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32 Essential 'Standard American' Bridge Bidding Lessons


Bridge For Beginners

First review the summary of our Bridge Lessons so you can choose where to start. This will help you to choose the correct path.

If you have never played Bridge before (but have played 500, Euchre, Whist or similar card games) then you already have a good starting point so check out our comparison of Bridge with 500 and you'll find a lot of familiar terms there that are also used in Bridge. 

However there will be a lot of new terms so next review the basic terms used in Bridge

After completing the above lessons, you can test your knowledge with the first of our online Bridge Quizzes (below). Did you pass with flying colors? If not then go back and review the relevant lessons. It's vitally important to get the basics of Bridge right or it will be increasing difficult to understand later lessons.

Once you've passed the quiz then work your way through the lessons below.  When you have finished you will be able to play a game of Bridge!


Bridge Basics

LESSON Quiz 1.Bridge Basics Quiz : Check your Hand Evaluation knowledge
This quiz is the last Bridge lesson in the Beginners section and is designed to show you your knowledge so you can begin learning Bridge bidding.

This is also the first of the Standard American bidding lessons in the Junior section. If you live in the UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand, then you will want the Acol Bidding lessons as that is the standard bidding system in those countries.

If you cannot answer these questions then start with our Beginner Bridge Lessons.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 2A.How to play Bridge on Your Computer : Instructions
The 'Standard American' (also sometimes called 5 Card Majors) bidding system is used on our Computer... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 2B.Bid to game : If you can
The term 'Game has a special meaning when you play bridge. If you and your partner bid to game you earn extra bonus points on top of the points you receive for each trick won... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 2C.Which game? : Choosing the correct game contract
If you have a 'fit' in a suit then you will bid to game in that suit, if you have no fit but evenly spread suits with stoppers in each suit then NoTrumps is the place for your game.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 2D.Part game : When should I stop bidding?
Knowing when to stop bidding and staying in part-game is one of the most difficult judgments that beginning bridge players need to learn. "Part Game" and "Game" refers to the bonus points awarded when a contract is bid. Stopping bidding in part game instead of overbidding into game is a skill and is decided by knowing the points and cards you and your partner have together.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 2E. Vulnerable or not vulnerable : What does it mean?
Vulnerability is a system of varying the scoring in a bridge game and with each hand in duplicate bridge the North-South partnership and the East-West partnership are designated as either vulnerable or not vulnerable and this is assigned by a label on the bridge board or on the bidding pad (in computer bridge)... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 2F.Slam Bidding : In no trumps
In bridge there are two types of slams - small and grand. A small slam is bidding for 12 tricks whereas with a grand slam you contract to win all 13 tricks. Slam bidding falls into two groups: notrump slams and trump (or suit) slams.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 2G.Slam Bidding : In a trump suit
What works best is when there is a good trump fit and each player has a different short suit. Unbalanced hands take more tricks at a trump contract than balanced hands.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON Q2.Do you know about points, games, slams and vulnerability : 
This quiz is designed to give you feedback on your understanding of vulnerability, part-game, game and slam scoring. As you become better in competitive situations these factors become increasingly important to giving your partnership winning scores.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register

Open The Bidding at the 1 Level

LESSON 3A. Your first bid  : The rules for an opening bid
Bridge is a partnership game where you and your partner aim to achieve the highest total Bridge score. So there need to be some rules to understand each other. In Standard American, opening either of the Major suits promises a 5-card suit. At the bottom of this page there is a link to our Bridge Game where you can practice this lesson. ... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 3B.1NT opening : Suitable hands
If you bid No Trump you show that you have a balanced hand with no void, no singleton and at the most one doubleton... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 3C.Short club or preferred minor : How to bid if you only have 4 card majors using Standard American
The 'Short Club' also called the 'preferred minor' bid is used when you have opening hand points but you have no ability of making this suit into the trump suit. It is a waiting bid and tells partner you have opening points and only if you rebid the suit it a second time is it a real suit ... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON Quiz 3.Opening bids at the 1 level : Test your knowledge
Congratulations for finishing the lessons on opening at the level of one. Now you can make your first bid, communicating information about your hand to your partner, take this five question quiz to see if you have remembered the requirements. You will get instant feedback on your choices... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register

Responding to an Opening Bid At The 1 Level

LESSON 4A.Reply to partner's opening bid : Overview of responding
Counting High Card Points and Distribution Points are the same for the responder as they are for the opener but often you can bid with less points than the opener. Play on the free computer (link is in bottom panel) and practise responding to your partner's opening bid.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 4B.Partner opens with a suit bid : Raises with support for their suit
One of the main purposes for bidding is to find an eight card major suit fit to play in. The other purpose is to discover how many combined points the partnership has. as responder you will show partner either a minimum, medium or strong hand.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 4C.Partner opens a suit : You don't have support or a major suit fit
With no major suit fit to bid responder's second priority is bidding 1NT you only need 9 tricks for a notrump game contract whereas you need 11 tricks for a minor suit game contract... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 4D.Partner opens 1NT, 2NT or 3NT : Replying with a minimum hand 0-9 points
Negative responses are an attempt to find the safest contract as it is painful going light in 1NT.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 4E.Partner Opens 1NT : Responding with a medium hand 10-12 points
Being left to play in a 1 No Trump contract can be difficult to play, often the opposition ends up with more points than you, so when your partner opens 1NT you must think about the difficulty s/he will be in if you leave them to play there. If you have good minor suits it is much better usually to be in 3NT than game in a minor suit.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 4F. Jump Shift bid for Responder : You have a strong hand 13+ points
A jump-shift response always shows partner a long suit and a strong responding hand, without guaranteeing a high-card point count. Opener's can also make Jump Shift bids but the points they are showing are higher for each bid... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON Quiz 4.Responding to partner's opening bid : Evaluate your bids
How well have you understood the requirements for your bids if you are the opener making a rebid ,or responder?
When you select an answer you will receive instant feedback on the accuracy of your choice. If you get most of the answers correct you are ready to move onto more demanding bids... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register

Opening Bids at The 2 Level

LESSON 5A.Opening Strong Two's : Choose the best bid for your hand
How do you open the bidding when you have a hand with 23+ points. The 2 convention is a way to show this strong hand. This is an artificial bid meaning not related to Openers club suit holding, responder must make sure to keep the bidding going for at least 1 round so that opener may more accurately describe his hand. ... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 5B.Opening 2NT : The requirements for this bid
2 No Trumps as an opening bid shows 20-22 HCP and a balanced hand. It is a limit bid and is specific about its shape and its points.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 5C.Opening Weak Two's : This system has strong and weak bids
Different to Strong two's, in a weak 2 system all the 2 level bids are not weak. This system combines weak 2's in the major suits and diamonds with strong 2's 2 Club and 2NT openers. Partners must discuss which systems they are using otherwise costly mistakes can occur. Weak 2 opening bids are useful for showing your partner your weak but long holding and importantly... interfering with the opposition finding their own best contract. ... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON Quiz 5.Opening Two Bids : Check your knowledge
Check what you remember about opening bids at the level of 2 with these seven questions. As you select your answer you will receive instant feedback.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register

Responding To Opening Bids at The 2 Level

LESSON 6A.Responding to a Strong Club opening : My reply to partners bid
In the game link panel at the bottom of the page is a game which can be played at game (4) or at slam (6) level. It requires careful consideration of your entries but you can make 13 tricks even though there are 2 aces outstanding. Check out our lesson on entries in our 'Play of the Hand' Lessons on the Menu.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 6B.Responding to a Strong 2NT  : Choose the correct bid
This section does not deal with Slam, Grand Slam Bidding or Ace asking - these are covered in different lessons.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 6C.Responding to a Weak 2 : What do I respond to a weak 2 opening bid?
Possession of 13 points is not enough for you to respond to partners weak 2 opening bid. If you don't have at least 3‐card support, and you have 13 HCP or fewer, you should Pass partner's weak two-bid.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON Quiz 6.Responding to 2 level opening bids : Check your knowledge
If your partner opens a forcing 2 Club (2C) opening bid, you as responder must bid even with no points at all must bid. See if you have learned what your negative, waiting and positive responses are.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register

Openers Rebids

LESSON 7A.Openers Rebid in a Suit  : Different strength hands need different rebids
A bid is forcing if partner is absolutely not allowed to pass if partner on his first bid changes the suit, this is a forcing bid on the opener to rebid - so as opener its often a good strategy to work out what your opening bid and rebid will be before starting to bid... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 7B.Rebidding NoTrumps : Opening 1NT and rebidding 1NT mean different things
It is common for opener to rebid in Notrump Opener which give a very precise picture of the distribution and point count in their hand. The level they rebid in No Trumps and how many levels they jump indicates their points - checkout the list below... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON Quiz 7.Openers Rebids : Check your understanding
When you decide what your opening bid is going to be, it is also important to decide what your rebid will be. Your rebid can show points (high, medium or minimum, it can show distribution. Rebids can also be forcing or non-forcing on their partners.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register

Responding To Opener's Rebids

LESSON 8A.Responding to Openers NoTrump Rebid : What is my second bid?
The only difference between responding to an Opening 1NT bid compared to responding to a 1NT Rebid is that the opener has shown a different point count. The NoTrump bidder usually leaves the final decision regarding the contract to their partner. ... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 8B .Responding to Openers suit rebid : What are my choices?
You can open the bidding with 13-21 points at the 1-level. So, 13 points is opener's minimum, 21 points is the maximum points. The purpose of opener's rebid is to show their partner whether they have a minimum, medium or maximum strength hand... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON Quiz 8.Responder Rebids : Test your knowledge
Rebids by the Responder usually fall into one of three categories, minimum strength, medium strength and game going or strong hands. Test your knowledge of these types of hands.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register

Opening Pre-Emptive Bids

LESSON 9A.Preemptive Bids : What do I bid with a really long suit?
One of the most exciting parts of Bridge is bidding competitively so that the opposition struggles to find their optimum contract. As long as you make the contract you are playing your score depends only on the number of tricks you have made. In order to determine when and how high to preempt it is necessary to estimate how many winning tricks you hold in your hand if your long suit is trumps. ... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 9B. Opening Weak Two's : With a long suit but not enough points to open at the 1 level
The only time you cannot make weak two openings for are when you have 6 club cards and less than 10 HCP, this opening is saved for showing your partner that you have 23+ points.

You can also pre-empt make a preemptive overcall, a jump overcall shows weak points but a good suit.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 9C.Opening 3 Level Bids : Options with a 7 card suit?
To open a three level bid (sometimes referred to as a 'waek freak' hand) you should have: A good (with at least two honors), long (7 card) suit, no ace or king in any other suit, no 4 card major (especially true if partner has not yet passed for their turn), and a singleton or a void in a side suit... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON 9D.Opening at the 4 level : Handling an 8 card suit
To win at bridge you want to give your opponents a lot of problems that prevent them from finding their correct contract. Pre-emptive bids are a way to do this.
Note* do not pre-empt at the 4 level with minor suits as you are not in game.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register
LESSON Quiz 9.Pre-empt opening bids : Test your knowledge
Preemptive bids can be described as "the equalizer” because, no matter how good your opponents are, they will not be able to cope with every situation, this is the point of pre-emptive bids, to give your opponents lots of situations to cope with.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register

Responding To Opening Pre-Emptive Bids

LESSON 10A.Responding to a 3 level opening bid : Your choices
For a pre-emptive bid to be worthwhile your hand must be weak enough in both high cards and points for you to be sure the opponents will make game. Your hand must be strong enough in playing tricks and trump support in your own suit for you to be sure you won't go down more than two (and only occasionally three) tricks.... [MORE] To view and play this lesson CLICK HERE to Login or Register

NOTE: The beginner lessons have the unique Bridge terms linked to an online glossary so you can just click on the word and immediately see the definition and a link back to the full lesson if you require it.

Many lessons also have links to practice hands and learning activities where you can practice what you have just learned.

Our interactive quizzes will give you instant feedback on right and wrong answers, reinforcing your learning even further.


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