These Help pages can be downloaded here with the Winning Bridge Shareware game for Microsoft Windows98, ME, 2000 and XP.
Bridge Basics - Bidding
After the cards have been dealt the auction begins. The purpose of the auction is to establish the Trump suit and the number of tricks that are to be made. You and your partner are competing against the other pair. Bidding starts with the dealer then proceeds clockwise around the table. You cannot consult with you partner, the only way of telling your partner about your hand, or of asking your partner about their hand is by making a valid bid.
There are three types of bid:
a contract bid: a level from 1 to 7 and a suit (including No Trumps)
a double or redouble
a no bid or pass.
With Winning Bridge you can only make valid bids.
The level of a contract bid says the minimum number of tricks that are to be made by the bidding partnership. A bid at the 1 level requires that 7 tricks are made (6+1); a bid at the seven level requires that all 13 tricks are made (6+7).
The suit in a contract bid says what suit is to be trumps (or that the contract will be played without trumps).
Each contract bid that is made must be higher than the previous contract bid in either level or suit rank (or both).
A double bid will increase the penalties points that a side scores if the opposition fail to make the contract and increases the opponents score if they make or exceed the contract. Penalties and bonuses are not strictly doubled (i.e. multiplied by 2) as shown in the scores section. You can only double the opponents.
Redouble doubles a double! You can only redouble after a double with no intervening contract bids.
No Bid or Pass
A No Bid (when you Pass) means that you do not wish to make a contract bid or a double/redouble.
The auction starts with the dealer and ends when three successive passes are made after a contract bid or four passes if nobody makes a contract bid on the first round. If the hand is passed out then the cards are collected, shuffled and cut, and passed to the next player to deal. (The program does all this for you.)
The contract that is played is the last contract bid, possibly doubled or redoubled. The contract is played by the member or the winning partnership that first bid the contract suit.
It is usual for partners to bid using a system. In Winning Bridge each partnership can use either the Acol system or the Standard system with some variations. To understand the bidding, and to communicate with your partner, you must understand the system that is used.