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Learn to Play Mini Bridge

Mini Bridge Rules


The following is a brief overview of the game of Mini Bridge. For more complete lessons, go to the following links:

Mini Bridge is a card game played with a deck of 52 cards and four players. The object of the game is for partners to win as many "tricks" as possible during the play of the hand.

In Mini Bridge, there are four players in two fixed partnerships. Partners sit facing each other. It is traditional to refer to the players according to their geographic position at the table as north, east, south and west, so north and south are partners playing against east and west. The game is played clockwise.

To determine the dealer, the person in the north position spreads all cards of this deck face-down on the table. Each player draws a card. The person with the highest card in the highest suit (suits rank from lowest to highest alphabetically: Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades) wins the deal.

The Deal:

  • The person to the left of the dealer shuffles the cards and then passes them to the dealer who then passes them to the opponent on his/her right.
  • This player will cut for the dealer (lifting a portion of the deck and placing it in front of the dealer who then places the bottom potion of the deck and places it on top).
  • The dealer deals all the cards face down, in clockwise rotation one at a time, until each player at the table has a hand consisting of 13 cards.
  • No player should touch his/her cards until the dealer has finished dealing the last card.
  • After the play of each hand is completed, the deal moves around the table clockwise so that each person has a turn to deal the cards.

Note: It is traditional to use two packs of cards during a game. During each deal, the dealer's partner shuffles the other pack and places it to his/her right. The dealer for the next hand then simply needs to pick up the cards from the left and passes them across to the right to be cut. Provided all the players understand and use it, this procedure saves time and works as a reminder of whose turn it is to deal, because the spare pack of cards is always to the left of the next dealer.

Once all cards have been dealt, the players pick up the cards and arrange the cards by suit. It is easier to play the hand if cards are arranged red, black, red, black. Many players like to arrange their cards in descending order (with the highest card to the left, by suit, in their hand) so that during the play of the hand, keeping track of the cards is easier.

Remember, the object of Mini Bridge is to win tricks for your side. The first card played in each trick is called the lead.

After the lead, the next three players must play the same suit as the lead. For instance, if a spade is led, you must play a spade in this trick. If you have no spades, you may play any other card. When everyone in the group has played one card, the trick is complete. The rules for determining the winner of a trick are:

    ·         If a trick contains no trump card, the highest card of the suit led is the winner.

    ·         If a trick contains a trump card, the highest trump played wins it.

After each trick, players collect their own cards. Each player places his or her played cards along the table edge in front of himself or herself from left to right in order of play. Losing cards are placed parallel to the table edge; winning cards are placed perpendicular to the table edge.

The winner of the trick plays the lead in the next trick. Play continues this way for all 13 tricks.

Determining Trump

Trump is decided by the “declarer.” The declarer is the player with the highest point value in his or her hand. In Mini Bridge, cards are valued from the lowest card, a two or deuce, to the highest card, an ace. The four high cards (A, K, Q, J) have point values when determining the value of a hand. In counting points for Mini Bridge, the players use the following values:


Ace 4 points
King 3 points
Queen 2 points
Jack 1 point
Ten 0 points (but is considered an "honor" card)


The entire deck of cards has 40 high-card points. So, with four players, an "average" individual hand would hold 10 high-card points.

After the cards are dealt, each player counts the points in his or her hand. Starting with the dealer, each player announces the number of points in his or her hand, going around the group in a clockwise direction. (The total of all four hands should be 40. If not, you should recount.)

The partnership with the most total points is in control, and the player with the most points in that partnership becomes the "declarer." (If both sides have 20 points, the dealer collects the cards and deals again. If both partners on the declaring side have the same number of points, the partner who announced points first is the declarer.)

The Dummy Hand

The partner of the declarer is called the “dummy.” The declarer plays the dummy’s hand, which is displayed face-up on the table for all to see. The player who held it does not participate in the play. The declarer must play both the dummy hand and his or her own hand, each in proper turn.

The dummy hand should be laid on the table neatly, separated into suits. The cards in each suit should be in order of rank and overlapped, with the rank of each card clearly visible. If there is a trump suit, it is placed on dummy's right (viewed by declarer, trump is on the left). In this example, spades are trump.



The declarer decides which suit is best for trump. Trump suit is the one of which the partners hold the greatest number of cards. This would usually be eight or more cards of the same suit between the two hands. If there are less than eight cards of the same suit, the declarer will determine that there is No Trump for this hand. A No Trump contract means that the first card played in each trick becomes trump for that trick.

Next, the declarer predicts the number of tricks he or she expects to win over "book," or over six tricks. The declaring side must take at least half the tricks (6 ½). Only the tricks after six are counted. So a prediction of seven tricks is stated as 1 because it is one over book.

The declarer announces to the table the “contract” (the number of tricks the team expects to take and the trump suit—or No Trump). For example, the declarer may name the contract as 2 hearts. This is like saying, "Trump is hearts, and I will take 2 tricks (or eight tricks total).”


After all 13 tricks are played, the teams calculate the score. If the declaring side wins the number of tricks they designated in the contract, they earn points. The first six tricks do not count for any points. The seventh trick is the first scoring trick.

The points are different for each suit:

  • Spades or hearts contract: earn 30 points for each trick over six.
  • Diamonds or hearts contract: earn 20 points for each trick over six.
  • No Trump contract: earn 40 points for the first trick after book (over six) and 30 for each additional trick.

Add Bonus Points:

Partscore contract: If you make your contract, but do not have 100 points, earn 50 bonus points.

Game contract: Earn an additional 300 points if you earn 100 points or more and make your predicted contract.

If the number of tricks declared in the contract is not reached, the declaring side receives no points. The defending partners earn points for every trick not made by the declarer. The other team earns 50 points for each trick under the declared contract.

The above overview is a general guide for playing Mini Bridge. Go to the following lesson plans for more instructions on developing strategy:

Crossing the Mini Bridge

Thinking about Mini Bridge   

Mini Bridge Lessons


The following lesson teaches the games of Tricks, Trump, and Whist

Playing Tricks, Trump, and Whist

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