As far as card games go, most people have heard of poker, blackjack and UNO. These are fun and competitive games, some played in casinos for money, even though all of them can be played for entertainment purposes. Card games are plentiful, but one of them stands above them all, and that is bridge.
Bridge might not be for all people, but it is a fun and tactical card game that will test you and your partner’s strengths as players. Bridge is a game of ethics, even though it is a card game.
Here is everything that you should know about bridge, a somewhat mysterious game to the uninitiated.
A Brief History of Bridge
Like most card games, it is hard to pinpoint when bridge was created, but we know that it is a derivative of the game of whist, which was played in 18th and 19th century England. The first rulebook for bridge was written in 1886 by John Collinson. The book was named Biritch, or Russian Whist. Collinson was a financier who worked in Istanbul. The name of the game is said to come from the Russian word for a diplomatic clerk.
Another story says that British soldiers fighting in the Crimean war named the game after the Galata Bridge in Istanbul.
Earlier mentions of similar games date back to easily 16th century France and Italy, with Rabelais and his game La Triomphe and Francesco Berni and his game Triomfi. Both were trick-taking games.
What is Bridge, Exactly? How do You Play it?
Bridge is played through partnerships. Typically, four players play, with a standard 52 deck, the order of cards being from ace, king, to number 2, from highest to lowest ranking. Partnerships are selected through drawing cards, the two partners being the first ones to draw the highest cards.
The game is dealt to the left of the dealer, each player getting a card until everyone has 13 cards. Typically, two decks are used, one shuffled one while the other is dealt. A trick when all players play a card. A leader can play any card, while the following players must match it if they are able to.
To begin a hand, players can pass, bid, double or redouble. If a play is a bid, double or redouble, and three consecutive plays are a pass, then the game is put into a contract and the state can be trump or no trump. At the end of a game, or rather, contract, the side which makes the contract wins points.
Is Bridge Played at Tournaments?
Bridge can be played at tournaments but typically isn’t, at least not for money. Bridge follows very clear ethical rules, where you should play the game according to the rules and those people who do not, are often considered unwelcome. It is a game that practices decent behavior and transparentness, meaning that it is a lot different to games like poker. Lying about your hand is very bad in bridge.
Tournaments are played for pleasure and skill expression, even though some may be played for money. When they are, the players are mostly ethical ones, with cheaters here and there, every once in a while.
Bridge is a rather complicated game that takes a bit of time to learn. It takes even longer to master, but it is a game worth your attention if you want to strategize and express your skill in a game of cards.