Since I promised that you will learn through this blog, here are some tips for bridge players that will help you improve your game. This is not like the other card games that you know. You need to be mentally sharp to be able to win against your opponents.
Tips while bidding
When playing bridge, the initial challenge is in the bidding. If you can do this well, it gives you an upper hand for the rest of the game. So what tips can you use to be good at bidding?
- Keep your bids simple. If you have a fit for whatever major your partner declares, raise.
- Always start by assuming that your partner has a minimum range of 13-15 points (if they started the bidding) or 6-9 points (if you started the bidding).
- Be on the look-out for a major suit. Having a 4-card major is a good sign.
- If you only have a minor suit fit and you feel brave for the game, you should consider playing a 3NT and not a 5C of 5D.
- When in doubt because you have length in the suit of the opponent, just pass.
Once the bidding is done, you will know if you are the declarer or the defender. Let me give you separate tips for bridge players depending on what role you play in the game.
Tips when you are the declarer
When you are the declarer, that means you won the contract. It is up to you to make sure that you and your partner can meet that contract. Otherwise, you lose this hand and the points go to your opponents.
So how can you make sure that you win? Here are some tips that you should follow.
- Focus on the opening lead. This will give you an idea about a player’s strength in a particular suit.
- Take it slow with the first trick. Think first and observe.
- Keep the bidding in mind. As you were bidding, you should have a good idea about the general point-count or length in the suit that the other players bid on.
- Do not be too quick to dispose of your losing cards in a trump contract. These can still turn out as winners by trumping or discarding them as part of a side suit.
- If you have a notrump contract, you want to concentrate on your winners.
Tips when you are the defender
As the defender, this means you lost the contract. Your job is to make sure the declarer will not meet the contract. So what are the tips for bridge players who are defenders?
- Try not to lead with unsupported Aces unless your partner bid in that suit.
- Lead by using suits with touching honors. If you are unsure about what to use, go for the fourth best of the longest suit in your hand. This is usually the safest route to go.
- Think ahead of the game. This will help you identify any critical plays before they happen. Not only that, it will keep you from looking indecisive in front of your opponent – which can work in their favour if they know how to interpret it.
- Continue counting cards and points as you go along on the play. This will help you get a mental picture of what your opponents and partner have. It helps you decide what card to use next.
Consider these tips for bridge players in your next game. Just keep on practising to improve your skill and mental abilities. You will get better in time.