Learning card game bridge
April 27, 2005 8:14 AM   Subscribe

I would like to learn to play the card game bridge. What is the best website or software providing, preferably a free, interactive beginners bridge instruction. Thanks.
posted by rabbus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Watch me ignore the "interactive" part of your question...

When I was learning the game, I found Karen's Bridge Library a helpful web site. Not only does it feature lots of great articles, it also provides links to various pieces of software, one of which may be right for you.

It's worth a look, eh?
posted by jdroth at 8:23 AM on April 27, 2005

And now I'll ignore the "website or software" part...

The best way to learn how to play is to play with other people. You might try to find a bridge club in your area with a beginner's night.
posted by amarynth at 8:33 AM on April 27, 2005

I had a decent time learning to play on Yahoo!, although I'm by no means as versed in bidding as I'd like to be (and I'm certain that playing with real people would help that a great deal). I also enjoyed 3D Bridge Deluxe before the demo expired, but not enough to actually want to buy it.
posted by togdon at 9:02 AM on April 27, 2005

I agree that I think you need real people. The problem with bidding especially is that there are lots of sets of bidding guidelines, some of which are contradictory. Each set of guidelines is like a language unto itself, and something that means "go to slam" in one convention may mean "I've got a bust hand" in another.

I haven't played bridge in several years. I think it is perhaps the greatest card game, involving the bluffing skills of poker, the ability to work with a teammate, the strategy of chess and the tactical skills of.... well, um... and tactical skills.
posted by Doohickie at 10:09 AM on April 27, 2005

And card counting. You need to be able to keep track of everything that's been played.
posted by Doohickie at 10:10 AM on April 27, 2005

Try here.

Unless you know three other people who want to learn bridge, you will be happier if you first read a book or get some software to learn the basics of the game. When you've done that, you can go to yahoo games or another game site (I used to play here on occasion) and start to improve your skills.

Ultimately, you learn more from playing with others, but if you know little or nothing, it can be extremely intimidating to get started. Get a grip of the basics and then try some online playing with other beginners, and you'll be on your way.
posted by anapestic at 10:19 AM on April 27, 2005

I used to teach bridge, and I will agree that it's much much easier to learn with other people. That way, you can learn tactics and "table skills" along with learning the actual rules. Are you near a club? They usually offer beginners lessons a few times a year.
posted by gaspode at 10:56 AM on April 27, 2005 [1 favorite]

YMMV, but while bridge lessons, in a group, is a good way to learn the game, actually playing a lot with beginners may not be. For one thing, bridge is a partnership game (both during bidding and, for two of the four players, during the play of the cards). If you have a clueless partner, you're not necessarily going to develop good skills (at least very quickly).

And, to follow the lead in being slightly off-topic, another alternative (interactive, inexpensive but not free, not software or web) is Autobridge. (Used versions available on eBay; no particular reason to pay more for older "classic" versions.)

The challenge with bridge is that there is a lot of information to learn (bidding, declarer play, defense) at at least a minimal level before the game (typically) starts to be fun. So if after you start, you think you'd enjoy it, do stick with it for a bit.
posted by WestCoaster at 2:43 PM on April 27, 2005

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