Contract Bridge is a trick taking card game using a standard deck of 52 playing cards. It is played by four players in two competing partnerships with partners sitting opposite each other around a table. The game consists of several deals, each progressing through four phases: dealing the cards, the auction, playing the hand and scoring the results. Dealing the cards and scoring the results are procedural activities while the auction and playing the hand are the two actively competitive phases of the game.


1. The provisions of the Laws of Contract Bridge, as published by the American Contract Bridge League, and summarized below, shall apply. At ALBERTA 55 PLUS sanctioned events, Alberta 55 plus Bridge Scoring, as outlined on page 6, will be utilized. These rules can be obtained by searching or by contacting:

American Contract Bridge League
2990 Airways Blvd.
Memphis, TN 38116-3847
Ph: (901) 332-5586
Fax: (901) 398-7754

2. Age Categories/Events

Age groups and events for an Alberta 55 Plus Games will be specified in the current Activity Information Book.

3. Players: Four, two against two as partners. Partners share equally in every result, and only one score is kept for each side.

4. Cards: The 52-card pack. Usually two packs are used; while one pack is being dealt, the dealer’s partner shuffles the other pack. Having shuffled it, he sets it down at his right. The cards in each suit rank downward in order: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. The suits rank: spades (high), hearts, diamonds, clubs.

5. Preliminaries: Before each game, one pack is spread face down on the table. Each player draws a card, but not one of the four cards at either end. The players draw only for highest card to decide who becomes the first dealer and has choice of cards and seats. For the Alberta 55 Plus Games and associated playoffs, most players will enter with their intended partner. The shuffle and cut: The shuffled pack is placed at the dealer’s left. The dealer transfers it to his right. The player at dealer’s right must cut the pack by lifting off a packet and setting it down toward the dealer. The dealer completes the cut by putting the other packet on top of this one. Each packet must be at least five cards.

6. Rotation: The rotation is always clockwise, the turn passing from each player to the player at his left, in dealing, in bidding, and in play.

7. Dealing: The dealer distributes the cards one at a time face down, in rotation, beginning with the player on his left, until all have been dealt and each player has received thirteen cards. No player should touch or intentionally look at the face of any card dealt to him until the deal is completed. Conversation should stop once the cards are dealt.

8. The Auction or Bidding: When the deal is completed, each player picks up and looks at his hand. Then each player in rotation, beginning with the dealer, may continue to call until the auction closes. A call may be a pass, a bid, a double or a redouble.

Pass: A player who does not wish to make any other call says, “pass”. If all four players “pass” in the first round, the hand is not played, and the deal passes on to the next player.

Bid: A bid is an offer to undertake to win a stated number of “odd-tricks” (tricks in excess of six, the first six tricks being called “the book”) with a named suit as trump, or with no-trump. E.g. When a bid of “One club” is made, the declarer is contracting to take seven tricks with clubs being trump. The lowest possible bid is a bid of one and, since there are thirteen tricks in all, the highest possible bid is seven. The form of a bid is: “One diamond,” “One no-trump”, “Four spades”, etc.

Double: A player in turn may double the last preceding bid. The effect of a double is to increase the scoring values of tricks. A double does not affect the sufficiency of bids; if a three spade bid has been doubled, any player in turn may still overcall it with a bid of three no-trump, or four clubs, or anything higher.

Redouble: A player in turn may redouble the last preceding bid if it was made by himself or his partner, has been doubled by an opponent. The redouble further increases the scoring values, but, like the double, does not affect the sufficiency of bids. A double or redouble applies only to the last preceding bid. If a four-club is doubled, and there is a subsequent bid of four hearts, the four heart bid counts as its usual, single, value unless it also is doubled.

Opening the Auction: The auction is said to be opened when any player makes a bid. If all four players “pass” in the first round, or there is a misdeal, the deal is passed out, the cards are thrown in and the next dealer in turn deals. Once the auction has been opened it must continue until it closes and the cards must be played.

Closing the Auction: When a bid, double or redouble is followed by three consecutive passes, the auction is closed. Every card of the suit named in the final bid becomes a trump; or, if the final bid was in no-trump, the cards will be played without a trump suit. Of the side, which made the final bid, the member who first named the suit (or no-trump) specified in that bid becomes the declarer. The number of odd-tricks named in the final bid becomes his contract. The play period commences.

9. The Play: The player at declarer’s left selects any card from his hand and places it face up in the centre of the table; that is the “opening lead”. Declarer’s partner then places his hand face up on the table in front of him, grouped in suits with the trumps, if any, to his right; this hand, and declarer’s partner are each called the dummy. Declarer’s partner will take no further part in the play of the cards; declarer will select the plays from the dummy hand as well as from his own, but each in proper turn.

The object of play is to win tricks. A trick consists of four cards, one from the hand of each player in rotation, the first card played to a trick generally being called the lead. A player is required to follow suit to the card led if he can; if he cannot follow suit, he may play any card.

A trick not containing any trump is won by the highest card of the suit led. A trick containing any trump is won by highest trump card played in that trick. The hand that wins a trick leads to the next.

When a trick is complete (contains four cards) a member of the side that won it takes in the cards, turns them face down, and places them in front of him. One partner takes in all the tricks won by his side. A player may look back at the last trick until he or his partner has led or played to the next; after that, he may not look at any previous trick.

Play continues in this way until thirteen tricks have been played.

10. Scoring: One player from each side will keep score; and at least one player at the table must keep score. The contract bridge score sheet is divided by a vertical line in columns headed “we” and “they” and the scorekeeper enters all scores made by his side on the “we” side and all scores made by his opponents on the other side. Midway on the scoresheet there is a horizontal line; scores designated as “trick score” go below the line; all other scores (usually called the “honor score”) go above the line.