Other Equipement and determining partners:
You'll need a pencil and paper to keep score, anyone that wants to keep score of your foursome can do so, keeping score can be tricky, and you should try to familiarize yourself with it.
Now, to determine partners. You spread out the deck, face down, and everyone draws a card. The people that draw the two high cards are partners and the two low cards are also partners. So, as an example, If the first person drew an Ace, second person drew a Jack, third person drew a 3, and fourth drew a 2. The players the drew the Ace and Jack would be partners and the players with the 3 and 2 would become partners. Now if there should be a tie, like two people drawing 10's, then the suit would determine it, so a 10 of Spades, would be considered higher than a 10 of clubs.
The person that drew the high card when determining the partners is the first dealer and gets the choice of seating. For the first deal the player to the left of the dealer shuffles the cards and then gives the cards to the dealer, the player to the right of the dealer can cut the cards. The cards are dealt face down to the players, one at a time, and starting with the player to the left and then going clockwise till the whole deck is delt. If you have a second deck this would be the time that the dealer's partner would shuffle the second deck. This is just for speed so the next hand will have already been shuffled and ready for play.
Bidding, Tricks, and play of the game:
To understand bidding you really must understand how tricks are won. A trick is in the actual play of the game and comes after, and I repeat after the bid, but if you want to understand why to bid, you need to understand tricks. So a trick is this: Once all the bidding is done, the player that wins the bid will place a card down. Now the leader may play any card that they want. The rest of the players are restricted to the suit that the player puts down. So say the leader puts down a Ace of Hearts, all the players would have to put in a heart if they have a heart and the winner of this trick would be the highest card of that suit or the Ace of hearts in the example that I used.
Now back to bidding: A bid specifies the number of Tricks your team will get and also specifies a trump suit or if there will be a no trump hand played. The side that wins the bid must get the number they specify add to the base 6 of tricks. So let me give you an example, let's say you win the bid with 3 hearts, then you'll have to get 9 tricks to win (9=6 + 3) So take this in consideration when bidding.
During bidding there is a ranking for the trump suits: No trumps (no suit specified is the highest), Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs (lowest). Now if someone bids, 1 club, if the next person bids, 1 Spade then the bid will be won by that person, but if you bid higher, and say 2 clubs, then that will beat the bid of 1 heart. A bid of a larger number of tricks always beats a bid of a smaller number, and if the number of tricks bid are equal, the higher suit beats the lower. The lowest bid allowed is 1 club (to win at least 7 tricks with clubs as trumps), and the highest is 7 no trumps (to win all 13 tricks without trumps).
During the bid stage you may double a bid by the other side or you can redouble the opponents' double. Doubling and redoubling essentially increase the score for the bid contract if won and the penalties if lost. If someone bids higher, then all the doubles, and redoubles, are forgotten and started again, if you so desire.
The dealer will begin the bidding process and then it goes around clockwise. Now as a bidder you may do a few things:
- Make a bid, but if there is a bid already made, then you must either bid a higher number of tricks or a more powerful suit.
- You can double the bid made previous to your turn by your opponent. So if someone bids 3 hearts and you think they can't make this contract, then you should double, because it will double the penalty points for that hand. You can only double a bid if the hand hasn't already been doubled.
- Redouble, now if someone says
double, and you think you can make the contract, then you can redouble and increase the amount of points that you would get if you won. Now you can only redouble if your opponent has already doubled you.
- You can also pass, now this is just saying you don't want to bid, so you say pass. If all four players pass, and no bids have been made then all the cards are put back in the pile, shuffled, and redealt. You can pass on round in the bidding, and then make a bid later, so if you pass the first time and the bidding goes around once, then you can make a bid, double, or redouble if you like. So passing once doesn't mean that you wouldn't be allowed to make some sort of declaration later, if the bidding gets back around to you.
If anyone bids, then the bidding continues until there are three passes in succession, and then stops. After three consecutive passes, the last bid becomes the contract. The team who made the final bid will now try to make the contract. The first player of this team who mentioned the denomination (suit or no trumps) of the contract becomes the declarer. The declarer's partner is known as the dummy.
Let's have an example of the bidding: Ex: North was the dealer and started the bidding:
Now, North-South wins the bidding and they have to get 8 tricks and hearts is the trump suit. Since the north started the heart bidding and that's the bid that eventually won, he will be the declarer and the south (his partner) will become the dummy. If you notice that the 1 spade bid of the west player beat the bid of 1 heart, but by increasing the number of tricks, the player to the North wins the bid. By winning the bid, it becomes a contract which the declarer tries to complete.
Now, the dummy, must flip his cards over in front of him for all to see, and his partner will play his cards as well as his own. So, dummy means just that, you sit there and watch as your partner plays the hand.
Now, let me show you one round of play so you get the idea of how this game will work, now, we'll stick with the example that I used above and say that the bid is 2 hearts. Let's look at the first trick played.
Now, the winner of the bid starts off the play. He put in a Ace of spades, so spades was the suit designated for this trick, now all other players must put in a spades if they have it, but if they don't have a spades, then they could put in any card or they can put in a heart, which is the trump suit for this hand. If player puts in a trump suit, in this case a heart, then they would win the trick. In Example 2, we see that the north side would win the trick and would continue from his side. Let me show you another round of play to give you different examples:
Once again, North starts the play because he won the last trick. He put is a diamond, and everyone has to put in a diamond. Now the dummy, which is the player to the south wins this trick, so when the next hand is played, the declarer (player to the north), will have to start playing the hand using a card from the south side or dummy player (remember the dummy players cards can be seen by all.) So, north has one another trick, but must start the next set from the south side.
So, the declarer plays a club from the south, then the West throws in a heart because he doesn't have any clubs, the rest throw in the club of their choice. So who wins? Yep, the person with the 2 of hearts, because that is the trump suit for this particular hand. Now, if two people didn't have clubs and both put in a heart, then the higher heart would win. So, with this hand, the west wins the trick and then will start the next trick. Play will continue like this for the remainder of the hand.
Few notes, when no trump is bid in the early stages, then there is no suit of power, and you would just follow the ranking on the cards and the suit designated by each trick. That's why no trump is considered a higher ranking than any other in the bidding process because it is the most difficult to achieve.
Once you've complete the thirteen tricks, then it is time for scoring. so click on the link above to learn how to score the game of bridge.