Monday, 1 August 2016

Lesson 12 - Bridge Scoring

Scoring is the heart of the game of bridge and learning how it works will make understanding the bidding much easier.  I know it did when I first started learning to play.

Knowing how the scoring works helps you to understand why it is better to play in No Trumps or a major trump and it helps you understand why sometimes it can be advantageous to bid to the 5, 6 or maybe even 7 level when you could stop bidding at a lower level and be certain of achieving your contract.

Bidding Basics.

  • The first 6 tricks don't count towards your score.  So a contract for 1 of a suit (or 1NT) actually means that you believe you can make 7 tricks (6 uncounted tricks plus 1 bid).  Likewise a contract at the 3 level means you believe you can make 9 tricks.
  • We've talked about achieving "game" in some of the lessons.  A “game” contract is one that scores a minimum of 100 points if it isachieved.  If you achieve (or exceed) a game contract you score a 300 point bonus - which is why it is advantageous to bid for a game contract IF you have enough points.  (If you fail to achieve the contract points are given to your opponents - so you shouldn't bid for a game contract unless you believe you can make the contract.)
  • If you don't have enough points for a game contract you can bid for a lower contract - this is a "part score contract".  You receive a 50 point bonus if you achieve the contract.
    • If you bid a part score but actually make enough tricks for game you will ONLY get the part score bonus as that is what you bid for.
  • If you fail to make the contract you bid for, your opponents score 50 points for each trick you failed by.  So, if you bid 3 of a suit (bid to make 9 tricks) and only make 7 tricks your opponents score 50 points for each of the two tricks you failed to make (100 points in total)

Basic Scoring Table

Points scored per trickNo. of tricks needed to make “game”(6 + no. of tricks bid)Minimum contract needed for gameHigh Card Points needed for “game
clubs and diamonds20115 clubs or diamonds27
hearts and spaces30104 hearts of spades25
No Trumps40 for FIRST trick 30 for subsequent tricks93 NT25

From this table you can see why it is advantageous to bid for game in NT or a major suit, if you can, as fewer tricks are needed to achieve the "game" bonus.


If you are part of the opposing partnership and you don't think the opener or their partner can make the contract they are bidding for you can “double”.  The advantage of doubling is that, if you are right and the opponents fail to achieve the contract your partnership will score double the points for each trick the opponents go down by.  However, if the opponents do achieve the contract they will  score double for each trick they make.  They will also score an extra bonus of 50 points for achieving the contract.

Once you've doubled, the opponents have the option of "redoubling" if they believe they are certain to make the contract.  This means that your opponents will score 4 times the points for each trick they make if they achieve the contract, plus a 100 point extra bonus.


Vulnerability adds extra interest to the game.  One or both sides become vulnerable.  The vulnerability rotates around the table and changes from neither side vulnerable t0 E-W vulnerable to N-S vulnerable to both side vulnerable.
  • If your side is vulnerable and you fail to make a contract then your opponents score DOUBLE the number of points for each trick you fail by.

  • If your side is vulnerable and bid for and achieve game, then your game bonus is increased to 500 points.
There is no increase  in the part score bonus which remains at 50 points.

Slam Bidding

There are two types of slams.
  • A small slam, which means you bid for and win 12 tricks

  • A grand slam which means you bid for an win all 13 tricks).
You only score an additional bonus for these if you bid to make them.

If you bid for fewer tricks, but actually achieve 12 or 13, you will only score the normal game bonus, not the additional slam bonus.

If you bid for and achieve a small slam you will score an additional 500 point bonus (or 750 if vulnerable)

If you bid for and achieve a grand slam you will score an additional 1000 point bonus (or 1500 if vulnerable)

Both of these are in addition to the regular game bonus.


Now that you have finished the twelve lessons on this site, you are more than ready to take your trial membership at No Fear Bridge.  Just Click Here to join for your two week trial.  I know you'll love it and become a better bridge player in no time.

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