How to Count Cards in Bridge

Updated July 20, 2017

Learning to count cards can help you play just about any card game more skilfully. Just about everyone has heard of counting cards in blackjack. However, you can count cards in other games such as spades, hearts and bridge. Counting cards makes you aware of what cards your opponent is holding. Counting cards in bridge can change your game strategy tremendously, help you win more games and make your game play much more enjoyable.

Assess your hand. Evaluate how many winners and losers you have. Count the losers for suit contracts. Count the winners for no trump contracts.

Subtract the winner tricks from the number needed to make the contract. This is the number of tricks you need to win.

Count the points in your hand. Ace is the high card and is worth four points. Kings, queens and jacks are worth three, two and one points respectively. A set of eight suited cards is worth four points; subtracting one point for each card, the lowest is a set of five suited cards for one point. Subtract a half-point for every unprotected queen and jack and add a half-point for any unprotected 10.

Count the cards by starting with the number of a particular suit in your hand and the dummy's hand. Keeping in mind that there are 13 cards in each suit, you know that if you have six and the dummy has three, you are starting with a count of nine. Thirteen minus nine is four. As the other cards are played, keep adding until you get to 13.

Re-evaluate your hand after bidding and again after each play.


Focus on counting the hand that did the least amount of bidding.

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About the Author

Lora Covrett has been writing professionally since 2006. She has published a humor book, as well as articles for various online publications. Covrett is an IBM-certified database administrator and solution expert. She completed her Bachelor of Science in computer information systems at Devry University.