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How to Score Slams in Bridge

Slam contracts in bridge give you immediate bonuses. Bidding to the six level (a small slam) or bidding to the seven level (a grand slam) is exciting and also perilous. Bidding to the six level means that you have to take 12 tricks, all the tricks but one; bidding to the seven level means that you have to take all 13 tricks!

Clearly, if you’re going to stick your neck out that far, you should be rewarded with a nice bonus if you make your contract. After all, you could have settled for a game contract with much less risk.

The number of bonus points that you receive for bidding and making a slam depends on whether you’re vulnerable at the time:

  • Not vulnerable small slam = 500 bonus points

  • Vulnerable small slam = 750 bonus points

  • Not vulnerable grand slam = 1,000 bonus points

  • Vulnerable grand slam = 1,500 bonus points

Slam bonuses are mouthwatering, but don’t forget, you have to make your contract to get them. Not only do you get nothing if you fail, but worse, your opponents get penalty points if you don’t make your contract. The bottom line is that you have to know what you’re doing bidding at those rarefied levels.

This image shows you a small slam bonus in action:

  1. You and a new partner have just started a rubber by bidding and making 6♠.

    You receive 180 points as your trick score and a bonus of 500 points for bidding and making a slam (as shown in this image), and the icing on the cake: Now you’re vulnerable.

    image0.jpg
  2. On the next hand, you bid and make 6♣, a vulnerable small slam.

    You just bid and made a second slam — back-to-back slams! Take a look at your score now, as shown in this image.

    image1.jpg

It doesn’t get much better than this. The 750 above the line is your bonus for bidding and making a vulnerable small slam. The 700 above the line is your bonus for winning the rubber because your opponents aren’t vulnerable. The 120 points is your trick score for bidding and making 6♣.

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