Before you learn the basics of bidding, it is best you learn first the mechanics of the play part in the Bridge Game.
Bridge Game Terminologies
Below are terminologies that will help you understand better the bridge game.
- Bidding or Auction – process to determine who will be the declarer, the number of tricks to be won by the declarer, whether there will be trumps or not, and in cases of having trumps which suit should be assigned as trumps.
- Trumps – any suit assigned as trumps is the highest of all other suits.
- Dealer – one who deals the cards; not to be confused as the declarer. To determine who gets to be the dealer one can either toss coin, draw cards, etc.
- Declarer – the winner of the bidding.
As we have learned in the mechanics of the play part in the bridge game, this game comprises of four players or two pairs. Each pair sits opposite to each other. At the start of the bidding, the dealer deals all 52 cards to each player, leaving them with 13 cards each. The cards of each player are to be kept hidden and not shown to any other players. The bidding then begins with the dealer and continues on clockwise. As to what card to present first is completely up to the dealer’s strategy. The goal of the succeeding players is to top the previous bid. A player can either deal a card or pass when taking turns.
In bidding, the cards are ranked as follows: clubs (lowest), diamonds, hearts, spades, and NT or no trump (highest). A little tip so that you can easily remember the rankings: the rankings are actually alphabetical in order – C,D,H,S and NT. C (clubs) is the lowest then it continues on to D, H and S. And finally, NT, two-letter abbreviation is the highest.
A bid is a number from one to seven plus a suit. In the end, the winning bid’s number will be added to six which will determine the number of tricks to be won by the declarer. So for example, the winning bid is 7 of diamonds. The goal of the declarer is to win 13 (7 + 6 = 13) tricks with diamonds as trumps. The bidding only ends when three players in a row declare a pass.
In this example, let us assume W is the dealer. He throws in 4 of clubs. Z then passes. Player X throws in 4 of hearts. Take note you can either throw in the same number of tricks but with a higher suit (in this case heart is higher than club) or same suit but higher number of tricks. Now it’s Player Y’s turn. He throws in 6 of hearts. W then turns in 7 of hearts. Z, X and Y then each makes a pass.
The bidding has now ended since there was three consecutive passes from the players. The partner who first bid the winning trump is awarded as the declarer. In this case, although W made the last bid, his partner X is the declarer since X first bid the winning trump – heart.