Bridge is a popular card game, but it’s fallen out of fashion in recent decades.
The game that we now know as bridge is technically called “Contract bridge” and is thought to have developed from whist, an old-fashioned card game popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.
However, the proliferation of online bridge sites and the rising popularity of bridge cruises have meant that the game’s profile has picked up of late. So if you’re interested in learning how to play bridge, it’s never been a better time.
Learning how to play bridge
Learning how to play bridge is simpler than it might seem. All you need is a pack of cards, a table and four players, including yourself. The game itself is a bit like hearts – however, bridge is played in teams of two (players in the same team usually sit opposite one another) and the trump suit may be different in each game, or there may be no trump suit at all.
If you’re finding it hard to locate three friends who would also like to learn bridge, the internet makes your journey a little easier. There are a range of online bridge sites available for beginners, so you don’t need to worry about jumping in alongside the professionals to begin with. One excellent resource is No Fear Bridge, a site that’s targeted specifically to beginners. This video tutorial on bridge also offers a useful demonstration for rookies.
One of the best bridge websites for players starting out is Audrey Grant’s Better Bridge. Grant is a world-famous bridge tutor and her website offers a range of teaching materials for new students, as well as established players hoping to improve their technique. Stand-out features include a daily bridge column, news from the world of bridge and interesting features on bridge-related topics, like etiquette.
Alternatively, beginners can also learn how to play bridge by downloading software tutorials, so you don’t need an internet connection to learn, while Henry Lampert’s book The Fun Way to Serious Bridge is another great source for offline bridge-teaching.
Dive in on a bridge cruise
One of the best ways to get acquainted with bridge is simply to immerse yourself in it for a significant period of time. Try combining your newfound interest with a holiday and book a bridge cruise. Audrey Grant of the aforementioned website Better Bridge also runs bridge cruises in North America that cater to all levels and celebrate a sense of community between bridge players.
In the UK, Mr Bridge has been running bridge holidays for several years, offering fun bridge programmes on cruises around the glamorous Mediterranean. In fact, bridge cruises take place all over the world – from the sunny Caribbean to the Baltic Sea. You simply need to find a bridge cruise that caters to your player level, in a holiday location that suits you.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer choice of bridge cruises out there, search sites like Cruise Critic for reviews from other bridge players or start a new discussion thread on forums like FunBridge.com.