High Card Points (HCP)

Counting up the High Card Points in your hand is the first step towards knowing whether your hand is strong enough to bid.

How can I count my points?

To play Bridge you must evaluate the value and strength of your hand. In valuing your own hand there are three factors to consider; high card points (HCP), distributional points (DP) and total points(TP). In this lesson we will calculate the HCP.

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High Card Points

Look at the honor 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.

Card Values

Ace (A) = 4 HCP
King (K) = 3 HCP
Queen (Q) = 2 HCP
Jack (J) = 1 HCP
Ten (“T” or 10) = 0 HCP

The 10 and 9 card in any suit are known as Intermediate Cards and have value in a game but not High Card Point values, some players give the 10 and the 9 a half point each if they are in conjunction with the Jack. The 8 down to 2 the cards are known as Low Cards or sometimes called “rags” and often written as an “X”.

Instant Progress Quiz

Check the correct answer/s

What is the high card point count for AS + KS + QS + 10S + 9S =?

  3 HCP
  11 HCP
  10 HCP
  4 HCP
  9 HCP

HCP Counting – Practice Game

When you first start learning Bridge, counting HCPs can really slow down your bidding so use our HCP Practice Game to practice HCP counting until it becomes effortless.

Exercise: Add the HCP in the hand below – how many can you count?

  • ♠ A K 9 8 7
  • ♥ A K 10 8 6
  • ♦ 4 2
  • ♣4

Answer: This is how bridge hands are written and how you will see them in books and newspapers. The hand on the left is exactly the same hand as the one above.Answer = 14 HCP. Remember the 10 is worth zero HCP’s.

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