The bridge is a trick-taking card game, counting the number of completed tricks. It is played with a deck of 52 cards and four players, two opposing teams of two partners.
It takes place in two phases:
- auctions that determine the contract to be played by the declarer;
- playing the cards during which the declarer is trying to achieve at least the number of tricks announced by the contract.
Rules of the game
Bridge is played with a deck of fifty-two cards divided into four suits: spades ♠, heart ♥, diamonds ♦, ♣ clubs. So there are thirteen cards by color. The order of the value of the cards from highest to lowest: ace, king, queen, jack, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two. The five highest cards, namely Ace, King, Queen, Jack, ten, are generally called honors.
Bridge is played by four players; each player is qualified by a term from the cardinal points: the team (the pair of player) called “North-South” plays against the team placed in “East-West”.
The goal of each team is to score as many points as possible, scoring or making fail ( “drop”) a contract, that is to say, a promise made by one of the two pairs to achieve a certain number of tricks. To reach an agreement, the four players go through a bidding sequence; each turn, they are able to offer a contract, associated or not with a trump suit. The trump is established by the highest bid and the player who made it is the declarer.
Usually it is used a square or octagonal table allowing each player to sit at a different edge. The four players then took seats at the table, each sitting in front of his partner (diagonal if the party takes place on a rectangular table with two players per board). If this has not been done, the players briefly warn their opponents of their convention system.
Unless you receive a pre-distributed hand (by computer or players from another table):
- it is defined the dealer and what are the vulnerabilities.
- a fifty-two card deck is mixed thoroughly, then eventually cut and entirely distributed card by card to each player.
- the players check that they have thirteen cards and take a loook at their cards.
- the auction can begin. The contract value will be different depending on the color of selected asset. (The term color refers to each series ♠, ♥, ♦, ♣. It is very rare in bridge to use the term color for all the red series (♥ and ♦) or black series (♣ and ♠)).
- spade ♥ and heart ♠ are the major colors,
- diamond ♦ and club ♣ are called minor colors.
- during the card play, each player places a card in turn to each hand. When each player has played a card, the hand ends and is won by the player who put the biggest card of this trump, or if no trump was played, the player who played the biggest card in the requested color.
- the deal ends when the 52 fifty-two cards have been played (13 folds of 4 cards).
While the game of bridge is generally considered the most complex card games, rules are relatively simple.
Basically, when playing the card:
- must play in turn,
- must, if possible, provide a card of the suit.
Such knowledge is however not sufficient to play in a club. In practice, it is particularly important to know a minimum of bidding conventions.
The card play
Each deal is taking place in 13 tricks. After the auction ended, the player sitting to the left of the declarer begins the first trick by playing the card of choice. The dead cards are then placed face up in a standard manner.
The other players then place a card from their hand, in turn and in the direction of clockwise. Players must put a card the same suit as the first card placed for this trick (known as requested suit). If a player has no cards of that color, any card from his hand may be placed. When each player has played a card, the trick ends and is won by the player who put the biggest asset of this trick. If no trump was played, the trick is won by the player who played the biggest card in the requested suit.
The cards played by the dead are chosen by the declarer. The dead simply comply and is not entitled to influence the choice of his partner. In practice, it often happens that the declarer handles himself the cards of the dead, this one having no action to take may even be absent from the table.
The cards played during the trick are then hidden and put away, they will no longer serve for the ruling deal (the exact way to proceed for setting aside may vary depending on whether you play in competition or with the friends). The player who won the trick plays a card from his hand to his choice (or choice of the declarant, if it was the hand of the dead) to start the next trick.
The card play ends when all 52 cards have been played. The tricks won by the registrant are added to those won by the dead. This total is compared to the number of tricks required by the contract to determine the score of the deal.
The opening lead
The first card is placed by the player to the left of the declarer. This is the opening lead. The death then spread his cards on the table so that the declarant saw them, there is a column for each color, each column is sorted to have the strongest cards up and that the trump in the left column. It is customary to alternate the red and black colors for comfort.
In competition, it is customary to begin the opening lead face down and wait for the “Yes” of the partner before revealing it. This reduces the risk of unduly reveal a card when it mistakenly thinks is the opening leader. This also frees up time to ask the partner for the last time some explanations on the auction without one can suspect that seeks to influence the choice of the start.
All players are therefore able to see the cards of the dead.
Score and mark
The bridge scoring is fundamental to the game. This is it, indeed, what punishes all decisions made by the players during a given deal and its rich and complex construction offer many choices.