Standard American BRIDGE - Lesson 1

The 'Standard American' bidding system is used in many countires but if you are in New Zealand, Australia or the United Kingdom then your bidding system is most likely to be ACOL. You can visit our ACOL lessons here.

The rules of Bridge will assist you to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your hand (and your partner's and opponent's hands).

Hand Evaluation – High Card Points

Look at the top cards in each suit so that you can describe the quality of your hand to your partner.

HCP = high card points
Ace    =  4 HCP
King   =  3 HCP
Queen = 2 HCP
Jack   = 1 HCP

Your Hand
A K 9 8 7
A K 10 8 6
4 2
This is how bridge hands are written. The hand on the left is the same hand as the one above.

Your Hand
A K 9 8 7
A K 10 8 6
4 2
Points in Each Suit
= 7 HCP (4 + 3 HCP) in
= 7 HCP (4 + 3 HCP) in
0 HCP in
0 HCP in
: There is a Total of 14 HCP in this hand

Distribution Points

In bridge, the points total of your hand is calculated by two different methods. Firstly we count HCP's and then you can add more points for the length (distribution) of cards in each suit in your hand. The longer your suit the more value it has. For this process you need add an additional 1 point for each 5-card suit and an extra 1 point for each additional card in the same suit.

(There are also at certain times distributional points for shortages in suits but we will cover this later)

Total Points (TP)

Total points are the most important consideration when deciding whether to open the bidding or not. Add your high-card points to your distributional points (long suit) strength and you will have a total point count (TP ).

The hand below has 16 TP, as you can add 1 extra point for both 5-card suits.

A K 9 8 7
A K 10 8 6
4 2
14 HCP + 2 distributional points for the 2 x5-card major suits

This hand has 16 Total Points (TP)


1. Introduction To Bridge - Hand Evaluation
2. Opening Bids
3. Bidding Game
4. Responder Bidding
5. Opener Rebids
6. Responder Suit Bids
7. Responder No Trump Bids
9. Responding To Overcalls
10. Opening 1NT
11. Responding With Balanced Hands
12. Responding With An Unbalanced Hand
13. NoTrump Rebids
14. Responses To NoTrump Rebids
15. Overcall Or Double
16. Takeout Doubles
17. Responses To Takeout Doubles
18. Opening 2NT
19. Responses To 2NT
20. Opening Strong 2 Clubs
21. Responding to a Strong 2 Club Opening
22. Responding to an Opening Weak 2 Bid

BL 1 © House of Cards 2008:  

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