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Bridge Terms

These definitions are also available within the beginner lessons, just click on the red underlined words in the lesson.
eg. click the following underlined text 
balanced hand



1NT

A bid of 1NT usually indicates that the bidder has a balanced distribution of suits however with some unbalanced hands you will respond 1NT just to keep the bidding low

The suit distribution of the hand can be in either of the three following patterns

5, 3, 3, 2 In any order
or
4, 3, 3, 3 In any order
or
4, 4, 3, 2 In any suit order

However the point count is different and depends on whether the bidder is responding or opening 1NT.

As a responder in both ACOL and Standard American 1NT means 6-9 HCP
As opener in Standard American 1NT is 15-17 HCP
As opener in ACOL 1NT is 12-14 HCP



2NT

A bid of 2NT usually indicates that the bidder has a balanced distribution of suits

The suit distribution of the hand can be in either of the three following patterns

5, 3, 3, 2 In any order
or
4, 3, 3, 3 In any order
or
4, 4, 3, 2 In any suit order

However the point count is different and depends on whether the bidder is responding or opening 2NT.

As a responder in both ACOL and Standard American 2NT means 10 -12 HCP

As opener in Standard American 2NT is 20-22 HCP
As opener in ACOL 2NT is 20-22 HCP



3NT

3NT is game in No Trumps.
The bid means you have contracted to win at least 9 tricks with no trump suit.
The leading or first card played determines the suit; and then the highest card played in that suit takes the trick
The suit distribution of the hand can be in either of the three following patterns
5, 3, 3, 2 In any order
or
4, 3, 3, 3 In any order
or
4, 4, 3, 2 In any suit order

If you open 3NT you should have 25+ HCP in your hand



ACOL

ACOL is the bidding system that is more popular in the UK, Europe and Australasia. ACOL is according to The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge - "standard in British tournament play and widely used in other parts of the world". Largely a natural bidding system using four card majors and, most commonly, a weak no trump. It is named after the Acol Bridge Club, located on Acol Road in London, UK



balanced hand

Balanced hand refers to the suit distribution of cards in your hand can be in either of the three following patterns
5, 3, 3, 2 In any suit order
or
4, 3, 3, 3 In any suit order
or
4, 4, 3, 2 In any suit order



balancing position

A player is in the balancing seat when if he was to pass, the auction would be finished



bidding

In each hand or deal, one player is the dealer and players take their turn at bidding in turn and in order following a clockwise. The bidding is finished when three players in a row have passed the bidding indicated by a P(pass) or NB(no bid)



contract

The contract is the suit and level that the side that wins the bidding can earn.
The number of tricks named in the contract plus a small bonus for overtricks (over the level bid in the contract) determines the score allocated.



declarer

When the bidding has finished and the contract decided, the person who plays the hand is the first person who bid the suit of the final contract. This person is called the declarer. Declarer plays both their own and dummy's hand.



declarer and dummy

When the bidding has finished and the contract decided, the person who plays the hand is the first person who bid the suit of the final contract. This person is called the declarer.
The declarer's partner is now called the dummy, and after the opening lead has been made by the opposition dummy lays all their cards on the table face up. That is the end of dummy for this game and they have no more to do in this game. Declarer now has the responsibility to play the cards from both their own and from dummy's hand.



direct position

A player is in the direct seat (or direct position ) when your right hand opponent  has made a bid of some type but there are still three passes to be made before the auction is finished



distribution



doubleton

A doubleton is a pair of playing cards that are the only two cards in that suit in the hand dealt to a player



DP

Distribution points
To assist with the bidding process, the high card point count system is supplemented by the allocation of points for unbalanced or shapely hands using additional simple point systems. You can evaluate two components either the length of a suit above and beyond a 4 card holding or evaluate suit shortness meaning less than 3 cards in a suit with increasing points given for increasing shortages.

Without a 'fit' being found
A doubleton (only 2 cards in a suit) is worth 1 extra point
A singleton ( only 1 card in a suit) is worth 2 extra points
A void (no cards in a suit) is worth 3 extra points

With a 'fit' being found
A doubleton (only 2 cards in a suit) is worth 1 extra point
A singleton ( only 1 card in a suit) is worth 3 extra points
A void (no cards in a suit) is worth 5 extra points



draw

Drawing - refers to the process of leading a suit multiple times in order to deplete the opposition  holdings in that suit -  in other words its to draw out their cards in that suit.

the term refers to to either the trumps or to side suits



dummy

The declarer's partner is called the dummy, and after the opening lead has been made by the opposition dummy lays all their cards on the table face up. That is the end of dummy for this game and they have no more to do in this game. Declarer plays the cards from both their own and from dummy's hand



fit

The term fit refers to a combined holding of cards in a partnership in a suit.
 ( a minimum of 8 cards in the two combined hands) that can be used as trumps.



five-card major

5-card major refers to opening the bidding in a major suit with five or more cards in that suit and 13 points
this is not true in ACOL where you can open a 4 card major suit.



five-card minor

This means you have five cards in your minor suit - shown by bidding the suit twice



game

A contract, bid and made at the game level. The pair bidding and making the game is awarded a bonus.

The Number of Tricks  for "Game" 

· Bidding 3NT requires 25 HCP and winning 9 tricks 

· Bidding 4, 4 requires 26 TP and winning 10 tricks

· Bidding 5, 5 requires 27 TP and winning 11 tricks



Clubs

Diamonds

Hearts

Spades

NT

 

5C 5D 4H 4S 3NT

Red text indicates the minimum bid in each suit and in NoTrump to obtain "Game" bonus points



game contract

A contract, bid and made at the game level. The pair bidding and making the game is awarded a bonus.

The Number of Tricks  for "Game" 

· Bidding 3NT requires 25 HCP and winning 9 tricks 

· Bidding 4, 4 requires 26 TP and winning 10 tricks

· Bidding 5, 5 requires 27 TP and winning 11 tricks



Clubs

Diamonds

Hearts

Spades

NoTrump

Tricks to Make

Lowest Ranked
Bid
1C 1D 1H 1S 1NT = 7 tricks
  2C 2D 2H 2S 2NT = 8 tricks
  3C 3D 3H 3S 3NT = 9 tricks
  4C 4D 4H 4S 4NT = 10 tricks
5C 5D 5H 5S 5NT = 11 tricks Highest Ranked Bid

Red text indicates the minimum bid in each suit and in NoTrump to obtain "Game" bonus points



HCP

High Card Points (HCP)

Honour cards (the Ace (A) the King (K) the Queen (Q) the Jack (J) and the Ten (10) in each suit, each of these cards is has a different points value called HCP = High Card Points. There are a total of 40 points in the entire pack of cards (10 per suit), therefore an average hand will contain 10 points.
Ace (A) = 4 HCP
King (K) = 3 HCP
Queen (Q) = 2 HCP
Jack (J) = 1 HCP
Ten (10) = 0 HCP



honor card

The honour cards sometimes known as face cards are
the Ace (A)
the King (K)
the Queen (Q)
the Jack (J)
and the Ten (10 or T) in each suit
The 10 and 9 card in any suit are known as Intermediate Cards



honor cards

The honour cards sometimes known as face cards are
the Ace (A)
the King (K)
the Queen (Q)
the Jack (J)
and the Ten (10 or T) in each suit
The 10 and 9 card in any suit are known as Intermediate Cards



long suit

Long suit is the suit with the greatest number of cards in a hand. This term is not usually used on a suit with fewer than five cards.



Long suit

Long suit is the suit with the greatest number of cards in a hand. This term is not usually used on a suit with fewer than five cards.



LSDP

An additional 1 point for each 5-card suit and an extra 1 point for each additional card in the same suit. These 'Distribution Points' are added to your HCP. If you know that and your partner have 8 of a suit between your two hands then don't use LSDP, use SSDP (Short Suit Distribution Points).



major suit

The spade and heart suit are major suits, often referred to simply as the majors



minor suit

The diamond and club suit are the minor suits, often referred to as 'the minors'



No Trump

A bid to play a hand without a trump suit where the highest card played to the suit first led to the trick - wins



notrump

A bid to play a hand without a trump suit where the highest card played to the suit first led to the trick - wins



opener

The first person to make a bid in a new game - the opener's partner straight away is 'the responder'



responder

If your partner opens the bidding in a game of bridge - you become the 'responder'.
As responder you need far fewer points to bid than the opener needed



ruff

means to play a trump card on a trick when that player has run out of the suit which was led. If trumps were the suit led then following suit and playing a trump card is not 'ruffing'



rule of eleven

Rule of eleven. This is a valuable rule that is most commonly used by the partner of the opening lead but can also be used by declarer.
Subtract the value of the card led from 11.
The resulting number is the number of cards outstanding which have a value higher than the one led.So for example if a 4 is led. Subtract 4 from 11 = 7. This means that there are seven cards higher than the 4 in both dummy, partners and declarers hand



SAYC

SAYC is a bidding system and it is an acronym for 'Standard American Yellow Card' which is the system most North American Players use. Also known as Five Card Majors by other players.



singleton

A singleton is an original holding of one card in a suit



SSDP

If you establish that you and partner have at least 8* (or more) cards in the same suit , suit shortages in other suits can add extra power to your hand. These shortages enable you to ruff the side suits gaining extra tricks:

  • voids (0 cards in a suit) are worth 5 extra points
  • singletons (1 card in a suit) are worth 3 extra points
  • doubletons (2 cards in a suit) are worth 1 extra points

* if you establish that you and your partner have 8 or more cards in the same suit then you have what is called a 'fit'. If don't have a 'fit' then calculate your Distribution Points (DPs) using the Long Suit Distribution Point (LSDP) method.






stayman convention

Stayman is a bidding convention used by a partnership to find a 4-4 or 5-3 trump fit in a major suit after making a one notrump 1NT or opening bid; it has been adapted for use after a 2NT opening as well.
After an opening bid or an overcall of 1NT (2NT), responder or advancer bids an artificial bid of 2 ( or 3 after a 2NT opening) to ask opener if they hold a four card major suit.
The club bid which is artificial typically promises four cards in at least one of the major suits and enough strength to continue bidding after partner's response (8 HCP for an invitational bid opposite a standard strong 1NT opening or overcall showing 15-17 HCP, 11 HCP opposite a weak notrump of 12-14 HCP, or 5 HCP to go to game opposite a standard 2NT showing 20-22 points).
It also promises distribution that is not 4333.

The opener replies with the following rebids:

2 (or after 2NT- 3) denies four or more cards in either major suit.
2 (or after 2NT - 3) shows at least four hearts (also meeting the criteria for an honor holding as may be set by partnership agreement). 2 (or after 2NT - 3) shows at least four spades.



the book

The basic six tricks that must be won by the declaring side. The first six "book" tricks are always presumed and are not accounted for in either the bidding or scoring. This means that a contract at the 1-level commits declarer to take at least 7 (that is, 6 + 1) tricks, and provides points only for the tricks above the base level of 6 in the book. 



trick

A round of 4 cards where each player contributes 1 card. There are 13 tricks in a game of bridge



tricks

A round of 4 cards where each player contributes 1 card. There are 13 tricks in a game of bridge



trump

The suit of cards with the highest ranking over the other suits in a particular hand
Noun usage - A card in the trump suit whose trick-taking power is greater than any other suit card.
Verb usage - To play a trump after a plain suit has been led or otherwise known as to Ruff.



Trump

The suit of cards with the highest ranking over the other suits in a particular hand
Noun usage - A card in the trump suit whose trick-taking power is greater than any other suit card.
Verb usage - To play a trump after a plain suit has been led or otherwise known as to Ruff.



trump suit

The suit of cards with the highest ranking over the other suits in a particular hand
Usage - A card in the trump suit whose trick-taking power is greater than any other suit card.
In bridge the trump suit is determined by highest bid that wins the contract (sometimes called ‘auction’). Trump cards are a set of one or more cards in the deck that, when played, are of higher value than the suit led. If a trick contains any trump cards, it is won by the highest-value trump card played, not the highest-value card of the suit led. There are four suits possible Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. It is also possible to play in No-trumps where the is no trump suit and the highest card of the suit first led in each round wins.



trumps

The suit of cards with the highest ranking over the other suits in a particular hand
Noun usage - A card in the trump suit whose trick-taking power is greater than any other suit card.
Verb usage - To play a trump after a plain suit has been led or otherwise known as to Ruff.



void

holding no cards in a particular suit after all cards have been dealt



winners

A winner or winning card is a card that will win when four cards have been played to a trick




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