Bridge is a game for 4 players. It is played using a standard pack of playing cards.
The players play as two pairs or partners – generally referred to as North & South and East & West. Partners sit opposite each other.
At the start of a game all the cards are dealt, so that each player holds 13 cards. Each player then sorts their cards into the four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs). The cards are valued in descending order, with Ace being high.
Each player counts up the total number of “high card points” in their hand. Count 4 points for each ace, 3 points for each king, 2 points for each queen and 1 point for each jack. There are a total of 40 points.
Example: You are dealt – A,10,7,6 of spades, K, 3, 2 of hearts, J,8,6 of diamonds, 9,5,4 clubs. Add up your points, counting four for the ace of spades, 3 for the kind of hearts and 1 for the jack of diamonds. A total of 8 points.
Starting with the player to the left of the dealer, each person in turn decides whether they have enough points to “open” the bidding. The general rule is that you should hold at least 12 points to open the bidding. If you have less than 12 points you simply say “pass”.
Move anti-clockwise around the table until a player has enough points to open the bidding. If all four players pass then the cards are reshuffled and re-dealt.
When a player has opened the bidding the next player has the option of bidding or passing. The decision is based not only on the number of points, but also on the make-up of their hand. They might decide to pass, even if they have 12+ points …