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Bridge is played by four persons, with a deck of fifty-two cards. The four players divide themselves into two parties, each player sitting opposite his partner.

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Bridge is played by four persons, with a deck of fifty-two cards, which rank as follows : Ace (highest), King, Queen, Jack, Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, the lowest. The four players divide themselves into two parties, each player sitting opposite his partner. The division is determined by cutting, the two highest and the two lowest being partners. (See Rules 16 to 19.)


The dealer delivers to each player in rotation, beginning with the player to his left, one card at a time until the whole deck is dealt out, thus giving each player thirteen cards. The last card (the trump card) is turned face upwards on the table, where it remains until it is the turn of dealer to play to the first trick; the dealer should then (before playing) take the trump card into his hand.

Playing The Hand.

When the deal has been completed, and the players have arranged their cards, the eldest hand leads any card he pleases, each player plays a card to the lead, and the highest card of the suit led wins the trick. Trumps win all other suits. Each player must follow suit if he can, but if not able to follow suit, he may play any card he chooses. The winner of the trick leads to the next, and so on, until the thirteen tricks are played. A second deal then occurs, the player to the left of the previous dealer having the deal, and so the game proceeds.

The laws which we herewith give are from the English Club code, and are in accordance with the usages of Short Bridge.

The Rubber.

1. The rubber is the best of three games. If the first two games be won by the same players, the third game is not played.


2. A game consists of five points. Each trick, above six, counts one point.

[NOTE.--Short Bridge is not played much in the United States. Seven-point Bridge is the more popular game here, that is, seven points up without scoring honors.]

3. Honors, i.e.. Ace, King, Queen, and Jack of trumps, are thus reckoned:

If a player and his partner, either separately or conjointly, hold--

I. The four honors, they score four points. II. Any three honors, they score two points. III. Only two honors, they do not score.

4. Those players who, at the commencement of a deal, are at the score of four, cannot score honors.

5. The penalty for a revoke (see Law 72) takes precedence of all other scores. Tricks score next. Honors last.

6. Honors, unless claimed before the trump card of the following deal is turned up, cannot be scored.

7. To score honors is not sufficient; they must be called at the end of the hand; if so called, they may be scored at any time during the game.

8. The winners gain^-

I. A treble, or game of three points, when their adversaries have not scored.

II. A double, or game of two points, when their adversaries have scored less than three.

III. A single, or game of one point, when their adversaries have scored three or four.

9. The winners of the rubber gain two points (commonly called the rubber points), in addition to the value of their games.

10. Should the rubber have consisted of three games, the value of the losers' game is deducted from the gross number of points gained by their opponents.

11. If an erroneous score be proved, such mistake can be corrected prior to the conclusion of the game in which it occurred, and such game is not concluded until the trump card of the following deal has been turned up.

12. If an erroneous score, affecting the amount of the rubber, be proved, such mistake can be rectified at any time during the rubber.


13. The Ace is the lowest card.

14. In all cases, every one must cut from the same deck.

15. Should a player expose more than one card, he must cut again.

Formation Of Table.

16. If there are more than four candidates, the players are selected by cutting; those first in the room having the preference. The four who cut the lowest cards play first, and again cut to decide on partners ; the two lowest play against the two highest; the lowest is the dealer, who has choice of cards and seats, and, having once made his selection, must abide by it.

17. When there are more than six candidates, those who cut the two next lowest cards belong to the table, which is complete with six players; on the retirement of one of those six players, the candidate who cut the next lowest card has a prior right to any after- comer to enter the table.

Cutting Cards Of Equal Value.

18. Two players cutting cards of equal value, unless such cards are the two highest, cut again ; should they be the two lowest, a fresh cnt is necessary to decide which of those two deals.

19. Three players cutting cards of equal value cut again; should the fourth (or remaining) card be the highest, the two lowest of the new cut are partners, the lower of those two the dealer; should the fourth card be the lowest, the two highest are partners, the original lowest the dealer.

Cutting Out.

20. At the end of a rubber, should admission be claimed by any one or by two candidates, he who has, or they who have, played a greater number of consecutive rubbers than the others is, or are, out; but when all have played the same number, they must cut to decide upon the outgoers ; the highest are out.

Entry And Re-entry.

21. A candidate wishing to enter a table must declare such intention prior to any of the players having cut a :ard, either for the purpose of commencing a fresh rubber or of cutting out.

22. In the formation of fresh tables, those candidates who have neither belonged to nor played at any other table have the prior right of entry; the others decide their right of admission by cutting.

23. Any one quitting a table prior to the conclusion of a rubber may, with consent of the other three players, appoint a substitute in his absence during that rubber.

24. A player cutting into one table, whilst belonging to another, loses his right of re-entry into the latter, and takes his chance of cutting in, as if he were a fresh candidate.

25. If any one break up a table, the remaining players have the

prior right to him of entry into any other, and should there not be sufficient vacancies at such other table to admit all those candidates, they settle their precedence by cutting.


26. The deck must neither be shuffled below the table nor so that the face of any card be seen.

27. The deck must not be shuffled during the play of the hand.

28. A deck, having been played with, must neither be shuffled by dealing it into decks, nor across the table.

29. Each player has a right to shuffle, once only, except as provided by Rule 32, prior to a deal, after a false cut (see Law 34), or when a new deal (see Law 37) has occurred.

30. The dealer's partner must collect the cards for the ensuing deal, and has the first right to shuffle that deck.

31. Each player after shuffling must place the cards, properly collected and face downwards, to the left of the player about to deal.

32. The dealer has always the right to shuffle last; but should a card or cards be seen during his shuffling or whilst giving the deck to be cut, he may be compelled to re-shuffle.

The Deal.

33. Each player deals in his turn; the right of dealing goes to the left.

34. The player on the dealer's right cuts the deck, and in dividing it must not leave fewer than four cards in either deck; if in cutting, or in replacing one of the two decks on the other, a card be exposed,* or if there be any confusion of the cards, or a doubt as to the exact place in which the deck was divided, there must be a fresh cut.

35- When a player whose duty it is to cut has once separated the deck, he cannot alter his intention; he can neither re-shuffle nor re-cut the cards.

36. When the deck is cut, should the dealer shuffle the cards he loses his deal.

A New Deal.

37. There must be a new deal t--

I. If during a deal, or during the play of a hand, the deck be proved incorrect or imperfect.

* After the two decks have been reunited, Law 38 comes into operation, t�'. e. The same dealer must deal again. (See also Laws 47 and 50.)

II. If any card, excepting the last, be faced in the deck.

38. If, whilst dealing, a card be exposed by the dealer or his part ner, should neither of the adversaries have touched the cards, th< latter can claim a new deal; a card exposed by either adversary giv that claim to the dealer, provided that his partner has not touch<

a card; if a new deal does not take place, the exposed card cannot be called.

39. If, during dealing, a player touch any of his cards, the adversaries may do the same, without losing their privilege of claiming a new deal, should chance give them such option.

40. If, in dealing, one of the last cards be exposed, and the dealer turn up the trump before there is reasonable time for his adversaries to decide as to a fresh deal, they do not thereby lose their privilege.

41. If a player, whilst dealing, look at the trump card, his adversaries have a right to see it, and may exact a new deal.

42. If a player take into the hand dealt to him a card belonging to the other deck, the adversaries, on discovery of the error, may decide whether they will have a fresh deal or not.

A Misdeal.

43. A misdeal loses the deal.

44. It is a misdeal--

I. Unless the cards are dealt into four decks, one at a time in regular rotation, beginning with the player to the dealer's left.

II. Should the dealer place the last (i. e., the trump) card, face downwards, on his own or any other deck.

III. Should the trump card not come in its regular order to the dealer; but he does not lose his deal if the deck be proved imperfect.

IV. Should a player have fourteen cards, and either of the other three less than thirteen.

V. Should the dealer, under an impression that he has made a mistake, either count the cards on the table or the remainder of the deck.

VI. Should the dealer deal two cards at once, or two cards to the same hand, and then deal a third; but if, prior to dealing that third card, the dealer can, by altering the position of one card only, rectify such error, he may do so, except as provided by the second paragraph of this Law.

VII. Should the dealer omit to have the deck cut to him, and the adversaries discover the error, prior to the trump card being turned up, and before looking at their cards, but not after having done so.

4$. A misdeal does not lose the deal if, during the dealing, either of the adversaries touches the cards prior to the dealer's partner having done so; but should the latter have first interfered with the cards, notwithstanding either or both of the adversaries have subsequentlj done the same, the deal is lost.

46. Should three players have their right number of cards--th< fourth have less than thirteen, and not discover such deficiency until he has played any of his cards, the deal stands good; should he have played, he is as answerable for any revoke he may have made as if the missing card, or cards, had been in his hand; he may search the other deck for it, or them.

47. If a deck, during or after a rubber, be proved incorrect or imperfect, such proof does not alter any past score, game, or rubber: that hand in which the imperfection was detected is null and void; the dealer deals again.

48. Any one dealing out of turn, or with the adversary's cards, may be stopped before the trump card is turned up, after which the game must proceed as if no mistake had been made.

49. A player can neither shuffle, cut, nor deal for his partner, without the permission of his opponents.

50. If the adversaries interrupt a dealer whilst dealing, either by questioning the score or asserting that it is not his deal, and fail to establish such claim, should a misdeal occur, he may deal again.

51. Should a player take his partner's deal and misdeal, the latter is liable to the usual penalty, and the adversary next in rotation to the player who ought to have dealt then deals.

The Trump Card.

52. The dealer, when it is his turn to play to the first trick, should take the trump card into his hand; if left on the table after the first trick be turned and quitted, it is liable to be called; his partner may at any time remind him of the liability.

53. After the dealer has taken the trump card into his hand, it cannot be asked for ;* a player naming it at any time during the play of that hand is liable to have his highest or lowest trump called.!

54. If the dealer take the trump card into his hand before it is his turn to play, he may be desired to lay it on the table; should he show a wrong card, this card may be called, as also a second, a third, etc., until the trump card be produced.

* Any one may inquire what the trump suit is, at any time. t In the manner described in Law 55,

55. If the dealer declare himself unable to recollect the trump card, his highest or lowest trump may be called at any time during that hand, and unless it cause him to revoke, must be played; the call may be repeated, but not changed, i. e., from highest to lowest, or vice versa, until such card is played.

Cards Liable To Be Called.

56. All exposed cards are liable to be called, and must be left * on the table; but a card is not an exposed card when dropped on the floor, or elsewhere below the table. The following are exposed t cards:

I. Two or more cards played at once.f

II. Any card dropped with its face upwards, or in any way exposed on or above the table, even though snatched up so quickly that no one can name it.

57. If any one play to an imperfect trick the best card on the table, � or lead one which is a winning card as against his adversaries, and then lead again, || or play several such winning cards, one after the other, without waiting for his partner to play, the latter may be called on to win, if he can, the first or any other of those tricks, and the other cards thus improperly played are exposed cards.

58. If a player, or players, under the impression that the game is lost or won, or for other reasons, throw his or their cards on the table face upwards, such cards are exposed, and liable to be called, each player's by the adversary; but should one player alone retain his hand, he cannot be forced to abandon it.

59. If all four players throw their cards on the table face upwards, the hands are abandoned; and no one can again take up his cards. Should this general exhibition show that the game might have been saved or won, neither claim can be entertained, unless a revoke be established. The revoking players are then liable to the following penalties : They cannot under any circumstances win the game by the result of that hand, and the adversaries may add three to their score, or deduct three from that of the revoking players.

* Face upwards.

t Detached cards (i. e. .cards taken out of the hand, but not dropped) are not liable to be called unless named (see Law 60). It is important to distinguish between exposed and detached cards.

t If two or more cards are played at once, the adversaries have a right to call which they please to the trick in course of play, and afterwards to call the others.

� And then lead without waiting for his partner to play.

|] Without waiting for his partner to play.

60. A card detached from the rest of the hand so as to be named is liable to be called; but should the adversary name a wrong card, he is liable to have a suit called when he or his partner have the lead.*

61. If a player who has rendered himself liable to have the highest or lowest of a suit called, fail to play as desired, or if when called on to lead one suit, lead another, having in his hand one or more cards of that suit demanded, he incurs the penalty of a revoke.

62. If any player lead out of turn, his adversaries may either call the card erroneously led, or may call a suit from him or his partner when it is next the turn of either of them t to lead.

63. If any player lead out of turn, and the other three have followed him, the trick is complete, and the error cannot be rectified; but if only the second, or the second and third have played to the false lead, their cards, on discovery of the mistake, are taken back; there is no penalty against any one, excepting the original offender, whose card may be called--or he, or his partner, when either of them t has next the lead, maybe compelled to play any suit demanded by the adversaries.

64. In no case can a player be compelled to play a card which would oblige him to revoke.

&5- The call of a card may be repeated <� until such card has been played.

66. If a player called on to lead a suit have none of it, the penalty is paid.

Cards Played In Error, Or Not Played To A Trick.

67. If the third hand play before the second, the fourth hand may play before his partner.

68. Should the third hand not have played, and the fourth play before his partner, the latter may be called on to win or not to win the trick.

69. If any one omit playing to a former trick, and such error be not discovered until he has played to the next, the adversaries may claim a new deal; should they decide that the deal stand good, the

* i. e. The first time that side obtains the lead.

t i. e. The penalty of calling a suit must be exacted from whichever of them next first obtains the lead. It follows that if the player who leads out of turn is the partner of the person who ought to have led, and a suit is called, it must be called at once from the right leader. If he is allowed to play as he pleases, the only penalty that remains is to call the card erroneously led.

I i. e. Whichever of them next first has the lead.

� At every trick.

surplus card at the end of the hand is considered to have been played to the imperfect trick, but does not constitute a revoke therein.

70. If any one play two cards to the same trick, or mix his trump, or other card, with a trick to which it does not properly belong, and the mistake be not discovered until the hand is played out, he is answerable for all consequent revokes he may have made. (See also Law 46.) If, during the play of the hand, the error be detected, the tricks may be counted face downwards, in order to ascertain whether there be among them a card too many; should this be the case, they may be searched, and the card restored; the player is, however, liable for all revokes which he may have meanwhile made.

The Revoke.

71. Is when a player, holding one or more cards of the suit led, plays a card of a different suit. (See also Law 61.)

72. The penalty for a revoke--

I. Is at the option of the adversaries, who at the end of the hand may either take three tricks from the revoking player,* or deduct three points from his score, or add three to their own score.

II. Can be claimed for as many revokes as occur during the hand.

III. Is applicable only to the score of the game in which it occurs.

IV. Cannot be divided, ;'. e., a player cannot add one or two to his own score and deduct one or two from the revoking player.

V. Takes precedence of every other score--e.g., the claimants two, their opponents nothing; the former add three to their score, and thereby win a treble game, even should the latter have made thirteen tricks and held four honors.

73. A revoke is established, if the trick in which it occur be turned and quitted,--i. e., the hand removed from that trick after it has been turned face downwards on the table--or if either the revoking player, or his partner, whether in his right turn or otherwise, lead or play to the following trick.

74. A player may ask his partner whether he has not a card of the suit which he has renounced; should the question be asked before the trick is turned and quitted, subsequent turning and quitting does not establish the revoke, and the error may be corrected, unless the question be answered in the negative, or unless the revoking player or his partner have led or played to the following trick.

75. At the end of the hand, the claimants of a revoke may search all the tricks. (See Law 77.)

* And add them to their own.

76. If a player discover his mistake in time to save a revoke, the adversaries, whenever they think fit, may call the card thus played in error, or may require him to play his highest or lowest card to tha* trick, in which he has renounced; any player or players who have played after him may withdraw their cards and substitute

thers; the cards withdrawn are not liable to be called.

77. If a revoke be claimed, and the accused player or his partner mix the cards before they have been sufficiently examined by the adversaries, the revoke is established. The mixing of the cards only renders the proof of a revoke difficult; but does not prevent the claim, and possible establishment, of the penalty.

78. A revoke cannot be claimed after the cards have been cut for the following deal.

79. The revoking player and his partner may, under all circumstances, require the hand in which the revoke has been detected to be played out.

80. If a revoke occur, be claimed and proved, bets on the odd trick, or on amount of score, must be decided by the actual state of the latter after the penalty is paid.

81. Should the players on both sides subject themselves to the penalty of one or more revokes, neither can win the game; each is punished at the discretion of his adversary.*

82. In whatever way the penalty be enforced, under no circumstances can a player win the game by the result of the hand during which he has revoked; he cannot score more than four. (See Law 6,.)

Calling For New Cards.

83. Any player (on paying for them) before, but not after, the deck be cut for the deal, may call for fresh cards. He must call for two new decks, of which the dealer takes his choice.

General Rules.

84. Where a player and his partner have an option of exacting from their adversaries one of two penalties, they should agree who is to make the election, but must not consult with one another which of the two penalties it is advisable to exact; if they do so consult, they lose their right; t and if either of them, with or without consent of his partner, demand a penalty to which he is entitled, such decision is final.

* In the manner prescribed in Law 72. t To demand any penalty.

[NOTE.--This rule does not apply in exacting the penalties for a revoke ; partners have then a right to consult.]

85. Any one during the play of a trick, or after the four cards are played, and before but not after they are touched for the purpose of gathering them together, may demand that the cards be placed before their respective players.

86. If any one, prior to his partner playing, should call attention to the trick--either by saying that it is his, or by naming his card,

or, without being required so to do, by drawing it towards him the

adversaries may require that opponent's partner to play the highest or lowest of the suit then led, or to win or lose * the trick.

87. In all cases where a penalty has been incurred, the offender is bound to give reasonable time for the decision of his adversaries.

88. If a bystander make any remark which calls the attention of a player or players to an oversight affecting the score, he is liable to be called on, by the players only, to pay the stakes and all bets on that game or rubber.

89. A bystander, by agreement among the players, may decide any question.

90. A card or cards torn or marked must be either replaced by agreement, or new cards called at the expense of the table.

91. Any player may demand to see the last trick turned, and no more. Under no circumstances can more than eight cards be seen during the play of the hand, namely : the four cards on the table which have not been turned and quitted, and the last trick turned.


The following rules belong to the established Etiquette of Bridge. They are not called laws, as it is difficult, in some cases impossible, to apply any penalty to their infraction, and the only remedy is to cease to play with players who habitually disregard them:

Two decks of cards are invariably used at Clubs ; if possible, this should be adhered to.

Any one, having the lead and several winning cards to play, should not draw a second card out of his hand until his partner has played to the first trick, such act being a distinct intimation that the former has played a winning card.

No intimation whatever, by word or gesture, should be given l>y a player as to the state of his hand, or of the game.t

* l. f. Refrain from winning.

t The question, "Who dealt? " is irregular, and if asked should not be answered.

A player who desires the cards to be placed, or who demands to see the last trick,* should do it for his own information only, and not in order to invite the attention of his partner.

No player should object to refer to a bystander who professes himself uninterested in the game, and able to decide any disputed question of facts; as to who played any particular card--whether honors were claimed though not scored, or vice versa, etc., etc.

It is unfair to revoke purposely; having made a revoke, a player is not justified in making a second in order to conceal the first.

Until the players have made such bets as they wish, bets should not be made with bystanders.

Bystanders should make no remark, neither should they by word or gesture give any intimation of the state of the game until concluded and scored, nor should they walk round the table to look at the different hands.

No one should look over the hand of a player against whom he is betting.


Ante-penultimate Card.--The lowest card but two of a suit. Asking For Trumps.--(See Signal for Trumps.) Command.--You are said to have the command of a suit when you hold the best cards in it. If you have sufficient of them to be able to draw all those in the other hands (as would probably be the case if yon had Ace, King, Queen, and two others), the command is complete; if not, it may be only partial or temporary.

Commanding cards are the cards which give you the command. Discard.--The card you throw away when you have none of the suit led, and do not trump it. In the modern game, your first discard should be from a short or weak suit.

Doubtful Card.--A card of a suit of which your partner may have the best.

Establish.--A suit is said to be established when you hold the complete command of it. This may sometimes happen to be the case originally, but it is more common to obtain it in the course of the play by " clearing " away the cards that obstructed you, so as to remain with the best in your hand. It is highly desirable to establish your long suit as soon as yon can, for which purpose not only your adversaries' hands, but also your partner's, must be cleared from the obstructing cards.

* Or who asks what the trump suit is.

False CARD is a card played contrary to the-established rules or conventions of the game, and which therefore is calculated to deceive your partner as to the state of your hand; as, for example, following suit with the highest or middle card of a sequence, or throwing away other than your lowest card.

Finessing is an attempt by the third player to make a lower card answer the purpose of a higher (which it is usually his duty to play) under the hope that an intermediate card may not lie to his left hand. Thus, having Ace and Queen of your partner's lead you finesse the Queen, hoping the fourth player may not hold the King. Or, if your partner leads a Jack, and you hold the King, you may finesse or pass the Jack, i. e., play a small card to it, under the hope that it may force the Ace.

Forced Lead.--Leading from a weak suit, having no strong one to lead from.

Forcing means obliging your partner or your adversary to trump a trick, by leading a suit of which they have none.

Holding Up is refusing to play the winning card in the first and second rounds of a suit.

Indifferent Cards.--The reverse of commanding cards.

Leading Through or Up To.--If you play first you are said to lead through your left-hand adversary, and up to your right-hand adversary.

Long Cards are cards remaining in one hand when all the rest of that suit have been played.

LONG Suit.--One of which you hold more than three cards. (See Strong Suit.)

Loose Card means a card in hand of no value, and consequently the fittest to throw away.

Love.--No points to score. Nothing.

Master Card or Best Card.--This means the highest card of the suit in at the time. Thus, if the Ace and King were out, the master card would be the Queen.

Penultimate Card.--Lowest but one of a suit, the next before the lowest. (See Ante-Penultimate.)

Re-entry.--A card of re-entry is one that will, by winning a trick, bring you the lead at an advanced period of the hand.

Renounce.--When a player has none of the suit led, he is said to renounce that suit.

Revoke.--If he fails to follow suit when he has any of the suit, he revokes and incurs a serious penalty.

Seesaw (or Saw) is when each of two partners ruffs a different suit, so that they may lead alternately into each other's hands.

Sequence.--Any number of cards in consecutive order, as King, Queen, and Jack. The Ace, Queen, and Ten would form a sequence if the King and Jack were out.

A tierce is a sequence of three cards ; a quart, of four; and a quint, of five.

A head sequence is one standing at the head of the suit in your hand, even though it may not contain the best card. A subordinate sequence is one standing lower down. An intermediate sequence is when you hold cards both higher and lower.

Signal For Trumps.--Throwing away, unnecessarily and contrary

to ordinary play, a high card before a low one, is called the signal for

trumps, or asking for trumps ; being a command to your partner to

lead trumps the first opportunity--a command which, in the modern

scientific game, he is bound to obey, whatever his own hand may be.

Singleton.--Having one card only in a suit.

Strengthening Play.--This is getting rid of high cards in any

suit, the effect of which is to give an improved value to the lower

cards of that suit still remaining in, and so to strengthen the hand

that holds them. Strengthening play is best for the hand that is

longest in the suit.

Strong Suit.--"Cavendish" says: "A suit may be strong in two distinct ways: 1. It may contain more than its proportion of high cards. For example, it may contain two or more honors, one honor in each suit being the average for each hand. 2. It may consist of more than the average number of cards, in which case it is numerically strong. Thus a suit of four cards has numerical strength; a suit of five cards great numerical strength. On the other hand, a suit of three cards is numerically weak. "

Tenace.--The best and third best card left in any suit, as Ace and Queen, which is the major tenace. If both these cards have already been played, the King and Jack then become the tenace in the suit, and so on.

UNDERPLAY is keeping up the winning card, generally in the second lead of a suit, by leading a low card through the best. (See Holding Up.)

(Additional Playing information to be added)