Learn to Play Bridge
August 5, 2008 9:10 AM   Subscribe

I want to learn to play the card game bridge. What do metafites think are the best beginner's books providing a general overview of the game and its strategy for a beginners bridge instruction?

I am familiar with this old post but was hoping people could provide me with some recommended books. Also, plan on joining a local beginner's club...
posted by neoist to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's hard to go wrong with Charles Goren.
posted by box at 9:31 AM on August 5, 2008

There are a lot of "classics" out there, but I don't think it's possible to do better than Sheinwold. I don't think there's any better single-book beginners course out there.
posted by The Bellman at 9:32 AM on August 5, 2008

Bridge is a social game. If you want to learn it, go take a class. (That's what I did.)
posted by Class Goat at 9:36 AM on August 5, 2008

Also, box is certainly right that Goren's Contract Bridge for Beginners is a fine book. Watson's The Play of the Hand at Bridge is also great for the often overlooked aspect of actually PLAYING the game (most of these books concentrate on bidding, which is where the action is). And you're going to want Goren's New Bridge Complete if you ever become serious about the game. But you want to start with Sheinwold and spend the Five Weeks he recommends learning how to play. It will serve you incredibly well.
posted by The Bellman at 9:39 AM on August 5, 2008

Friends and I found "Five Weeks to Winning Bridge" a great starter book.
posted by nkknkk at 9:45 AM on August 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think that either Goren or Sheinwold is fine, but I'm glad you're joining a clube as well. As soon as you feel confident enough that you can get through a hand without accidentally setting yourself on fire, play as often as you can! You'll learn exponentially faster than you with a book alone.

Once you've got the basic mechanics down, that's when a book will really help you. If you have experience with other trick-taking games, particularly with ones that involve bidding (Spades, Nap, etc.) you'll get to this point pretty quickly.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:12 AM on August 5, 2008

The books will be more useful once you get a few lessons under your belt. As well as books, you might want to download the bridge software at bridgebase, which has a lesson option that's pretty damned good.

Also, I see you are in Manhattan. Which club are you going to? I play at the Manhattan bridge club on 57th and Broadway and I believe the beginners classes there are good,
posted by gaspode at 10:47 AM on August 5, 2008

argh, bridgebase link.
posted by gaspode at 10:47 AM on August 5, 2008

0. Read all the books.
1. Find a good partner. Someone who you're cool with. This is the hardest part.
2. Play a lot.
3. After you get tired of getting smacked around, develop a bidding system with your partner. There are intermediate and advanced books for this, too.
4. Keep playing, using your new system. You'll get to par with the competition, and you'll probably feel pretty good about playing.

P.S.: Remember, Bridge is a very social game. Don't forget to be nice, be friendly, and meet some cool people along the way.
posted by Citrus at 11:11 AM on August 5, 2008

I would suggest against Goren, as most people in competitive duplicate bridge have moved away from that. The Audrey Grant bridge series is the one generally taught in ACBL(American Contract Bridge League)-oriented courses. I would suggest poking around acbl.org, and seeing what they have to offer. I'm pretty sure I have a couple extra copies of "Bidding," the first Audrey Grant book, lying about. If you're interested, you could memail me and we could see about getting one to you--though if you take a class through a acbl bridge club, you may get a copy of the book anyway.

I agree with gaspode that books are more for advancing your skills than for starting out, and that lessons at a club can really help your game along. It's really good if you can find a better player to play with at club games, or just play games socially or competitively often. Bridge bidding is great to learn in a social situation, especially with more knowledgeable people, because you can almost hand-hold through the bidding, without having to see the person's hand.

Bridgebase is an excellent place to play online.
posted by that girl at 11:15 AM on August 5, 2008

I have a copy of "Bridge for Dummies" you can have. PM me your address if you want it. No obligation, cost. Not saying it's a good book even.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:28 PM on August 5, 2008

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