Learn to Play Bridge

July, 2018

Alice Engelbrink's Guide to Contract Bridge Card Game

The card game Contract Bridge can become quite complex with the rules and scoring techniques

There are different forms of the card game bridge. Here Alice Engelbrink is going to focus on the form known as Contract Bridge. It is called contract bridge because at the beginning of the game players agree to a “contract” of terms they aim to accomplish during game play.

Contract bridge consists of 4 players divided into 2 teams, or “partnerships”. The two team mates sit across from each other and positions are named for geographic directions, although they don’t correlate to those actual directions. So, one partnership would sit at North and South, and the other partnership would sit at East and West.

The game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards, each person being dealt 13 cards, distributed one player at a time. The cards are dealt face down, and players may look at their own cards.

What is the objective?

Bridge is a trick taking game with the object to score points by bidding and winning tricks. A trick is created by each player taking a turn playing a card. The winner of a trick is the player with the highest-ranking card.

What are card ranks?

The cards are ranked with ace highest and 2 lowest, when a trump suit is established, all trump suited cards will outrank the other suited cards.

The suits are ranked (lowest to highest):





No Trump


What is bidding?

Keep cards hidden from other players, left of dealer goes first. When bidding, a player will announce how many tricks will win over 6 tricks and what suit he wants trump to be. Each bid going forward has to be higher than the previous bid. Alice Engelbrink always chooses a safe bid. A player can bid the same number of tricks in a higher suit or bid more tricks in any suit.

A typical gameplay

West plays first, then south plays. East and North pass so the contract is won by West. 3 passes after a bid means the contract is won.

The person who won the bid is known as the declarer. The person to the left of the declarer leads the first trick.

West is the declarer, so North leads with the jack of spades. Once the first card is played, the declarer’s partner will lay all their cards for everyone to see. These are the dummy cards. With spades being led, everyone is required to follow the lead suit if possible. East plays the 6 of spades, and south follows suit with the 4 of spades. Alice Engelbrink is at West, and follows suit with the king of spades and wins the trick with the highest ranking card in the lead suit.


The player that wins the trick leads the next trick. West leads the 2 of hearts, each player follows the heart led suit with north playing the 4 of hearts, west playing the king of hearts from the dummy hand and south playing the 9 of hearts. East wins the trick with the highest ranking card.


West, where Alice Engelbrink is killing it, leads the next trick from the dummy hand with the 8 of hearts, south follow suit with the jack of hearts, west doesn’t have a heart to follow the lead suit. West plays the trump suited 4 of spades, north follows suit with the 7 of spades , west wins the suit with the highest ranking card. Playing continues until all cards have been played.

At the end of the game the partnerships add their winning tricks together to see which partnership has won the most. 


The bridge score card is set up with 4 areas.The top areas are for bonus scores, the bottom areas are for scoring the tricks bid. The left side is for one team and the right side is for the other team. Richard Engelbrink killed this round. Each trick over 6 tricks that a team wins is worth points. When diamond or clubs are trump they’re worth 20 points, when spades or hearts are trump they’re worth 30 points, and when there’s no trumps they’re worth 40 for the first trick and 30 additional points per trump after that. A game is won at 120 points. A match is won best 2 out of 3 games


Stay Tuned

More coming soon!

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