When you play bridge, you will often hear of the “suits.” These suits simply refer to the symbols of the cards, for example spades are the highest ranked suit, closely followed by hearts, diamonds and then the lowest ranked suit which is clubs. Within the suits, the individual cards are also ranked. Ace is the highest card, followed by the face cards of king, queen, and jack, and then going through the number cards, ten through and including the two.
The goal of any bridge game is to score points for your team. To do so, you will need to win what is called a “trick.” This trick simply refers to four cards, which is essentially one card per player. If you kept track so far, and remember that there are 13 cards dealt at the beginning of the game, you know that you can play 13 tricks. The initial card played at the beginning of each trick can also be referred to as the lead card because the other players are supposed to follow the lead and play the same suit. For example, if the lead card is a club, then you should also try to play a club card. If you do not have a club, then you may play any other card.
After four cards are played, you and your fellow players will determine who wins the trick. Thus, if the lead card was a five of clubs, and the subsequent cards were a two of hearts, a king of clubs, and a five of diamonds, then the person who played the king of clubs will win the trick. As you play bridge, this will become second nature quickly. A variation to this play – bridge has a number of variants – involves the calling of a trump suit. If a suit is trump, then any card played with the trump suit will take the trick, no matter what the lead card is.
At this point it looks like to play bridge, all you need to do is count, right? Well, it is not quite all that easy. At this point, you will need to become familiar with the idea of “declaring.” You know that there is bidding involved, which means that one person gets to be the person declaring, while also one suit will be chosen to be trumps. At the same time, you will also decide how many tricks a declarer must win in order to be considered victorious. For example, if you are chosen to be the declarer, then the person to your left will make the first lead. Your partner’s hand, in the meantime, will be put on the table face up. Your partner will not participate in this round. You, the declarer, will play your own hand as well as the hand of your partner, each in turn, of course.
At first it might be a good idea to simply watch some veteran players and get a feel for the game. It is one thing to know the rules, but quite a different kettle of fish to actually participate in it. Nonetheless, you should be ready to join in very shortly and pretty soon you, too, will be playing like a pro.