Bridge For Dummies
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You can’t get very far playing bridge if you don’t decode these funny phrases: trump and notrump. So, what do the terms trump and notrump mean to a bridge player?

Trump cards and wild cards: a similar story

Have you ever played a card game that has wild cards? When you play with wild cards, using one will either win the hand for you or greatly increase your chances of winning. Sometimes wild cards can be jokers, deuces, or aces. It doesn’t matter what the card is; if you have one, you know that you have a great advantage.

In bridge, you have wild cards, too, called trump cards. However, in bridge, the trump cards are really wild because they change from hand to hand, depending on the bidding.

Determining trump or notrump through bidding

The bidding determines whether a hand will be played with trump cards or in a notrump contract (a hand that has no trump cards). If the final bid names a trump suit, that suit is the wild suit for the hand. For example, suppose that the final bid is 4♠ — this bid determines that spades are trump (or wild) for the entire hand.

When the final bid ends in notrump, the highest card played in the suit that has been led wins the trick. More contracts are played at notrump than in any of the four suits.

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