I'm building an Android game based on Contract Bridge, where 4 players will be playing simultaneously once they are connected with the Game Server.

I have no prior experience of playing any card game, and have been learning Bridge while working on this project. I understand most of the concepts of the game, things like Deal, Trick, strength of a hand, major suit, minor suit, the actual game play, etc.

But I'm still a bit confused by Bidding, the key part of the game. Since I'm a developer, and will not be working on creating an artificial CPU player, I'm more interested in getting the Rules of Bidding right, rather than strategies for making a great Bid.

Here are my rule questions:

  • How long does the bidding process continue? I know that when a certain bid is made by a player, and the remaining three call "Pass" subsequently, the last bid is agreed as a final contract. But what if players continue to bid, "double" or "redouble" the last bid forever? Do the cards need to be re-dealt in that case?
  • When a player calls "double" for a last bid, what exactly happens on the score card? I've read that you double your stakes for the game, i.e. if the player who bid makes that contract, he wins double points, and if he fails, you win double points, but I need a more figurative explanation with examples. Same with "redouble".
  • How is the declarer (or the attacking team) decided? Does the player whose bid is chosen as a final contract (with the suit he chose becoming the trump suite) become declarer? Or does the player who was first to mention the suit, which becomes the trump suit of the game, become the declarer?
  • What would be the purpose of a dummy player in the game if his cards are played by the declarer? In the Android game that I'll make, he'll be just sitting idle in-front of the phone and watch the show doing nothing (except the time when he exposes his cards and is done).

I know I've asked many questions here, but they all relate to rules of bidding. Any help with getting these rules clear in my mind would be appreciated.


Following are the sources I have referred so far to understand the game:

P.S.: I'm a software developer and not an enthusiast, so please keep your answer jargon-free where possible.

  • There are many variations of Bridge. Which one are you talking about? Rubber Bridge? Can you point us to the source of your information?
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 22:50
  • @Aryabhata: All the doubts I asked regarding the rules refer to Contract Bridge. Also, I've updated the question with details you've asked for.
    – Kushal
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 10:22
  • Contract bridge is a generic term and is applicable to different forms of the game (which all have the same basic rules of bidding and play). The mechanics and scoring are different between different forms of the game. If you want bridge players to play your game, just saying contract bridge won't do. You have to specify the form of scoring you provide (which in your case, I suggest you do Rubber Bridge).
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 15:04
  • @Aryabhata: Yes I'm learning the scoring patterns of Rubber Bridge, and looking for some sources that can help me understand the rules of scoring in clear and concise language such that I can implement it in the code.
    – Kushal
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 15:31
  • 2
    Good luck. Trying to write a game without playing the game yourself can be challenging :-)
    – Aryabhata
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 15:45

1 Answer 1

  • The bidding process continues until all players have passed in succession, or three players have passed in succession after a bid. You seem to misunderstand the double and redouble bids - they can't go on indefinitely. After a double from the opposing team, your only options are to go to a higher level or redouble. After a redouble from the opposing team, your only option is to go to a higher level. (Or pass out of course, in either case.) If bidding reaches 7 no trumps redoubled, there is nowhere left to go.

  • It would be easy to assume that "double" and "redouble" imply x2 or x4 value for the contract - much too easy! In fact doubling and redoubling also do some rather complex things to scoring overtricks or undertricks in the final score, dependent on the "vulnerability" of the contract, that has little to do with a simple multiplier. And that's before we get into the additional "insult bonus" for successfully making a doubled or redoubled contract... Here's a link to the Wikipedia sections on the subject, probably better and conciser than me trying to outline all of it from memory.

  • Declarer is, as you say, the first player to mention the trump suit (or bid no trumps) in the partnership that ultimately wins the contract.

  • Unfortunately dummy has little to do except twiddle his thumbs until the contract is played out. Fortunately Bridge is a complex and tense game that is usually as much fun to watch as play, and generally I don't find it a big problem to sit there watching partner play the hand, even online. You definitely want to be able to berate your partner after she's finished making a hash of the hand, with useful advise about how you would have done it! Er, I mean "commiserate with", not "berate", obviously...

  • So if all the four players (from very beginning) call it "Pass", then cards will be re-dealt?
    – Kushal
    Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 14:37
  • @Kush: Yes, that's what happens. The hand is over and, strictly speaking, the next player in turn becomes the dealer. Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 16:23
  • 1
    At one time, doubles and redoubles could continue indefinitely; see bridgeguys.com/MGlossary/MississippiHeartHand.html for one reason why it was changed. Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 11:47
  • 1
    @Kushal: In tournaments the cards must not be redealt, even if during the first round of the session. Different partnerships have varying requirements for an opening the four positions, and later partnerships would have inappropriate information if the rule was otherwise. Commented Nov 4, 2018 at 7:31

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