Mechanics of Bridge

Bridge is a simple game split into 4 phases :-

Phase Zero, is to make the G&Ts not too strong then ….


The players sit down at the Bridge table at the Cardinal Points of NORTH/SOUTH and EAST/WEST , with the N/S PARTNERSHIP competing against E/W.

The players cut the cards and the player with the highest card becomes the DEALER. 

The player to DEALER’s left SHUFFLES the cards , passes the CARDS to the player to DEALER’s RIGHT, who then CUTS the cards and passes them to the DEALER.

The DEALER then deals out all 52 cards to the other three players, the first card going to the player on DEALER’s left and then around the table in a clockwise direction and lastly to DEALER themselves. At the end of the deal there are  4 piles of cards on the table, 13 cards in each HAND.

Each player picks up their cards , counts them to make sure there are 13 cards and then sorts them into suits (most players order their cards from left to right , ♠️Spades , ♥️Hearts , ♣️Clubs , ♦️Diamonds , to separate the black suits from the red – to avoid costly mistakes).

The players will then order each suit , left to right in rank order – A,K,Q,J,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2

Once this is done the dealer then BIDS


We are now in the AUCTION part of the proceedings where the two partnerships are competing to become the DECLARER (with the other partner – ahem “DUMMY”) 

To make an OPENING BID you need 12 HCP or more , the DEALER with less than 12 points says “PASS” or “NO BID” , the BIDDING then passes to the DEALER’s left until  the first player with 12 HCP or more OPENS the BIDDING

Normally you begin bidding your longest suit that is the SUIT WITH THE LONGEST NUMBER of cards and you do this by saying “ONE CLUB” , “ONE DIAMOND”  etc.

So if your partner opens with say ONE HEART , she is saying to you , “Partner I have 4 Hearts and at least 12 points”  .

(In ACOL we play Weak No Trumps and 4 Card Majors)

The partner of the OPENER is called the RESPONDER and the bidding will allow them to build up a picture of their HANDS. The purpose of BIDDING is twofold :-

a) To Find a FIT – A suit between the two hands where the holding is 8 or more cards and

b) To determine the HCP between the hands to determine the correct “Level” of the bidding

The BIDDING Continues until three PASSES are made and the last BID then becomes the CONTRACT.

The person who first bid the suit or NT that is the final CONTRACT becomes the DECLARER and their PARTNER becomes DUMMY

Whoever is playing NORTH becomes the official scorer & makes a note of the final CONTRACT.


The person to DECLARER’s left is said to be “ON LEAD” , picks the card she/he wishes to lead and places it face down on the table. They look to their PARTNER and ask if its OK to lead. When their partner agreed they turn the card over.

The purpose of this is to ensure that the correct person is “ON LEAD”

Once the lead card is turned over DECLARER’s partner, DUMMY, arranges their hand onto the table


(Gulp!! … take a deep breath….)

the hand is positioned into suits , cards ranked highest to lowest with the “TRUMP” suit to their right (ie to DECLARER’s left).

Declarer, with then say “Thank you Partner” and will play both hands.

Dummy does just what the title indicates and has no more part of the game and stays ……Dumb….. (until the inquisition at the end of game !!) 

The “Dummy going Down” is part of what makes Bridge such a distinctive and pleasurable card game!


Cards are then played with the winner of each trick leading the next card.

When tricks are won or lost :-

If a trick is lost then it is placed horizontal on the table in front of the player , if the trick is won then it is placed vertically in front. This makes counting the tricks at the end of the game easier.

Once all thirteen tricks have been completed, the tricks are counted for each team and the last element of the game is about to commence …….


There is a pot or bucket of 6 tricks that obtain no score and the bidding of 1-7 reflects that. For each trick above 6 bid and obtained the following scores apply.

NT – 40 points for the first trick and then 30 points after

♠️ – 30 points per trick

♥️ – 30 points per trick

♦️Diamonds – 20 per trick

♣️ Clubs – 20 per trick


  • If you make a part score you receive and extra 50 points
  • If you make GAME you will receive an extra 300 or 500
  • If you make a SMALL SLAM you receive an extra 500-750
  • If you make a GRAND SLAM it’s an extra 1000-1500

If you do not make your contract the opposition will obtain 50 or 100 points per trick (UNDER TRICKS)

North then calculates the score and marks up onto either the scoring paper,  the “traveller”, or enters the result into a hand held computer ……“BridgeMate”

N.B. ” it is very important that the opposition “sees and agrees” the final score before the cards are picked up from the table “


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