Learn to Play Contract Bridge: Rules & Tips

Players 4 Players
Difficulty 8/10
Recommended Age 10+
Game Category Trick-taking
Playing the card game Contract Bridge
Rule of Card Logo Icon
Whistle icon

Contract Bridge Game Overview

Contract Bridge is a highly strategic and exciting card game that can be played with a standard deck of 52 cards. It is a game of partnerships where players take turns to bid, declare a trump suit, and take tricks. The goal is to earn points by winning tricks and fulfilling the contract bid while preventing the opposing partnership from doing the same. Contract Bridge can be played by anyone, from beginners to experts, and offers endless hours of fun and challenge. Let's dive into the world of Contract Bridge!

Target goal icon

Objective of the Game

The objective of Contract Bridge is to score points by winning tricks, which are the cards played during each round of the game. The game is played in multiple rounds or "hands," and the team that reaches the predetermined number of points first wins.

The main goal is to fulfill the contract bid by winning a specific number of tricks while declaring the trump suit, without going over or under the bid. The partnership that fulfills the contract bid earns points based on the level of the bid, while the opposing partnership earns points for each trick they win.

Hand of cards icon

Materials Needed for Playing Contract Bridge

  • Standard deck of 52 playing cards
  • Pencil and paper for scorekeeping

Cards Used

A standard deck of 52 playing cards is used to play Contract Bridge. The game does not require jokers, and the cards are ranked in descending order from Ace (highest) to 2 (lowest). The suits are of equal rank, with no suit being higher than the other. However, during the bidding process, one suit may be declared as the "trump" suit, which will beat all other suits except for higher-ranking cards of the same suit.

Other Supplies Needed


Clipboard with rules checklist icon

How To Play Contract Bridge

  1. Determine the dealer: To start, players must determine who will deal the cards. This can be done by any method the players agree on, such as the player with the highest card or the player to the left of the previous dealer.
  2. Shuffle and deal the cards: The dealer shuffles the cards and deals them one at a time clockwise to each player until everyone has 13 cards.
  3. Bidding: The game begins with each player bidding on how many tricks they think they can win. The bidding starts with the player to the left of the dealer and goes clockwise. Each player must make a bid, with a minimum bid of one trick. A bid consists of a number and a suit, indicating the number of tricks the player thinks they can win and the suit they wish to make the trump suit for that round.
  4. Playing the hand: Once the bidding is complete, the player who made the highest bid becomes the declarer and the player to their left becomes the dummy. The dummy's cards are placed face-up on the table, and the declarer uses both their own and the dummy's cards to try to win the number of tricks they bid.
  5. Scoring: After the hand is played, each trick won by the declarer counts towards their bid. If the declarer manages to win at least as many tricks as they bid, they score points based on the number of tricks won and the suit they chose as trump. If they fail to meet their bid, they lose points.
  6. Repeat: The game continues with players taking turns as the dealer and bidding on each hand until a predetermined number of hands have been played or a predetermined score has been reached.

Keeping Score

The scoring in Contract Bridge can be complicated, but there are several basic rules to follow. The declarer scores points based on the number of tricks they win and the suit they chose as trump. If the declarer made a bid of 3 and won 5 tricks, they would score points for those 5 tricks. However, if they only won 2 tricks, they would lose points.

The game also has bonus points, such as the "game bonus" for reaching a certain number of points and the "slam bonus" for winning all 13 tricks. These bonus points can add up quickly and make a big difference in the final score.

It's important to keep track of the score throughout the game to ensure accurate scoring. A score sheet can be used to keep track of points earned and lost.

Treasure Chest Icon

Related Games

If you enjoy Contract Bridge, there are many other card games you might also enjoy. Here are a few similar games to check out: