Let's Play Bridge


Divide the paper into two columns headed “We” and “They.” Then draw a horizontal line halfway down the page, across the two columns. Scores for successfully won contracts are recorded below the line and count toward winning the game. Bonuses and penalties (overtricks and undertricks) are recorded above the line—but these points do not count toward winning the game.

A side that has won a game is said to be “vulnerable.” Vulnerability will get you some additional bonus points if you succeed again—but you will also get increased penalties if you don't meet a contract.

If you successfully complete the contract (meet the bid you made at the beginning of the game), you score points for your team. The points are based on the bid you made above six tricks.

For example:

  • If trumps, Clubs or Diamonds—you win 20 points per trick.
  • If trumps, Hearts or Spades—you win 30 points per trick.
  • If no trumps—you win 40 points for the first trick and 30 for each additional trick.
  • If the contract was doubled—the points are doubled.
  • If the contract was doubled and redoubled—the points are multiplied by four.
  • If you succeed in doubling a contract—you score 50 bonus points above the line. This is referred to as “50 for the insult.”
  • If you succeed in redoubling a contract—you score 100 bonus points above the line.

If the declarer goes over the number of tricks bid (without doubles), he or she will score extra points according to the regular scoring rules (20 points per trick if minor suit is trumps and 30 points per trick if major suit is trumps or if there are no trumps). Overtrick points are scored above the line. If the contract is doubled or redoubled, overtrick points are scored above the line according to vulnerability. If a team is not vulnerable and declared doubles, the above-the-line score is 100. If a team is vulnerable, the score is 200. If the bid is redoubled and the team is not vulnerable, they score 200 points and if vulnerable—400 points.

Penalties are recorded if fewer tricks are won than you actually bid. Neither side scores anything below the line, but the declarer's opponents score above the line. The opposing team's score depends on the vulnerability of the team and whether or not the points were doubled or redoubled:

  • If not vulnerable and not doubled: 50 points to opponents.
  • If vulnerable and not doubled: 100 points to opponents.
  • If not vulnerable and doubled, the first undertrick scores 100 points.
  • If vulnerable and doubled, the first undertrick scores 200 points.
  • If not vulnerable and doubled, the second and third undertricks score 200 points each.
  • If vulnerable and doubled, the second and third undertricks score 300 points each.
  • Whether vulnerable or not vulnerable and doubled, each subsequent undertricks (over three) scores 300 points each.
  • Redoubled undertricks cost twice as much as doubled undertricks.

If you win 12 contracted tricks, it's called a “small slam.” If you win all 13 contracted tricks, it's called a “grand slam.” A small slam will get you 500 extra points if you are not vulnerable and 750 points if you are vulnerable. A grand slam will score 1,000 points if you are not vulnerable and 1,500 if you are.

It's in the Cards

A rubber is the odd game that determines the winner in a tie.

When either side wins two out of three games, the round is over. The side that wins two games in a row is said to “win the rubber.”

The winner of the rubber scores 500 points if their opponents have won a game, and 700 points if their opponents have not won a game. All above- and below-the-line points are added up and the side that scores the most points wins the difference between its score and its opponents' score. If you're playing for money, you can transfer the difference in points to the difference in coins!

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Family Games © 2002 by BookEnds, LLC. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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