How To Play Bridge (if you’ve never played Bridge before)

Learning how to play Bridge will not only add a new card game to your social repertoire but many of the techniques you learn here can dramatically improve your performance in your other card games.  

Our Bridge lessons assume you have already played Euchre, 500, Whist or similar card games that start with a bidding process. 

Much like 500, Euchre or similar games, Bridge consists of a ‘Bidding’ and a ‘Play’ sequence. However in Bridge, the Bidding process is very formalised and there are a lot of rules to learn and follow, but don’t panic about remembering all the rules if you’re just starting – on 60SecondBridge you can always click on the “?” on the bidding pad to see the recommended bid.  These rules (called bidding systems) have been developed over decades by top Bridge players to provide you with a much greater understanding of what is in your partners and opposition hands. They are what makes Bridge the ultimate card game. 

NOTE: This lesson compares Bridge to the card game 500. If you haven’t played 500 before then please skip to the next lesson.

So with your existing 500 or Euchre etc. knowledge you’re going to try and play one of our Bridge games . But first there are a few differences you need to know: 

  • Each player starts with 13 cards
  • There are no bowers. Ace is always the highest card
  • You must aim to win at least 7 tricks (rounds). Bidding starts at 1, meaning you must win 7 tricks (rounds) to win the game eg. if you want to aim for 8 tricks then you would bid ‘2’.
  • On 60SecondBridge you can always click on the ‘?’ on the bidding pad to find out what you bid should be. That makes things a lot easier for beginners until they know all the bidding rules.

So try it now on one of our ‘Hand of the Day’ Bridge games. Play it as you would a game of 500 etc., but use the ‘?’ on the bidding pad to see what the correct Bridge bid would be (it won’t be what you expect but you’ll learn why later). Then then come back to this page and read about our beginner lessons. BIG HINT: Don’t worry too much about the commentary below the game, there’s a lot of Bridge jargon there you won’t understand yet, but don’t let that discourage you, you’ll have lots of help on 60SecondBridge.

You have played a game of Bridge (even if it was with your own rules 😉

Now you can start with our beginner lessons. 

Here is a quick summary of Bridge and how it differs from games you may be familiar with:

The ‘Play’

If you have played 500, Euchre or similar ‘trick’ taking games, then the ‘play’ segment of the game will be very familiar to you, with each player following suit, or if they don’t have that suit, the player can play a ‘trump card’, or discard a low value card of another suit. 

The ‘Bidding’

It is the bidding process that is very different in Bridge. Compared to other card games the bidding is very formalised but also conveys MUCH more information so you can bid more powerfully. The bidding process in other games will provide you with some insight into what cards your partner and opposition have in their hands, but during bidding in Bridge you will learn a LOT more about your partner’s and opposition hands and this greatly helps you to plan your strategy for the play portion of the game.

A Brief Comparison

As an example, you are playing 500 and you have a good hand of hearts, so you bid 7 hearts, the opposition bids 7 spades, your partner bids 7 clubs and you respond 7 diamonds. After that everyone passes so you have won the bidding and your target is to win 7 rounds (tricks) and the Trump suit is diamonds. After that bidding process you know that your opposition is likely quite strong in hearts but you know little else about the composition of their hands.

An example of Bidding in Five Hundred:

You   Player 2  Your Partner  Player 4  
7 Hearts7 Spades8 ClubsPass
8 HeartsPassPassPass

Now lets see the same bidding process in Bridge:

Bridge Bidding for the same number of tricks:

You   Player 2  Your Partner  Player 4  
1 Heart1 Spade2 ClubsPass
2 HeartsPassPassPass

NOTE: The minimum a player can bid to win in bridge is 7 tricks, so instead of starting at 7 the bidding starts at 1 (a bid of one means you plan to win 7 tricks).  A bid of 2 means you plan to win at least 8 etc. 

After bidding your partner will know the following information about your hand: the ‘total point count’ (how strong you are in Jack and above cards) , the ‘long suit point distribution’ and ‘short suit distribution’ of suits in your hand, also what suits you probably don’t have, and much more.
You will learn what those terms mean in one of the early lessons)

So how is this possible? Read on to discover the complex but VERY powerful Bridge Bidding rules that make Bridge the ultimate card game.

At the end of the game you’ll add up your score. In Bridge the scoring is different depending on whether you won, or didn’t win, the number of tricks your bid promised. See our Bridge Score Table (for when you achieved your contract) and our Undertrick Bridge Scoring Table for when you did not.

So lets get started and learn how to play Bridge – Enjoy!!!

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