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Quick Tips to Improve Your Bridge Game
The Bridge is often considered one of the best social card games all over the world. To a beginner, the game may seem complicated at first. But after we explain the rules in this post, you’ll see how simple it actually is.
One of the best things about games that are not entirely luck-based is that you can hone your strategies. Keep reading to discover our selection of tricks you can use to improve your gaming skills!
How a Proper Strategy Changes Your Game
Tips and tricks you employ in the game can improve your winning odds. A proper plan lets you dive deeper into the game’s rules, determine your behaviour for a particular round, and think ahead a few moves.
Speaking of strategies, there are pokies strategies too that you can use to get yourself an edge. Some of them are common for all types of gambling and can be implemented even in card games like Bridge, Blackjack or Poker.
Bridge: A Test of Your Sense of Game
Also known as Contract Bridge, this is labelled as a “trick-taking” game. Don’t worry, we’ll explain what a trick is in just a second. For the standard version, you need 4 players to form 2 teams. The team members sit opposite each other on a table.
There are 4 main phases in the game. If you already know how to play, it never hurts to refresh your memory, does it?
Phase 1: The Dealing and Sorting
Just like any other card game, a game of Bridge starts with the dealing. After shuffling a standard 52-card deck, it’s placed on the table for each player to grab a card. Whoever has the highest value card will deal the first round after the person on his/her left side cuts the deck.
The dealing goes 1 card at a time, clockwise, around the table. Every round, the dealer also rotates clockwise to keep things fair and square. As a player, you might feel the urge to grab the cards as soon as they’re dealt. But according to Etiquettes of Bridge, you should wait until all 13 cards are dealt for each player.
This is the perfect time for our first tip — the Sorting. Remember the order of the suits:
You can sort all 13 of your cards in this order. Many veteran players also suggest that you should separate the black suits and the red suits so that you don’t accidentally use the wrong card. And most importantly, don’t let anyone see the cards you’re holding.
Phase 2: The Bidding
This is arguably the most important phase of the game although the main play still hasn’t begun. The reason this game is known as a “trick-taking” game is that you must take tricks according to your bid. You only win a game if you manage to match your bid or go over.
The minimum number of tricks is 6, meaning you can’t go below 6. If you bid 1, it means you’re bidding on taking at least 7 tricks. Each bid after the first one must be higher than the previous one. If the numbers seem to get out of hand, players can always pass.
After 3 players pass in a row, the last highest bid becomes the contract. And the partner who bid before the winner becomes the declarer. The partner of the declarer is the dummy. And the other team then becomes the defendants.
Phase 3: The Game Begins
The game just started now. The player on the left of the declarer leads the game by putting out a card from his hand. All players must follow suit, meaning they must put a card from the same suit as the leader. If a trump suit is declared, it can only be used if there are no cards from the played suit.
Whoever drops the highest value card takes the trick for the team. If a team manages to take equal to or more tricks than the bid, they score points. If not, they’re penalised by giving the opponents a score.
Tips to Improve Your Game of Bridge
We know you’ve been waiting for this section. But we can’t go about sharing tips if you don’t understand the game rules in the first place, can we? Now, let’s look at the backstage of the Bridge!
As we already said, bidding is the most important phase of the game. So, let’s start our tips right where it matters the most. Remember, it’s all about understanding the probabilities and the mind games you can play with your opponents.
- Before you open, calculate your high card points (known as HCP for short). Remember that A=4, K=3, Q=2, and J=1. As long as you have an HCP of 12 or more, you’re ready to open.
- If you want to open with a Spade or a Heart, you need at least 5 cards of each suit. If you have two 5-card suits, start with the higher-ranked suit.
- If you have two 4-card suits as well as a mix of major and minor suits, always open with the minor.
- If you have a 15 or 17 HCP along with a balanced hand, you can open with a nontrump (NT) card, as decided previously during the bidding phase.
- If your partner has opened the bidding and you have less than 6 HCP, pass. If you HCP 6 or higher, for the longest suit at one level.
When You’re the Declarer
Everyone will play the role of a declarer during the game and that’s the beauty of it. Here are some tips for you to follow.
- Always count your losers to decide which ones you can discard or turn into winners by trumping.
- Count your winners to verify the first tip. Try to count how many tricks you can win with each suit.
- When you get to be the lead, try to pull your opponent’s trumps as early in the game as possible.
- After collecting the opponents’ trumps, give up your losers.
- If you’re playing a nontrump contract, the first few tips will work. But you try to get rid of the losing suits as early as possible. Play suit by suit.
When You’re the Defender
Lastly, you’ll spend some time as the defender. Here are some tips for that time.
- If you have an honour sequence (AKQJ), lead with the top card to score as many tricks as possible early in the game.
- It’s a bad idea to lead with unsupported aces, meaning when you don’t have an honour sequence.
- Use the clues we shared from bidding to get a clear picture of the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
Now that you’ve read through some tips to improve your bridge game, it’s time to put them into practice. Keep honing your strategy and having fun!