Valuing Your Hand
At the start of each game of bridge, each players counts up the points in their hand before the bidding begins.
There are two types of points that you will count. High Card Points (HCPs) and Long/Short Suit Points.
HIGH CARD POINTS (HCP)
To work out the number of HCPs in your hand you counts 4 points for each Ace, 3 for each King, 2 for each Queen and 1 for each Jack.
There are two types of distribution points that you can count in addition to your HCPs.
Long Suit Points
Count LSPs if your hand has any suit with more than 4 cards. You count 1 LSP for each extra card.
Your hand contains 5 spades, 2 hearts, 2 diamonds and 5 clubs. You count 1 LSP for the extra spade and 1 LSP for the extra club. A total of 2 LSPs
Your hand contains 4 spades, 3 hearts, 5 diamonds and 1 club. You count 1 LSP for the extra diamond.
You DO count LSPs if you are opening the bidding or if you are making a responding bid that involves a change of suit.
You DON’T count LSPs if you are opening the bidding or responding with a balanced hand and making a NT bid.
Short Suit Points (Also Called Dummy Points)
Only count SSPs if you have established that you and your partner have an 8 card fit or better.
If you have 4 card or better support then count SSPs as follows:
5 points for a void (no cards in a suit), 3 points for a singleton and 1 point for a doubleton.
If you have just 3 card support, count SSPs as follows:
3 points for a void, 2 points for a singleton and 1 point for a doubleton
NOTE: Count EITHER Long Suit Points OR Short Suit Points. Don’t count both.
The term Total Points refers to your High Card Points plus your Long Suit Points, or your High Card Points plus your Short Suit Points.