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How do you play bridge? Answered

How can I teach bridge to friends?


Are you playing good old-fashioned rubber bridge (no weird conventions, simple value-bidding)? Or are you trying to teach newbies modern duplicate bridge? The latter is probably destined for disaster unless they're already theoretical computer scientists :-/

The canonical (U.S.) resource is, of course the ACBL. They're focused on duplicate bridge, with a nationwide network of clubs, tournaments, points and rankings, and so forth. It's probably too much infrastructure for a simple friendly game, but I feel like I have to mention them.

For just the basics, you might try some of the resources here. I don't know anything about them, but a quick scan doesn't reveal anything obviously stupid :-)

A Google search for "learn rubber bridge" will give you both of the links above and a lot more. When asking basic questions, always remember, Google Is Your Friend.

It was the bidding I didn't get, but maybe someone wasn't trying (in a short space of time) to explain "Rubber" to me? L

The "rubber" adjective refers (via some obscure pre-20th Century British colloquialism) to the fact that matches consists of multiple games (each of which may have one or more deals), with the match decided on a best-two-of-three basis.

In the original formulations of contract bridge, bidding was meant to be direct and quantitative, just as in Hearts: If I bid "two diamonds," then I should be saying "between my hand and my partner's we can take a total of eight tricks using diamonds as the trump suit."

There are rules (guidelines) for how to count tricks in your own hand, by assigning point values to various cards, and guidelines for using your partner's bid(s) to infer the contents of their hand. In the old days, there were some simple "conventions" defined, where you could make bids that were not quantitative, but rather asked questions or gave answers in an artificial way.

Modern duplicate contract bridge has gone far beyond what I've just described. Nowadays, basically every possible bid (including "pass", or "no bid"!) is assigned some special, peculiar meaning within a convention system, a meaning that has little or nothing to do with actually claiming to make some number of tricks in a trump suit.

You might be able to tell that I'm not a big fan of conventions :-/

Mmm, I have had the bidding process explained to me befor, but I don't see a logical ink between "two diamonds" and "between my hand and my partner's we can take a total of eight tricks using diamonds as the trump suit." - where do I relate this to "between my hand and my partner's we can take a total of six tricks using diamonds as the trump suit." ? lost... L

Ah. One of the underlying rules is that you must take six tricks no matter what; there are a total of 13 tricks per hand, so if you bid you're claiming you'll take a majority. The number you bid is the additional tricks on top of those six (hence a two-bid says you can take a total of eight), and the suit specifies what you want trumps to be. Tricks are earned by the partnership, not by each player individually.

Ah right, that does make sense. Only six tricks would be a no-bid or something? L

Well, yeah, effectively, but if you don't bid you don't get the contract (i.e., you don't win the opportunity to play for and get points for tricks). The defense has the task of preventing the win, not of gaining a win themselves.

Start out with the basics and how the game is played. Most people are visual learners so it would help to play a couple practice games and explain each move. Remember: Practice Makes Perfect. :)

If you're familiar with bridge, you'll know that there are no "moves."