Bridge Terms

When you first start learning to play bridge you need to learn the bridge terminology.  It can be confusing, but like all jargon with a little perseverence and practice you will soon be comfortable with all the terms.

This is not a definitive guide to all bridge terms.  It would be too long and too confusing.  It’s a guide to the bridge terminology you need to know when you start learning to play.

Auction.  Not a happy day out in search of a bargain buy.  It’s the bidding that takes place before the cards are played.

Opener.  When the bidding starts, the first person to make a bid (not pass) is called the opener.

Opening Bid.  The bid made by the opener!

Responder. The opener’s partner becomes the responder.

Dealer.  If you are playing at home the dealer will have dealt the cards and is the first person to speak in the opening round of bidding.  They may pass or open the bidding.  (Note, if you are playing duplicate bridge in a club, the hands will have been predealt and the “dealer” is a nominal position)

Declarer.  The first person to mention the suit (or No Trumps) that becomes the final contract.

Dummy.  Declarer’s partner becomes the dummy.  After the first card is played, the dummy places their hands on the table and takes no further part in the game.

Contract:  The last bid becomes the contract.  It can be a NT contract or a suit contract.

What does the contract mean?

A contract of 3 NT means that you believe you can make a minimum of 9 tricks and that no suit will be used as trumps.  (The first six tricks are not bid for, so a contract at the 3 level means you expect to make 9 tricks)

A contract of 4 Spades means you believe you can make a minimum of 10 tricks (6 + 4) and that spades will be the trump suit.  Each player has to follow the suit that is led in a round, but if they don’t have a card in that suit they can play a card in the trump suit if they have one.  A card from the trump suit will win the trick over cards from the suit played.

Major Suit.  Hearts and Spades are the major suits, so…………

Minor Suit.  Diamonds and clubs are the minor suits.

Game.  A contract that will make your partnership a score of 100 or more.  This is usually a minimum of 3NT, 4 of a major suit or 5 of a minor suit.

Now you know the basic jargon, you can head over to No Fear Bridge and sign up for your 2 week trial.  There you will find an excellent presentation for beginners on bidding, which explains the bridge terminology you need to know.

Bridge Terms