~Bidding and Play

There are 13 rounds of play to each hand–due to the number of players and cards: 4 suits, 4 players, 52 cards. Thus the highest number of tricks that can be captured or taken per hand is 13. A trick consists of the play of one card from each hand.

Bridge starts with a base of six tricks called a book. Bidding consists of an auction where each bidder obligates that team to takes book (six tricks) plus the number of the bid. For example, if a player bids 2 spades, he/she has named a prospective trump suit and obligated the team to take eight tricks. There are penalties for taking less tricks than bid and bonuses for taking extra tricks.

When a suit is designated as the trump suit or trumps, that suit captures all other suits. However, there is a rule that a player MUST follow suit if able to do so. Failure to do so results in a penalty if the failure is inadvertent and could result in exclusion from the match, from an entire tournament, or even result in removal from sanctioned bridge matches if the failure is determined to be deliberate.

However, when a lead is made in a suit in which a player is void, any trump, regardless of its size, may be played and will capture that trick. Wise use of trumps is often the key to success in the play of a bridge hand.

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