Practice Games for Bidding and Playing

“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.

Once you have read each lesson and completed the quiz for that lesson, the next step is to put your bidding and playing skills into actual practice. Bridge is a dynamic game. Pay close attention to what happens around the table — every bid that is made, every card that is played. Every action means something. Bridge is a partnership game! What is especially helpful is that my practice hands show the message being sent. You need to know the message you are sending to your partner so that, together, you find the best contract at the best level. If you do not understand the messages, you will have much difficulty communicating.

These games are deliberately and consciously constructed so that each player, whether playing North, South, East or West, will have an equal number of times to become Declarer and play the hand (4 out of 16 games most of the time), assuming the bidding goes according to the recommendations. These games should keep everyone at the table engaged and alert. No one should feel bored or left out. When hands are dealt randomly, sometimes it seems as if one pair gets most of the strong, biddable hands in a session. There’s not much anyone can do about that, but it takes the fun out of it when all you seem to be doing is playing defence or sitting as the dummy. This situation can be avoided by using pre-determined hands, carefully set up to teach/learn a specific set of rules, such as these games.

These games closely relate to the topic covered in each lesson. For example, after studying Lesson 1, completing the quiz and checking your answers, now you can see how opening 1 of a suit is applied in an actual game. The hands are shown using graphics that mimic what you would see in your hand, so you do not have to translate symbols into cards. This helps to visualize the hand realistically which makes learning much easier for many beginners.

Bidding recommendations are given and explained thoroughly. Once you’ve studied each lesson, you should be able to open the bidding and give a simple response based on that lesson, but it may take some time and experience to know how high to bid and when to stop. It is impossible to memorize exactly how to bid every hand. Try to absorb as much as you can, but do not be disappointed if you do not understand everything immediately. Lesson 5 will explain some of the dynamics more fully, with help on forcing/non-forcing bids, opening leads, and evaluating your hand in relation to your partner’s hand. As soon as you can, you should start to assess the bidding potential using point count and distribution. Approximately 25 points are needed to bid to game in a major suit or NT (4♠, 4, and 3NT) and about 29 points are needed for game level in a minor suit (5♣ and 5). These are some of the numbers that you need to consider when bidding.

Each set of practice games below has 16 boards (games). These can be used in different ways. Here are some possibilities:
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 does s/he 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 and compare the results.
3. If you do not have duplicate boards and want to use these games for several tables, 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). 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. If you plan to use these practice games and have access to a card dealing machine, you can order the PBN files to set up the boards. (See bottom of page.)

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

Lesson 1 – Practice Games

Lesson 2 – Practice Games: Opening 1NT and Responses 

Lesson 2 – Practice Games


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.  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. 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.

Once the payment is received, the eight lessons will be sent to your email address as attachments in PDF format. Under normal circumstances, you should receive them within 24 hours. If, for any reason, you do not receive a response within 48 hours, please email me at to tell me you haven’t received them. Please check your Junk mail or Spam folder, also. Occasionally, the attachments do not get through so I need to know that, otherwise I may not know there is a problem.

Below are the hand records for Lesson 1 and 2 Practice Games. The hand record is very useful to study after bidding and playing the games. It shows all the hands so you can review them. It also gives computer-generated optimum bids for N/S and E/W. The explanation of how to interpret and analyse the hand records is shown below, also.

Lesson 1 Practice Games Hand Record

Analysis of a Hand Record (using Lesson 1 Practice Games)

Here is the hand record for Lesson 2 Practice Games:

Lesson 2 Practice Games Hand Record

Printed hand records for Practice Games for Lessons 3 to 10 are available separately at a cost of $10 U.S. You can pay by credit card or through PayPal. To purchase the hand records, click on the “Buy Now” button below:

PBN Files: These files are used for card-dealing machines such as Dealer4. (If you do not have a card-dealing machine or have no access to one, these files would be of no use to you.) To purchase the 10 files for the practice games (10 lessons with 16 games each), click on the “Buy Now” button below. You will be given the option of paying with PayPal or a credit card. The cost is $10 U.S.