How to Add Up High-Card Points in Bridge
Your honor cards (the ace, king, queen, jack, and ten in each suit) contribute to the strength of your hand. When you pick up your hand, assign the following points to each of your honor cards:
Aces: For every ace, count 4 points (A = 4 points).
Kings: For every king, count 3 points (K = 3 points).
Queens: For every queen, count 2 points (Q = 2 points).
Jacks: For every jack, count 1 point (J = 1 point).
The 10 is also considered an honor card, but, alas, it doesn’t count when adding your points initially. Patience.
These points are called high card points (HCP). Most players use this barometer to measure the initial strength of their hand.
Each suit contains 10 HCP, totaling 40 HCP in the deck. When you know the total HCP between the two hands in your partnership (which you find out through the bidding), you can more easily decide how many tricks to bid for.