“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
Here are some practice games to put your bidding into action and to help you develop problem-solving skills by applying your knowledge to different situations.
*Note: If you are playing BBO online, you can input the hands into your account to play with friends.
It’s not enough to take lessons and learn the bidding rules. You must play the game! Randomly dealt hands can make it too complicated. These Practice Games are set up to focus on each lesson specifically so you can apply the rules you have just learned and not confuse you with a bunch of rules you do not know.
Bridge is a partnership game! What is especially helpful is that my practice hands show the message being sent by each bid. Communication between partners is the most important aspect of reaching the best contract at the best level.
These practice games took much time and attention to detail to set up and this is why.
Each set has these features:
- Each player (North, South, East and West) will have equal opportunities to bid and play the hand (be declarer), usually four times out of sixteen games, assuming the bidding goes according to the recommendations.
- Everyone at the table should stay engaged and alert because each side is challenged. Beginners can get easily bored and discouraged if they are not able to bid or play for several games in a row.
- The games are set up to teach/learn a specific set of rules at one time.
- The bidding hands show pictures; the same as what each player would see if they held those cards in their hands. They see the cards, not symbols representing cards. Visualization helps in learning.
- Bidding recommendations are given and explained thoroughly.
- Boards are created to match boards used in duplicate games (numbered 1 to 16, with the dealer and the vulnerability the same as duplicate boards). These hands can be set up in dealer machines used by bridge clubs.
These practice games can be used for learning in many ways. Here are some suggestions:
1. Study them on your own or with a partner. Look at each hand, write down how you think the bidding would proceed and what the final contract would be. Estimate how many tricks you could take (or lose) if you were declarer. Then compare your answers with the ones given. Try to understand why each bid was made and what it means. Always consider what message you are sending to your partner — what do they know so far, is my bid forcing or non-forcing and how do we get to game level if we have enough points?
2. Set up the hands using duplicate boards. Then plan to play with a group. After the group finishes bidding, check the bidding recommendations before playing out the hands. You can change the bidding to match the recommendations or you can leave the bidding as it is, play it out, and compare the results.
3. If you do not have duplicate boards and want to use these games for several tables (as a teacher would do), set up the hands using the Teacher’s Tip. (Click on link.)
Here’s another method if you have only one table, a group of 4 friends perhaps. Teacher’s Tip for Hands for 1 Table.
Note: The hand records for the games for Lessons 1 and 2 are shown near the bottom of this page. If it’s your first time looking at a hand record, use the analysis sheet to help you.
The comments are given to remind players what factors they should be considering so they can begin to formulate their own strategies for future games and become more skilled and competitive at bridge.
Lesson 1 – Practice Games: Opening 1 of a Suit (free to download from here)
Lesson 2 – Practice Games: Opening 1NT and Responses (free to download from here)
The other eight practice sets are similar to Lesson 1 and 2. Each set includes 16 practice games, with suggestions for bidding. By trying out the two sets of practice games above, you will know whether these games are helpful to you or not. The next eight sets are available for purchase together. They are:
Practice Games for Lesson 3 – Opening with a Very Strong Hand
Practice Games for Lesson 4 – Opening Weak at the 2, 3 and 4 Level
Practice Games for Lesson 5 – Opening Leads, Bidding to Game Level and Finding Best Suit
Practice Games for Lesson 6 – Re-evaluating Using Dummy Points
Practice Games for Lesson 7 – Doubles
Practice Games for Lesson 8 – Overcalls
Practice Games for Lesson 9 – Slam Bidding using Blackwood
Practice Games for Lesson 10 – Slam Bidding using Gerber
The cost is $20 (US) for the additional 8 sets of practice games. Together with Lessons 1 and 2 above, they will form a practical study guide for learning or teaching. Included for downloading are the Hand Records. Here’s an example of the hand records for Lesson 1 Practice Games, with an explanation for how to analyse them.
Explanation of How to Analyse Hand Records
To order these 8 additional sets, click on the “Buy Now” button below. You will be given an option to pay with PayPal or with a credit card. ($20 US)
Once the payment is received, you will be sent a password to access and download the files (see top menu). You should receive the password within 24 hours, usually. If, for any reason, you do not receive a response within 48 hours, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me you haven’t received them. Please check your Junk mail or Spam folder, also. Occasionally, my email does not go through so please let me know, otherwise I may not know there is a problem.