if you have at least 12 HCP in your hand.

This is the bare minimum to start looking for a contract between you and your partner. If you have fewer points, simply pass and see what happens.
Enjoy All the Intricacies of the Bridge Card Game
If you feel like all these rules and conventions are too much to handle, don’t worry. Learning how to play bridge is no easy task, and this isn’t a card game you can learn in a few minutes.
Unless you happen to be very talented, you’ll spend a long time feeling a bit lost while playing. That’s perfectly fine, though.
Bridge isn’t the war card game or anything in an alight with go fish. It’s a complex game that will test your skills and your memory to the max.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you fall in love with it, bridge has a lot to offer.

There is always something new to learn. If you find a partner who’s equally enthusiastic about it, you can have loads of fun playing and learning bridge card game.

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Euchre Rules – Learn How To Play This Card Game And Win

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Euchre is a fairly popular card game played in the US, Canada, Australia, and many other parts of the world. It is another game with tricks and usually played in pairs. While euchre rules aren’t as complicated as Texas Holdem rules, for example, but the game takes a bit of time to learn. If you’re on the lookout for a simple game that you can learn and start playing within a few minutes, this one isn’t your best choice. On the other hand, the Euchre card game can be quite exciting once you learn how to play it to have fun with your friends. The good news is that Euchre rules seem more complex than they are. Once you figure out the basics of how to play euchre, things will quickly fall into place. It may take you a few games to become comfortable with it, but the learning curve is worth it as this game can provide you with a lot of entertainment, especially if you enjoy card games that have a strategic aspect to them. Main Euchre Game Info 4 players Need 1 card deck Need paper and pen to track score Euchre Glossary Tricks – sets of four cards played on the table, won by the highest-ranking card. Tricks are used to calculate points. Turn-up – the card from the top of the deck that’s turned face up after the deal, used to try and make the trump in the first bidding round. Trump – one of the suits which is chosen to rank above the others. Making a trump – the bidding process in euchre used to determine what suit will be the trump for the round. Right bower – the jack of the trump suit. The highest-ranking card in euchre. Left bower – the jack of the same color as the trump suit. The second-highest ranking card in euchre. Attackers – the partnership that called the trump. Defenders – the partnership defending against the attackers, trying to prevent them from making the contract. Euchred – when the attacking partnership fails to make at least three trumps, they’re euchred, and their opponents are awarded two points. Sticking the dealer – a special euchre rule, whereby the dealer must call the trump on the second round of bidding without the option to pass. Going alone – calling the trump and announcing that you’ll play on your own. In this case, the partner folds their hand, and they don’t participate in the play for that round. Euchre Card Game Preparation Since euchre is a team game, you’ll need at least three more players to play the game the way it’s meant to be played. It’s probably the hardest part of the preparation process, as you’ll need to know three more people who know how to play euchre or are willing to learn. Other than this, you just need a single deck of standard playing cards. In euchre, you won’t be using the entire deck, though. The game is played with a shortened deck that contains up to 32 cards. The deck is shortened by removing small cards, and you can choose from a few options: Remove all cards lower than 9s (24 cards) Remove all cards lower than 8s (28 cards) Remove all cards lower than 7s (32 cards) All three of these options work, and the game rules stay the same, so it’s a matter of personal preference. Optionally, you can also get specialized euchre decks. You’ll need to keep score in euchre as well, but you won’t need a pen and paper to do so, like in rummy. The game has its own elegant way of keeping score using those lower cards that have been removed, but more on that in a minute. Euchre Rules – Master The Basics If you have some experience with other games featuring tricks, euchre rules shouldn’t be too hard to learn. For those who have never played these types of games, it may be a bit more complicated, but you’ll get there. Euchre Objective The main goal of a single round of euchre is to win at least three tricks as a partnership. Game points are awarded based on the number of tricks won and how they were won. To win the game of euchre, a partnership will need to reach a total number of points agreed upon ahead of time. Usually, it’s 5, 7, or 10 points. Dealing Cards Each player starts a hand of euchre with five cards. The deal begins with the first player to the dealer’s immediate left. The dealer gives every player three cards first, followed by two more cards. Alternatively, they can start with two cards, followed by three. All cards are dealt face down. The rest of the deck is then placed in the middle of the table, and the top card is turned over. This card, called the “turn-up,” plays an important role, but more on that a bit later, in the how to play euchre section. Card Rankings in Euchre Euchre uses a fairly standard system for ranking cards, but there are a few notable exceptions you need to keep in mind. Of course, like with most trump games, cards in trump suit beat non-trump suits, with one exception. The strongest card in euchre is the jack of the trump suit. This card is known as the “right bower.” The second-strongest card is the jack of the same color as the trump suit. For example, if spades are trumps, this would be the Jack of Clubs. This card is treated as the trump and is known as the “left bower.” Other than this, cards are ranked as normal. Aces are high in the Euchre card game, followed by Kings, Queens, regular Jacks, and non-face cards according to their values (10s, 9s, 8s, and 7s). Scoring in Euchre Card Game The scoring system in euchre isn’t too complicated. As already mentioned, points are gathered by winning tricks and added as follows: 1 point for winning 3 or 4 tricks by a partnership calling trump 2 points for winning 5 tricks by a partnership 1 point for winning 3 or 4 tricks as a lone hand 4 points for winning 5 tricks as a lone hand If the partnership that makes the trump fails to make at least three tricks, opponents are awarded two points. This is known as getting euchred. As mentioned, those lower cards removed from the deck are often used to keep track of the euchre score. For example, if playing a game to five points, players will use a three and a four to keep score. For the first point, a three will be positioned face up and covered by the four facing down so that it exposes just one pip (to indicate one point). When another point is made, the four will be turned face up and covered by the face-down three so that two pips are showing. To indicate three points, the three will be placed face-up on the four, and to show four points, the four is placed over the three, face up. To put it simply, the number of suit symbols showing will represent your team’s score. You can use some other systems to keep track of the euchre score using lower cards as well. Whatever system you go for, it is a really fun and convenient way to do it without needing special tracking systems like those used in cribbage. How to Play Euchre Card Game With these technicalities out of the way, it’s now time to learn how to play euchre. As you can see, the game isn’t all that complicated in terms of basics. Most of it makes sense if you have any card game experience once you remember that two jacks are very powerful in euchre. Bidding in Euchre: Making the Trump At the start of a euchre hand, each player will have five cards. These cards aren’t exposed, and they’re only known to the player holding them. The first order of business in the hand of euchre is making the trump, i.e., determining what the trump suit will be for the round. Remember that card that the dealer turned face up after finishing the deal. This is where it comes into play. The first player to the dealer’s left will have the first opportunity to either accept the trump suit or pass on it. If they pass, the next player gets the same option, and so on. For example, if the turn-up is the ten of hearts, if one player accepts, hearts will become trumps for that round. If all players decide to pass on the turn-up, there will be another attempt at making the trump, once again starting with the first player to the dealer’s left. This time around, players can declare their own suit, but they can’t declare the suit that was passed on during the first round. If no one declares the trump suit, cards will be gathered, reshuffled, and a new round will begin. If a player declares a trump suit, that suit will become trump for the round, and the play can begin. Sticking the Dealer If you want to make the game move faster, you can introduce a special rule, where the hand is always played. If everybody passes on the second round of bidding and it gets to the dealer, they can’t pass. Instead, they have to call a trump. This is called “sticking the dealer.” Going Alone When making the trump, a player can choose not to play with the partner and play alone instead. If you announce you want to go alone, your partner, i.e., the player sitting across from you, will put their cards face down on the table in front of them, and they will not participate in the play for that round. Playing a Hand of Euchre Once the bidding process is over, and the trump suit has been determined, the play can finally begin. Players who called the trump are known as attackers, and they’re under pressure to make at least three tricks. The other team is defenders, and if they can prevent this from happening, they’ll euchre the attackers, earning two points. Once again, the play begins with the first player to the dealer’s left. They’ll play the first card, which is known as the lead. Going clockwise, all players have to follow suit (play a card of the same suit) if possible. A trick is won by the highest-ranking card of the corresponding suit or by the highest-ranking trump card. For example, let’s say diamonds are trumps and the player leads with the seven hearts. The next player has no hearts and plays the queen of spades. The other two players play the eight of hearts and the ten of hearts. The trick goes to the player playing the ten of hearts, as they have played the highest-ranking card in the right suit. They’ll collect all four cards in the middle, winning one trick, and they’ll get to lead next. However, had any of the three players played any trump cards, for example, the eight of diamonds, they would have won the trick because trumps always beat all other cards. Of course, if two or more players play a trump, the highest one wins. A trump card can only be played if the player doesn’t have any cards in the suit. Otherwise, they must follow suit. Keep in mind that the jack of the same color as the trump suit is also a trump, and it is the second-best card in euchre. So, in this scenario, if you play the jack of hearts, you’ll only lose the trick if someone plays the jack of diamonds. Once all cards have been played, tricks are counted and points awarded according to the previously described rules. If a player decided to go alone, the round is played by just three players, the lone player (attacker) against the defending partnership. If they can make all five tricks, they will earn four points for the partnership. Euchre Strategy, Tips & Tricks This game does have quite a bit of strategy attached to it, and learning how to play euchre well will take you some time and practice. This isn’t a bad thing, though, especially if you’re a competitive person and prefer games where luck isn’t the only determining factor. You won’t find any push fold chart for euchre, but sticking to some tips when playing should increase your chances of winning. Always lead with a singleton non-trump ace If you have a non-trump ace in your hand and that’s the only card of that suit you have (known as a singleton), always lead with it. You have a good chance of winning the trick because it’s very likely both defenders have at least one card of that suit. Be careful about going alone It’s tempting to try and go alone as you can win those tasty bonus points. However, when making the judgment, really try to think long and hard about this decision. If you think the partner can help you make the contract, it’s always better to keep them in. You should only go alone when you’re pretty sure that the partner’s hand is pretty useless for the current contract. Keep track of cards that have been played Euchre is played with a shortened deck, so there aren’t many cards to memorize, to begin with. Thus, you really should pay attention to what was played and what cards are still out there. This will prevent you from making big mistakes and help you make some strategic plays based on the likely remaining holdings of your opponents. Avoid trumping your partner’s ace If your partner leads with an ace or plays the ace of the suit, you really shouldn’t trump it, if you can at all avoid it. It’s not only that their ace will likely give you the trick, but your partner might already have a plan on what card they want to lead with next. You trumping the ace will thwart those plans. There is much more strategy to euchre than this and, if you like the game, you’ll have no problems finding plenty of resources to continue learning. Unfortunately, I’m not a euchre expert myself, so hopefully, these basic tips will help you get off to a good start. The rest is up to you! Euchre Card Game Summary While it’s not the simplest card game out there, euchre is definitely an interesting option for those who enjoy games with some strategy elements throwing into the mix. The Euchre card game can be quite challenging and entertaining from the bidding process to the play itself. It’s not just about how you play your cards; it’s also about how well you cooperate with your partner. Finding a few people to play euchre with might be a bit of a challenge, though. If all you have at the moment is you and your deck of cards and are bored out of your mind, check out our solitaire rules!

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