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How to Transform Your Bridge Game

Despite many thinking that bridge is an extremely hard and confusing game to play, if you follow a few simple bridge rules and understand the key principles of how it works, you’ll be better able to enjoy the bridge game – and what’s more, perhaps even win! So grab a pack of cards and follow the bridge tutorial below. You’ll soon see how easy it is to enjoy the game and ace it in no time at all!

1) Learn the basics

Everything in bridge moves in a clockwise movement. This is extremely important, as it means a six card suit is more important than a five card suit, and if one side holds an eight card fit, the other side will hold one too. If you assume that the leader against a no-trump contract has a five card suit, this will guide you to the best way to approach the hand and why in competitive bidding, trump lengths, not points, becomes the determining factor as to how high you compete.

2) Forget the rules

Whilst many think bridge is a game of memory, it really isn’t. To play well, you need to work out the knowledge of your opponents and trust your gut feelings. Bridge doesn’t have a rulebook to follow (as much as rule obeying can be addictive, it really doesn’t need to be). Instead, bridge is more about judgment and understanding. If you don’t understand what you’re doing, then you’ll never make a good bridge player.

3) Think about no-trumps

Always think about a no-trump contact whenever you hold a long minor suit or when your partner has opened a 1NT. Any of the below hands should, in response to 1NT, bid 3NT immediately.

SPADE K9          SPADE Q8                   SPADE 10

HEART J109      HEART K5                    HEART J93

DIAMOND J95   DIAMOND AQJ974      DIAMOND 73

CLUB AKJ74     CLUB 962                    CLUB AKQJ843

A 5C or 5D

4) Watch your body language

Be aware of your mannerisms and try not to convey any expressions so that you don’t show any unauthorised information about your hand. If your partner makes a bid that you don’t agree with, don’t pull a face or use any negative body language, as it will be extremely obvious to your opponents – the same for if they run with a bid that you do like. Try not to show signs of happiness! As well as concentrating on your body language, you should always be courteous to your opponents and to your partner.

5) Remember your dos and don’ts

Do try to use a minimum number of words when bidding. For example, if you want to pass, just say the one word ‘Pass,’ or if you want to bid three clubs, just say ‘Three Clubs.’ You do not need to say any more, but do speak clearly, confidently and loudly. You may be tempted to speak loudly if you have a strong hand, or softly if you have a slightly weaker one, but just like with your body language, try to keep you voice as neutral as possible, without giving anything away.

For more bridge information, read: The Golden Rules of Bridge (£9.99, Robinson) by Paul Mendelson.