Playing Cards in the Game of Bridge

A deck, or pack, of playing cards contains 52 palm-sized pieces of plastic reinforced cardboard using for playing a vast array of games. Each pack contains four sets of 13 pieces, one of which is called an \’Ace\’. Depending on the game being played, the Ace has different values. In Blackjack, it can be worth either one point or eleven at the discretion of the player. In the game of Bridge, it is worth four points.

There are three \’face\’ cards in each set of 13 cards. These are the King, Queen and Jack. In Bridge, they are worth three, two and one point, respectively. The remaining nine pieces are numbered 2 through 10. There are four sets of 13 in a pack, called suits. These are, in decreasing order of seniority, Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. Spades and Clubs are colored black, Heart and Diamonds are red.

The game of Bridge is played with two teams of two players. The deck is shuffled and each player is dealt 13 pieces of reinforced cardboard. There are two phases to this game, an auction, or bidding phase, and the card play phase. The bidding is initiated by the dealer.

The aim of the bidding phase is to establish the contract in which the game will be played. The contract may be anything from one to seven of a specific suit, called trump, or it may be one to seven no-trump. In order to determine their first bid, the dealer evaluates the number of high card points (HCP) in their hand. There are several different bidding systems in Bridge. In the system called ACOL, Dealer must have at least 13 HCP in order to open the bidding.

During the auction, each partnership tries to establish, using a variety of bidding conventions, whether they have sufficient HCP between them to enter into a contract and, if so, in which suit, called trump, or a contract with no trump declared. A no-trump contract has a chance of winning if both partners between them have a good number of HCP distributed among the four suits.

A partnership will agree on a trump contract if their HCP between them are concentrated in one suit. If, between them, they establish that they have HCP coverage in all suits, they will play in a no trump contract. At the end of the auction when the contract has been agreed, play begins when the player to the left of declarer, the person who will play the contract, leads a card.

After the initial lead, declarer\’ partner lays his cards down on the table. He is the \’Dummy\’. Each player plays a card in turn, with the object being to take tricks. Players must follow suit where possible. The highest card in the trump suit wins the trick. If it is a no trump contract, then the highest card played wins the trick.

Play continues until all 52 of the playing cards have been played. Points are awarded for each trick. Major suits (spades and hearts) are worth 30 points, minor suits (clubs and diamonds), 20 points. The game is won when one partnership accrues 100 points.

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