Remember when you played bridge for fun?
Time for some party bridge!
By Alex J. Coyne © Gifts for Card Players
The game of bridge has always been a social one, and the same is true for most card games. If you’ve ever attended a bridge party at a house or club and loved it, why not consider calling up some of the other bridge players in your neighborhood and arranging your own? We took a look at party bridge and how to put together your own game from home – start by taking a look at Jude Goodwin’s tips on what to feed people at a card party
How is it different?
The rules for games played at home (or a small club) for a bridge party are often a little different than the rules you might be used to for playing contract bridge. Why? Because home-games are often forced to be a little more fast-paced than regular bridge games, the most popular plays for party bridge include Rubber Bridge and Chicago – which is also referred to as Four-Deal Bridge or, for obvious reasons, Club Bridge. The rules for both Rubber and Chicago can be found on the very excellent card games site PAGAT.COM
And remember – Party Bridge is supposed to be fun!
Stocking your game-room
Set up a decent-sized and well-lit area to be your play area. “Party Bridge: Contract Bridge in the Home or Club” by Marvin L. French recommends at the very least that you have decent card tables, comfortable chairs, two packs of decent cards per table, several score pads and pencils per table. Some of you might be able to get your hands on bidding boxes – my parents, in their senior years, loved using bidding boxes so I gifted them a set one Christmas. So much easier to remember what the bidding is when it’s lying there on the table, no?
If you’re interested in playing a game where everyone moves around and plays everyone else, consider using Bridge Tallies. These amazing little score sheets are perfect because they tell people where to move on each round. Each Tally is specific to an individual or couple who is playing as Player or Couple #1, or #2, or #3 etc. The Tally clearly shows the Player (or couple) with whom they will be playing in each round and at what Table #. Find out more about bridge tallies and how they work over here, or download one of several available versions from Bridge Hands that you can print out before your game.
How do you plan to let people know about your game? Obviously, the simplest would be to call up the bridge players you know and invite them – but those who aren’t too familiar with the bridge players in their area might want to advertise a little bit further. First you could check with your local bridge club to see if there’s any kind of ‘social group’ of players who like to play home bridge or party bridge. Or better yet, ask the club owner if they’d be interested in having a party bridge night at their club!
Many people like to use online tools for setting up social events like a bridge party. If you are planning to set up a Facebook Event, be sure to make it PRIVATE! What would you do if you accidentally invited 21, 000 people and they all showed up for a game? Yes, things like that have happened. Best to create a private event and then invite bridge players you know from your friends list. Or invite one bridge player you know and ask them to invite their bridge playing friends and so on.
Making things interesting
Put an interesting party-twist on the game everyone thinks they know. LaJolla Bridge suggests that you add prizes at the end of the night for the player or couple with the highest score – or even prizes for the best-performing players, or even tables, between rounds. You can also change the rules around – making aces low instead of high, turning twos into wildcards or switching the whole round of play counterclockwise. Or, if you really want to change things around, run an Individual where players change partners around during games.
The Beer Card
This is a fun rule that should be included in every game of Party Bridge. The Beer Card is the Seven of Diamonds. It is not part of the official rules of Bridge, but there is a tradition among some players that if the declarer succeeds in making the contract and wins the last trick with the Seven of Diamonds, dummy must buy the declarer a beer of the declarer’s choice. In the same way, if the opponents defeat the contract and one of them wins the last trick with the Seven of Diamonds, the opponent who wins the last trick is bought a beer by the other opponent. Read more about the Beer Card here
Why not take your bridge party a little further and turn it into a full-on casino party from home? Yes, there are companies that offer to bring a casino – including expert croupiers – to your home or event; if that’s out of your budget, why not set up your PC in the corner on slots, set up a couple of card tables and invest in a decent roulette wheel for the kitchen?
What is your favourite Party Bridge game or story? Post a comment on our FACEBOOK page.