Bridge Etiquette: Bidding Do's and Don'ts

Part of the Bridge For Dummies Cheat Sheet

In bridge, bidding is an exchange of information. During bidding, you're trying to telegraph details about your cards to your partner. Your first impulse may be to develop some special bidding conventions that only you and your partner know. According to the rules of the game, however, you can't have any bidding secrets with your partner; the same goes for your opponents. So even though the opponents may be bidding their heads off, you at least will know what their bids mean.

Here are some tips to help you keep your bidding on the straight and narrow:

  • Do try to use the minimum number of words possible when you bid. If you want to pass, say just one word: "Pass." If you want to bid 3♣, say "Three clubs." No more, no less.

  • Do be careful about how you use your voice. You may be tempted to bid softly if you have a weak hand or loudly if you have a strong one. Remember to keep all your bids at the same decibel level.

  • Don't use body language. If your partner makes a bid you don't like, don't throw any looks across the table and don't use any negative body language. If your partner makes a bid that you do like, you also must refrain from any telltale signs of glee.

  • Don't give in to emotional reactions or breakdowns, no matter what happens during the bidding. Bridge is too great a game to mess it up with illegal signals, so keep an even keel.

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