Play Bridge Online

How to play bridge

a hand of bridge in the how to play bridge lesson

Bridge is a great! In this lesson I'll show you how to play. If you can already play you might be interested in learning how to score or duplicate bridge.

The Players

Bridge is a card game for four players. The players are commonly referred to as North and South who play against East and West.

computer players in a game of bridge

Today I'll be playing at and I'll be sitting South. The computer plays for the other three players. North up there is my partner and our opponents, West and East are on my left and right.

The Auction - pick a suit!

There is an auction at the start of every hand. During the auction, players make bids to tell their partner what suit they like best.

The terminology for bidding is number + suit. For example, 1 or 4♠.

For now, pick a suit you like and bid that - you'll do fine!

opening 1<span style='color:red'>♥</span> game of bridge

Those hearts look pretty good so South bids 1.

Rank of Suits

Each bid must either be for a greater number of tricks or a higher ranking trump suit, so we need to know the rank of the suits.

The rank of suits in bridge is notrumps, spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs

The auction continues...

After your 1 bid, if West wants to bid spades, he can bid 1♠ because spades rank higher than hearts but if he wanted to bid clubs he'd have to bid 2♣.

1♠ overcall in a game of bridge

West has made spades the trump suit.

More bidding...

You can either bid...

supporting partner in a game of bridge

North likes hearts, too!


...or pass.

Passing in a game of bridge

East has nothing to say.

...going, going, gone!

After three passes in a row the auction is over.

three passes in a game of bridge

Going, going, gone. Auction over.

2 was the last bid so hearts become the 'trump' suit and we'll see what that means very soon. Notice, too, that South bid the hearts first. That means, on this hand, South is called the 'declarer'.

Playing the cards

After the auction is finished, the person to the left of declarer makes the opening lead.

opening lead in bridge

West leads the ♠6.

Declarer and Dummy

Declarer's partner is called the dummy. Dummy's cards are placed face up on the table and declarer takes control of that hand, too.

declarer and dummy in bridge

North is the dummy on this hand.

Following suit

In clockwise rotation, everyone plays a card and if possible must 'follow suit', which means playing a card of the same suit as the one led. If you can't follow suit any card is ok.

following suit in bridge

North follows suit with the ♠3.

Winning Tricks

Each round of four cards is called a trick. The highest card of the suit led normally wins the trick but sometimes that trump suit that I mentioned comes into play. If anyone plays a trump then the highest trump card played wins the trick.

winning tricks in bridge

South wins the trick with the ♠A.

The person who won the trick plays the first card to the next trick.

Declarer tries to win the bid plus another 6 tricks. 2 = 2 + 6 (8) tricks. But it often doesn't matter! You can win by losing and preventing the opposition from making their own contract. Your task is simply to make as many tricks as you can.


That's it! Bridge is a lot of fun and there are many bidding and play strategies you can learn to improve your game.

find a bridge club

If you'd like to try bridge yourself then you'll probably find there is a bridge club near you and most clubs run beginners classes to help you get started. I just went to google and typed in 'bridge club near me' and up popped a couple of clubs close by.

There are many places you can play online, too. is a good place to start because you can play against the computer until you get the hang of things.

online bridge club

Later you might like to try some other online clubs where you're playing with other people.

Have fun and I'll see you at the table!

Graeme Tuffnell     Watch Contact