This is a teach-yourself Bridge book.  It is intended for those with little or no experience of Bridge and aims to take them to a reasonable level of competence in 10 easy-to-understand   chapters.  The book teaches the most commonly used system, Standard  American, with 5-card majors and better minor. 

Each lesson is followed by a bidding quiz with answers provided.  There are 50 example hands specifically designed to teach the most common techniques of declarer play and defence. 

The book teaches principles and ‘ways of thinking’ rather than encouraging rote learning and aims to give the reader a solid understanding of the basic principles of bidding and card play. 

There is a strong emphasis on the importance of planning as declarer before playing to the first trick.  Readers are taught how to plan and how to count winners in no-trump contracts and count losers in suit contracts.   

Methods of developing extra winners and the elimination of  avoidable losers forms an integral part of the 50 example hands.

In Store Price: $26.00 
Online Price:   $25.00

ISBN:1 921118 93 8.
Format: B5 Paperback
Number of pages: 186
Genre: Non Fiction


Author: Tim Orr
Imprint: Poseidon
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published:  2006
Language: English


About the Author  

Tim Orr spent his early years at the prestigious Dollar Academy in his native Scotland . He went on to Sandhurst Military Academy and saw active service as an officer in the British Army. He resigned from the army to take up a civilian career, specialising in human resource management. Later he was brought to Melbourne as an industrial relations specialist and enjoyed a long and successful career in this field.  

Despite turning up to his first duplicate bridge session not having had a single game or lesson, Tim soon became a skilled player. He was fascinated by bridge and began giving lessons at a bridge club he instigated at work. The lessons were very successful, demonstrating Tim’s special aptitude for teaching the game to others, a skill he attributes to his teaching experience both in the army and in the world of industry and commerce.  

Three years ago, Tim started the fast-growing Williamstown Bridge Club where he has been teaching many others to play this challenging game, with his pupils achieving excellent results.


This book aims to lead you from absolute beginner status to competent (but not expert) status within six months.  

As with anything worthwhile, success will not come without some hard work. Following each lesson, it is strongly recommended that you spend one or two hours each week revising what has been taught. In particular, use the quiz at the end of each lesson to check your progress. If you can answer 90% of questions correctly you will know you are progressing well. If you score less than this you will benefit from further revision of the notes. It obviously pays to feel confident about your knowledge of the previous lesson before progressing to the next. Otherwise, it is easy to become confused.  

The main aim is for you to enjoy this fascinating game whether it be in a purely social environment with friends at home or playing duplicate in a club environment. As with tennis or golf, enjoyment increases with greater competence.

Lesson 1:
Introduction To Bridge




What is a “trick”?


The Lead


Trumps & Notrumps






Declarer & Dummy


How Good Is My Hand


Ranking of Suits


Card Play Through Example


Displaying hands & general protocol


Quiz Lesson 1


Answers to Quiz Lesson 1


Note: Throughout the text that follows, rather than using “he or she” when such a pronoun is required, I have adopted “she”. This makes reading easier and less cumbersome.

My observations tell me that there may be more women playing bridge than men but I do not have statistics to back this up. I hope the use of “she” is politically acceptable to all and is not seen as sexist!  


Many card games involve the taking of tricks. BRIDGE is probably the most popular of these and is played by millions of people around the world. This is because bridge is an exciting and challenging game involving more skill than luck, although luck can play a small part.


In bridge, the full pack of 52 cards is used. The Jokers are removed. One person is nominated as DEALER. The dealer deals one card at a time clockwise around the table starting with the player on the dealer’s immediate left. When the deal is complete, each player will have thirteen cards. It is good practice for each player to count her cards to ensure there has not been a misdeal.


What is a trick?


A trick is “a card played by each player in turn clockwise around the table with the person playing the highest card being the winner of the trick.”


Cards rank from the ACE (highest) to the KING, QUEEN, JACK, TEN, NINE, down to the 2 (lowest).


When playing to a trick, players must FOLLOW SUIT. That is, they must play a card of the same suit as the one led if they still have one in their hand. Not to do so is called a revoke and penalties apply if a player REVOKES. When a player is UNABLE TO FOLLOW SUIT BECAUSE THE HAND HAS NO MORE CARDS IN THE SUIT BEING LED, that player has to play a card from another suit (usually a small one). This is called DISCARDING.


The Lead


The leader to the first trick is determined by the AUCTION which will be covered in depth in later lessons. In the meantime, the instructor will determine who is to lead to the first trick. Following the initial lead, the person winning the trick leads to the next trick and so on through the game.


Trumps & Notrumps


In Bridge, each hand is played either with a TRUMP SUIT or in NOTRUMPS. Which of these is again determined by the AUCTION. In the meantime, the instructor will determine which it is to be. When playing with a TRUMP SUIT, the meagre 2 of trumps beats any card other than a higher trump. Players still have to follow suit and a trump cannot be used to take a trick when a non-trump suit is being led if the player still has a card or cards in the suit being led.


If a player is dealt all 13 cards in a suit (say, Clubs), and that suit is trumps, then that player would take all 13 tricks. The odds against this happening run into several billions.

However, the hand would be worthless with any other suit as trumps.


When a hand is played in No-Trumps, a player unable to follow suit cannot win the trick.




Bridge is a partnership game. Players facing each other across the table form a partnership. These partnerships are referred to as North/South and East/West.




The general objective in bridge is to take as many tricks as possible as a partnership. Partners combine to optimise their side’s trick taking potential. Perhaps obviously, there is seldom any point in playing a higher card than partner if partner is already winning the trick (there are exceptions to this which will be discussed later when examining card play technique).


Declarer & Dummy


Unlike other trick taking card games, bridge has one hand exposed on the table following the lead to the first trick. The exposed hand is called DUMMY. The owner of dummy makes no decisions in the play of that hand. Dummy’s partner is called DECLARER and declarer plays both hands. Once again, the process of deciding who is to be declarer is determined by the auction. This will be covered in lesson two. For the hands played in this lesson, the instructor will designate who is to become declarer.


How Good Is My Hand?


Following the deal and the sorting of cards into suits, your first step is to evaluate your hand. How many high cards (A,K,Q,J) does it contain? What other features does the hand contain? (long suits and shortages). Importantly, how well does my hand fit with partner’s hand? What are our combined strengths?


A method has been devised for assessing the value of your hand through a system of allocating HIGH CARD POINTS (HCPs). The scale is:


Ace  =   4         King    =        Queen  =   2   Jack  =   1


The HCP’s are considered along with the other features mentioned above. These other features will also be covered in later lessons.


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