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Bridge Basics

This help file does not try to explain the game of bridge. Instead, it explains certain details of the Trickster Bridge implementation.


Trickster Bridge supports the bidding conventions of the Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC). This Preview recognizes a large subset of possible SAYC bids. When we encounter an unimplemented sequence, our computer players will pass or suggest you pass.

Screen shot showing first bid
Screen shot showing first bid

We present possible bids using a digital replica of a standard bidding box. We highlight the suggested bid in yellow; suggestions to pass, double, and redouble are highlighted with a white glow around the button. During bidding, we display your count of high card points at the bottom of the screen.

Bidding box with 1♣ suggested
Bidding box with 1♣ suggested

When you move your mouse over any bid (or press and hold on a bid on a touch screen), we display a bubble explaining the bid.

Hovering over the 1♠ bid shows what it means
Hovering over the 1♠ bid shows what it means

To make a bid, simply click or tap it.

After all players have placed their first bids, the game board will look similar to this:

Note how players’ bids are displayed. If you click or tap a placed bid, we explain what that bid means in SAYC.

Explanation of LHO’s bid
Explanation of LHO’s bid

Play of the Hand

Once the final contract is established, the declarer’s bid is display over his or her cards. The count of the number of tricks taken is displayed after the declarer’s name followed by a slash and the number of tricks required to fulfill the contract.

Play begins with the player to the declarer’s left leading. The dummy’s cards are exposed after the lead which is the first play of the dummy.

Board with dummy exposed
Board with dummy exposed

On large enough screens, the dummy is displayed in traditional layout; on smaller screens it displays as a flat spread of cards.

Play proceeds as you’d expect. Click or tap a card to play it. Your suggested card is displayed slightly raised. In the Preview, these suggestions are dummy-aware but still sub-optimal; no conventions are followed for the defensive lead.

Declarer Play

When you are the declarer, you play both your hand and the dummy’s hand. Dummy’s suggested cards are displayed slightly left-shifted. In both hands, you simply click or tap a card to play it.

Board showing dummy’s suggested card
Board showing dummy’s suggested card


The scorecard is displayed automatically at the end of each hand. You can display it at other times by choosing the Scores item from the main menu.

Scorecard after two hands
Scorecard after two hands

The scorecard shows contract and bonus points for each team along with a total at the bottom. It also displays an explanation of the points awarded in the last hand. Game winners are designated by the dotted line with the small arrow indicating the team that won that game.

The score summary in the lower right corner of the screen (displayed only when there’s room) shows the total score for each team, an indication of which team is vulnerable, if any, and, in Chicago bridge, the traditional X display indicating the current hand out of four.

Score summary during hand 3
Score summary during hand 3


The following “House Rules” options are available for Play, Compete, Practice, and Join games:



Creates a new game that starts immediately

Other options

Schedule a game for a time in the next 24 hours.

Compete and Join games only.


Three levels of winnings based on the buy-in level—30, 110, or 275 Trickster Chips.

Compete games only.



The game is always four hands played Chicago-style


The game is played until one team completes two “games” of 100 contract points each

Honors Bonus


Awards of bonus of 150 points if team is holding J–A of trump; 100 points if holding only Q–A.

If playing a No Trump contract, 150 points are awarded if holding all four aces.


No honors bonus awarded

Join games may disable SAYC bidding:

SAYC bidding


Show explanations for bids using SAYC conventions


Bid explanations are disabled

An additional option is available only in Practice games:

Best hand to me


After a random deal, the hands are “rotated” so that the hand with the highest opening bid is given to the practicing player


All hands are dealt randomly

Thank You

We thank you for trying the Preview version of our Trickster Bridge game. We’re eager to hear your feedback.

Especially valuable is feedback submitted during a game at the time of noticing something wrong. Choose Help in the main menu and then the Send Feedback option from there. Our system will snapshot the state of your game which will help us diagnose the issue.


We’ve used a variety of resources in building this game including:

  • ACBL SAYC System Booklet, revised January 2006
  • Bidding in the 21st Century (ACBL Bridge Series) by Audrey Grant, updates by Betty Starzec
  • Bridge at a Glance (Expanded Version) by Audrey Grant
  • Play of the Hand in the 21st Century (ACBL Bridge Series) by Audrey Grant, updates by Betty Starzec
  • Standard Bidding With SAYC by Ned Downey and Ellen Pomer

Additional thanks to Ralph Lipe, a personal friend and member of ACBL’s technology committee, for his encouragement and feedback.