Bridge Rules

BridgeOriginally derived from Whist, Bridge has long been one of the most popular card games in the world. Because it's a partnership game, it's an ideal game for parties and gatherings. One can learn the basic rules of Bridge in just a few minutes, but spend a lifetime mastering the intricacies and strategies of this deep and subtle game.

The Basics of Bridge

Bridge first appeared as "Bridge Whist", evolved into "Auction Bridge", then "Contract Bridge", which is arguably one of the most widely-played modern card games. "Rubber Bridge" is the version of Contract Bridge often played at home, while "Duplicate Bridge" is played in tournaments.

Bridge is a four-player game played with a 52-card deck. Cards rank A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2 (high to low). The suits rank spades-hearts-diamonds-clubs (high to low). Each player is dealt 13 cards. The game is played as two teams of opposing partners, and each team tries to take as many "tricks" as possible.

A bidding process (also called an "auction") is used to determine which player leads, and which suit (if any is trumps). The complexities of bidding are beyond the scope of this brief overview; refer to the rule links below for details.

A trick contains 4 cards, one from each player. When one player leads, the others must follow in suit, if possible. If a player doesn't have a card of the correct suit, they may discard a card from another suit. The highest card of the suit led wins the trick.

If a trump suit has been declared, and if a discard is of the trump suit, then that wins the trick.

Bridge is a game that rewards study and careful play, and obviously this little intro doesn't even scratch the surface of the game. To learn more, follow the links below, or check out one of the many Bridge Books for beginners, intermediate players, or experts.

Bridge Introduction Video

Bridge Rules

The following sites provide authoritative rules to play the Bridge card game:

  • Bridge Doctor
    An easy-to-use Bridge learning system for beginners and improvers with Bridge games against the computer or live on the Internet. [ Requires subscription ]
  • Bridge Today University
    Offers a complete selection of bridge courses covering all aspects of the game, for beginners, intermediates, or advanced players.
  • Bridge World Introduction To Bridge
    From the editors of The Bridge World magazine, this is a general introduction to the game of bridge, geared towards players with little or no previous knowledge of the game.
  • Fifth Chair Bridge School
    A series of 16 introductory-level lessons on many different aspects of bridge. Each lesson also comes with a quiz that allows you to check your progress.
  • For Bridge Players: Bridge Basics
    Richard Pavlicek's 'For Bridge Players' web site offers this online Bridge textbook for beginners. Fundamentals of the game are explained in 12 progressive lessons, each followed by a quiz.
  • HowStuffWorks: How to Play Bridge
    Contract Bridge took off as an international rage in the 1930s and is considered today by many to be the ultimate card game. Learn to play with these rules, tips, and guidelines.
  • Laws of Duplicate Bridge
    A set of laws established by the World Bridge Federation. [PDF]
  • Learn To Play Bridge
    Even if you are a bridge novice or complete beginner, this step-by-step guide will make you into a competent player in just a matter of weeks. You'll have the skills you need to play with a bridge club, or go play at one of the many online bridge sites.
  • No Fear Bridge
    No Fear Bridge is the fun way to learn bridge. It contains a variety of online learning activities suitable for beginners, improvers and advancers.
  • Pagat Bridge Rules and Variations
    Basic rules of Contract Bridge, including Rubber Bridge, Duplicate Bridge, and other variations.
  • Simplicity Bridge
    Bridge teacher Chris Hasney shows you how to play bridge and improve your bidding and play skills while enjoying this fun card game.
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Last Update: September 18th, 2011