MiniBridge Tools

ABA MiniBridge Initiative

MiniBridge Rules


The game that helps you to learn BRIDGE
Have fun at the same time!!!!
Compiled and modified by Daisy Smith

MiniBridge is a game in its own right, which was actually originally developed in Holland. It is a simplified form of bridge which is still competitive, stimulating and fun, but can be quickly learned and enjoyed by everyone. It is particularly good as a family game, though, suitable for adults and children of any age so long as they can count up to 40!

There is no auction in MiniBridge, so the good news is that there are no complicated bidding conventions to learn. When it comes to play, everything is almost exactly as in bridge. Anyone can understand the mechanics of card play in a few moments, so can get involved right away in the game.  Card playing skills are built up over time, but that’s part of the enjoyment of mastering any new game. A bonus is that anyone becoming a competent MiniBridge player is more than halfway to becoming a competent bridge player.

1 - Shuffle and deal

The pack should be shuffled (randomly mixed) and cut for dealer (highest deals). Dealer deals out the cards clockwise one by one to the players, so that they have 13 cards each. Dealer for the second game will be the next player clockwise and so on. Please note that many teachers will provide you with pre-dealt hands in bridge boards.

2 - Sorting the hand

The players sort the cards in their own hand into suits and into sequence within each suit, without showing the cards to the other players. Players alternate red and black suits.

3 - Counting points

The value of the hand is worked out by counting up the high card points held, using the following scale:

Ace = 4 PointsKing = 3 Points
Queen = 2 PointsJacks = 1 Points

Note that there are 40 points altogether between the four hands in each deal. 

4 - Announcing points

Beginning with the dealer, and then in clockwise order, each player announces how many points his or her hand contains. The partnership with the most points becomes the declaring side who decide the contract. The other pair is the defending side, who try to prevent the contract being made by making tricks themselves. There is a re-deal if the point distribution between the partnerships turns out to be 20/20.

5 - The declaring side

The player with the higher number of points in the declaring side becomes ‘declarer’, and his partner becomes ‘dummy’. If they both have the same number of points, the player who announced points first is declarer. Dummy then lays his or her hand down face up on the table to face declarer, with the suits arranged in columns.

6 - Deciding the contract

Declarer may choose no trumps or a trump suit. When choosing a trump, try to name a suit that is a fit. A fit is at least eight cards in a suit between the partnership. If declarer chooses a trump contract, the cards in dummy in the chosen suit are moved to be on the dummy’s right hand side (the left hand end as declarer looks at them).

Targets Settings
Combined points of partnershipContract
21 Pointsmust make one (7 tricks)
22 -23 Pointsmust make two (8 tricks)
24 -25 Pointsmust make three (9 tricks)
26-28 Pointsmust make four (10 tricks)
29 -32 Pointsmust make five ((11 tricks)
33-36 Pointsmust make six (12 tricks)
37+ Pointsmust make seven (13 tricks)

7 - Play begins

The player on declarer’s left plays the first card face down, i.e. makes the ‘opening lead’. Play is in clockwise order and players must follow to the suit led whenever possible. The highest card played wins the trick (unless, in a suit contract, it is beaten by a trump, since trumps outrank the other three suits). If several rounds of a suit are played and a player runs out of cards in that suit, he or she may discard a card from another suit, or in a trump contract can choose to play a trump (which will win the trick unless it is beaten by a higher trump).

8 - Taking tricks

Each card is played face up in front of each player in such a way that everyone can see the cards clearly. When a trick is complete, the cards are turned ove, players placing the ‘quitted’ cards from their own hands face down on the table in front of themselves in a neat row. To make it easy to see how many tricks have been won or lost, cards in tricks won are placed upright, and cards in tricks lost are placed sideways on. The winner of the first trick leads to the second and so on.

9 – Dummy play

Declarer controls the play of dummy’s cards, telling partner which card to play when it’s dummy’s turn. Declarer’s partner must always play dummy’s cards as instructed, and must keep the cards already played from dummy in correct order and formation. Otherwise dummy takes no part in the play of this particular deal.

10 – Play ends

When all the cards have been played, the tricks for each side are counted and agreed, and the result is calculated and scored. Players record their score on a score sheet. The session can end when an agreed target total has been reached by one side, or after a set number of deals have been played.

11 – The next deal

The position of dealer moves clockwise round the table for each game.

Minibridge Tips

  • Pick a trump that you and your partner have the most cards in suit.  A fit is at least 8 cards between partnerships or three more than opponents. If you both have balanced hands, try a notrump.
  • Remember the point count each player has in his/her hand. This information will be helpful to you when playing a hand as declarer or opponent. Before the lead is made,
  • you can request a review.
  • The declarer should count sure tricks and make a plan how to make the tricks needed to make your target.
  • When a card is led and you are in the second position, play low and play high (looking at dummy) in third position.
  • Remember your partner wants his/her lead back unless you have something better.
  • A high spot card played on partner’s lead asks partner to continue that suit. A low spot card asks partner not to continue that suit.

Bridge Vocabulary:

  • Trick -Book
  • Declarer – The player of the hand
  • Defenders – The partnership not playing the hand.
  • Dummy – The hand up and Declarer’s partner
  • Revoke – Renege
  • Ruff – Cut
  • Honor Cards –Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten
  • Spot Cards- below a ten
  • HCP – High Card Points




First you choose the suit and then the appropriate card in the suit.

Choices of suit:
  • partner’s suit
  • Otherwise, lead the longest suit
  • With a choice of suits, lead the strongest
Choices of card
Partner’s suit:
  • The top of a doubleton ( 8 5)
  • With no sequence, lead low
Longest suit:
  • Lead the top of touching honors from a sequence.
  • Top of a solid sequence (KQJxx)
  • Top of a broken sequence (J1086)
  • Top of an interior sequence (AJ102)
  • with no sequence lead 4th highest (KJ964)


First you choose the suit and then the appropriate card in the suit.

Choices of suit
  • partner’s suit
  • An unbid suit
  • A singleton or doubleton
  • A trump
Choice of Card
  • Lead the top of a doubleton (85)
  • Top of touching honors (KQ62)
  • 4th best J976or low from 3 cards


Don’t play a single card until you have planned how you will make your contract! The plan will influence decisions you will have to make during theplay, for example knowing when to delay drawing trumps, instead of drawing them all at thebeginning.

STEP1. Know howmany tricksyou need to makeyour contract!

STEP2. Count your sure tricks (Tricks you can turn without the opponents getting in.)

STEP3.Count losers tricks in the other three suits.

STEP4.Plan how to get rid of losers.

  • Finesse
  • Discarding and ruffing (cutting) losers with the short trump suit hand usually dummy.
  • Establishing long suits after trumps are drawn
  • Consider the order of getting rid of losers.

Don’t Forget To Count. Down The Missing TrumpsAs They Are Played.


Use STEPS 1 and 2 above.

STEP 3. Count your winners.

STEP 4. Plan how to create winner.

  • Promotion
  • Length
  • Finesse

Consider the order of creating winners.

Scoring MiniBridge

If the target is not met, then the declaring side scores nothing and the opponents score points instead. For each trick Down is 100 for defender.Choosing the best contract is therefore a critical part of the game which needs skill and judgment.

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Contact Information:

Daisy B. Smith
301- 437-8176
Fax: 301-879-1908