Bridge is a stimulating card game that keeps your mind active no matter what your age. In fact, as you grow older, and less mobile, bridge can be a great way to spend time companionably with your friends and fellow players. While not exactly the easiest game to master, these days you will find plenty of resources, both online and offline that can get you adept at the game with enough practice. What is more, you will also find that you enjoy yourself tremendously.
Among the main reasons that people take up bridge as a hobby, meeting interesting people ranks the highest. Since you play in pairs, you can join a bridge club to find players and make friends. Whether you choose to play online on the Internet or offline with real people, you would need to learn the card game. When you know how to play, how to bid, which card to play first, understanding what it means when other people bid, etc. you too can take part in this game that keeps you mentally on your toes.
You might wonder why bridge is so popular. If you ask people who really enjoy the card game, you will find that they consider it the ideal game when they are entertaining, particularly if they are meeting up with another couple. However, that doesn’t mean only four people can play. Bridge is flexible enough to be adapted to larger groups so that you can have card parties, bridge clubs and even take part in bridge tournaments when you get really serious about the game. Once you begin to play bridge, you will find yourself getting involved with the game and discover that you have a lot to talk about with others who are interested in the game as well, sharing tricks and tips.
How To Get Started
Perhaps the best way to begin to learn bridge is find a group of people who play regularly. They might allow you to observe the game and even teach you what the basic rules are. The good news is that bridge is a social game and players are invariably quite amicable about letting in newcomers. By associating yourself with a group, you can get valuable information about the intricacies of the game. You can also ask questions and benefit from knowledge from players who have different styles. Even as you grasp the game, you will have a ready-made group with which to play.
Bridge is a serious hobby with millions of people across the world. To get you started with the game, here is a very brief outline of what the game involves. There are many nuances, tricks and methods to the game that you will learn as you actually play.
Technicalities Of Bridge
There are four players, with two playing against two as partners. Even if there are more players, only four play at a time. We have the deck or the pack of cards numbering 52 comprising of four ‘suits’ of thirteen cards per suit. You will notice that there are two packs of different designs. When one pack is dealt, the other is shuffled by the dealers partner in readiness for the next deal. You need to know the rank of the suits for bidding. Spades are highest, followed by hearts, diamonds and clubs. Hearts and spades are called the major suits while clubs and diamonds are the minor suits. At the time play, all suits are of equal rank except when there is a trump suit, when it outranks the others. Cards are ranked in ‘play’ in the order of A which is the highest, then K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 being the lowest.
There’s the draw for partners, followed by the shuffle, the cut and the deal. All rotations in bridge happen clockwise whether it is the turn to deal, call or to play. Once each player looks at his cards, he or she must make a call. A call is a pass, a bid, a double or a redouble. Then the bid is reviewed if a player asks to have his previous calls restated.
The player who first bid the suit of the contract is called the declarer. The partner of the declarer is the dummy. The remaining two players are the defenders. When play starts, it involves taking a card from the hand and facing it upwards on the table. You will learn about tricks, dummy etc. Play concludes when thirteen tricks are completed. Scoring is an aspect of the game that you must learn.
Most people who enjoy bridge consider it the greatest among card games as it is both challenging and enjoyable for as long as you live. When you get started, it is a good idea to learn the play first so that you have a good understanding of the bidding part of the game. It can seem a little intimidating at first, but you will find that it gets quite exciting as you get the hang of it.
Here Are Some Tips To Improve Your Bridge-Playing Skills
The main thing is to find a good teacher to teach you. One of the best ways to learn the nuances of the game is to play with a group that is proficient at the game. Observing them will teach you the intricacies of the game. Experts will always tell you to read as much as you can about the game. You will find many bridge problems appearing regularly in magazines and newspapers. Try to solve them. Many bridge players practice on their own by dealing out cards and pretending to be different players. Remember to develop your card memory. Practice one played trick, then another and then another. Understanding the playing patterns of fellow players will help you play better. Learn to be neither a slow player nor one that rushes the game. It is important to build a reputation as someone who makes a dependable partner.
Bridge is a card game of strategy and complexity. There are a number of resources available to help you learn the game at any skill level. You will realize that there’s something to learn, whether you are a beginner or an advanced bridge player. You can get a good tutor or you can learn on your own and get yourself a good foundation about the strategies and tricks of the game. Of course, practice is one of the keys to proficiency since that is where true enjoyment lies after you learn the basics. There are plenty of online resources with tutorials that will take you ahead in your bridge playing. You will also find free software that helps you through the learning process presenting different playing scenarios with instructions.
The above should get you started with the hobby. For more information and tips to help you develop your bridge playing skills, stay at Discover a Hobby and watch the following instructional videos and excellent books that cover bridge in depth. Videos are great at teaching since you can see professional players in action. You will also find valuable links that can tell you all that you want to know about bridge. So get set and go!
Bridge Bidding Tips
There seems to be many rules when you first start to learn bridge, particularly during the bidding. However, when you start to see the structure behind each bidding system it will all fall into place so don`t give up!
It sometimes helps to think of bidding as a three step process. The first part is the exploratory stage, for example an opening bid followed by a change of suit. During this early stage of the bidding, most emphasis is placed on finding a `fit`, which is a suit in which you and your partner have a combined total of 8 cards.
Once a player has found a fit, or chooses to bid notrumps, the emphasis shifts to describing the strength of your hand. Supporting your partner or bidding notrumps is often referred to as making a `limit` bid, because at that point you try to indicate to your partner the upper and lower limits of your strength.
Finally, once a player has made a limit bid, partner is in a position to choose the final contract.
Here is an example. South bids 1H showing 5 hearts and 12 or more points. (Notice that the point count is not yet well defined.) North responds 1S showing 4 or more spades and 6 or more points. (Still neither player has closely defined his or her strength). South now bids 2S and that`s a limit bid because it is showing support for partner`s suit. Limit bids also define strength and in this case 2S shows a minimum opening bid. (3S would be stronger.) South has shown hearts, spades and a minimum opening hand so North calculates the combined assets and chooses the final contract.
Of course this three step process doesn`t cover every situation, but it`s a good starting point to help you make sense of all the rules.