Playing the Hand - How-To Help and Videos

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How to Count a Suit in Bridge

To know when your small cards in a hand of bridge are winners, you must become familiar with the dreaded “c” word, counting. If you count the cards in the suit you’re playing, you can tell whether your

Bridge: How to Determine Sure Tricks by Suit

Depending on which cards you and your partner hold in a hand of bridge, your side may hold some definite winners, called sure tricks — tricks you can take at any time right from the start. You count your

How to Take Sure Tricks in Bridge

Depending on which cards you and your bridge partner hold in a hand, your side may have some definite winners, called sure tricks. Sure tricks are those that you can take at any time right from the get-go

How to Drive Out Your Opponent’s Ace in Bridge

In bridge, you can create winning tricks in a suit, even if you don’t have the ace. When you have all the honors in a suit except the ace, you can attack that suit early and drive out the ace from your

How to Surrender the Bridge Lead Twice to the Ace and King

In a hand of bridge, when you’re missing just the ace, you can establish the suit easily by drawing out the ace. However, if you’re missing both the ace and the king, you have to give up the lead twice

Finesse a Bridge Hand with a Hole in Your Honor Cards

Sometimes, the honor cards that you hold in a hand of bridge have a big hole in them. For example, you might have the ace, queen, and jack in a suit. But what can you do without the king? You can fill

How to Play the Short-Side Honors First in Bridge

When playing bridge, never forget this simple and powerful rule: When attacking an unequally divided suit,where either your hand or the dummy holds more cards than the other in that suit, play the high

Exploiting Length with No High Honor Cards in Bridge

If you don’t have any of a suit’s three top dogs (the ace, king, or queen) in a hand of bridge, but you have four or more cards in the suit, you can still scrape a trick or two out of the suit. When you

How to Establish Tricks in Bridge

When you establish tricks in bridge, you make sure you have winning cards by playing or forcing out your opponents' higher cards. You have to be sure that you can take enough tricks to meet your contract

How to Avoid Taking Bridge Tricks before Establishing Them

You may hate to give up the lead in a hand of bridge for fear that something terrible may happen. And you’re right. Something terrible is going to happen — if you’re afraid to give up the lead to establish

How to Turn Small Cards into Winning Bridge Tricks

In bridge, deuces (and other small cards, for that matter) can take tricks for you when you have seven cards or more in a suit between the two hands. You may then have the length to outlast all your opponents’

How to Drive Out High Honors in Bridge

When you play bridge, sometimes you have to drive out an opponent’s high honor card (could be an ace, a king, or a queen) before you can turn your frogs into princes

How to Duck a Trick in Bridge

No need to quack if you're ducking a trick in a game of bridge. When you know you have to lose at least one trick in a suit that includes the ace and king, face the inevitable and lose that trick early

How to Play a Bridge Hand of Small Cards

If your bridge hand contains only small cards for a given suit, don’t give up hope! Having any seven cards between the two hands in a game of bridge may mean an extra trick for you — if your opponents’

How to Avoid Blocking a Suit in Bridge

If you don’t play the high honor(s) from the short side of your bridge hand first, you run the risk of blocking a suit. You block a suit when you have winning cards stranded in one hand and no way to enter

How to Finesse a King by an Ace in Bridge

A finesse in bridge is a technique for taking tricks with lower honor cards (jacks, queens, and kings) when your opponents have higher honor cards (queens, kings, and aces). You need to finesse your lower

How to Finesse a Queen Past a King in Bridge

A finesse in bridge is a technique for taking tricks with lower honor cards (jacks, queens, and kings) when your opponents have higher honor cards (queens, kings, and aces). You need to finesse your lower

How to Combine Length with a Finesse in Bridge

In bridge, when you take finesses in suits that have seven or more cards between your hand and the dummy — meaning your side has more cards in that suit than your opponents

How to Finesse with the King and Queen in Bridge

Sometimes, the honor cards that you hold in a hand of bridge dictate that you lead from weakness toward strength twice, such as when you have both the king and queen in a suit. The only thing better than

How to Finesse against Split Honors in Bridge

Sometimes your opponents have two important honors in the suit that you want to attack in a hand of bridge. If those honors are split and each opponent has one honor, you can finesse those split honors

How to Finesse when a Bridge Opponent Shows Out

Finessing, when you take tricks with lower honor cards, is a risky business in bridge. However, you can take some of the risk out of finessing by watching which cards your opponents play. When an opponent

How to Corral the King in Bridge

In bridge, the more honor cards you have in a suit, the better your chances of taking all the tricks. Sometimes you strike gold and have a suit with four of the top honors, including the ace, but you’re

How to Use the Bridge Hold-Up Play

In bridge, you have countermeasures to opponents with winning tricks in a notrump-contract suit. The hold-up play is a technique that may stop your opponents dead in their tracks. No, the hold-up play

How to Overtake One Honor with Another in Bridge

When you’re taking tricks in a hand of bridge, sometimes you can’t afford to be miserly with your honor cards. With equal honors between the two hands, you may have to play two honors on the same trick

How to Take Tricks with Trumping in Bridge

Playing a hand of bridge with a trump suit has its advantages. For example, if you play a hand at a notrump (NT) contract, the highest card in the suit led always takes the trick. If an opponent with the

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