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Learning and Playing Bridge

In June, I wrote an article “Interesting People and Bridge in Davao.” When I started learning, I realized it is a confusing game and needs a decent memory.  It is now seven months since I started learning and I am getting addicted to the game. We have also found more players and one of the better players is teaching some others to play. Besides the playing, you get to meet others and develop more associations with more people here.

Originally, we played on Wednesday from about 10:30 am until about 2:30pm. We would break for lunch. The location we play is an apartment complex with a restaurant. We use one table to play and then move to another table for lunch. Now we are usually playing on Wednesday and Saturday and at times play to 5:30 pm.

As I stated, in Bridge, you are part of a team and you bid for the contract. A bid is a code, but a code everyone knows. You cannot make up secret codes only known to your partner. Not as in Spades where each player gets a point for each trick won, in Bridge only the team takes wins the contract counts tricks. The bidding tells your partner and the other team approximately how many points you have in your hand and which suit you want for trump. There is also a No-trump bid where there will be not trump. A bid means you will win 6 plus the number you bid, so One Spade means you will win seven tricks. In addition, the different suits have higher value than the others for bidding. A Club is the lowest, and then comes Diamonds, Hearts, Spades and then No-Trump. Spades and Diamonds are major suits and Diamonds and Clubs are minor suits.  If you bid one Club, then next player can bid one Diamond. After one No-Trump the next higher bid is two Clubs. As I stated a bid of One means you will need to win seven tricks and a bid of two means you will need to win eight tricks to complete contract.

The bidding convention, or rules and meanings of the bidding terms have changes over the years. Now most play “Modern Standard American” bridge. In this version, to open a bid you need a

That is the easy part, the confusing thing is some bids do not mean as they sound. First, after you look at your cards you need to value your hand. To do that you count high card points, an Ace = 4, a King = 3, a Queen = 2 and a Jack = 1. To open, or the first of your team to bid and not pass, you need a minimum of 13 points in your hand in most cases. If you have a long suit of 7 or more in that suit and have 5-9 points, you can open the bidding for your team.

Once you open, when the bidding comes to your partner, he can do a response bid to let you know if he has any points, the approximate points and if he likes your suit, or wants to let you know if he prefers a different suit. This is all accomplished with a bid. For instance, I have 13 points and five cards in a major suit or 4 cards in a minor suit I can bid one of that suit. Now if my partner has 3 or more cards in the suit I bid, he should reply with a two bid in that suit unless he has opening points and wants to let me know he has a different suit he wants the contract.

If this all sounds confusing, it is a first. Over time and playing a lot, you get to remember and understand the bidding. It takes time, but it is fun and an enjoyable hobby. For me it is almost an addiction. I downloaded Bridge tutorials and then bought Hoyle’s Card Game, which has Bridge. Now I can sit for hours at home playing Bridge.

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