Solitaire Bridge

I’ve been flying much more often than usual recently – business trip, etc.  Reminded me that I should write down the rules to solitaire bridge.

There are about 4 or so solitaire games I cycle through when I’m bored and have a deck handy.  Solitaire is great for passing the tedious time spent in airports.  Solitaire bridge happens to be the one I invented.

There are various variations on it, but by far the most common variation I play is “no trump, with partner”.  Simple enough, draw a hand of 13 cards to act as your bridge hand.  Play off the top for each trick with the first trick being led by the player “to your left”.  High card of the suit led wins the trick.  Of course, since your hand is the only one with any control over how it plays, it’s fairly standard to take around “4 NT” (10 tricks).  Partner is as much a wild card as the opponents, though strategically it’s desirable to have partner win tricks and be on the lead to see an opponent’s play before you make your own play.

The scoring system is simple enough with each trick above 6 producing a progressive score:  100 points for 7 tricks, 300 for 8, 600 for 9, 1000 for 10, 1500 for 11, 2100 for 12, and a bonus for a Grand Slam to the nice round number of 3000 points for 13.  Though very rare to get less than 7 tricks, I frequently do -200 points per trick below 7.  I normally play 6 hands in a set to average things out some.

What value over other solitaire is there?  I use casual thought, which is the level I like with solitaire.  I don’t like random solitaire games and I don’t like having to think too hard when I’m just killing time.  However, if I were inclined, I could use this as practice for card counting since that’s what the game is all about.

The strategy is to play as low as possible from suits with as few overcards left in the draw deck as possible.  Since no trump is my norm, having stoppers in every suit (10 or better is pretty good, aces are still great for extra control) is better than wildly unbalanced hands, but one long suit is usually good.  The early game is usually about trying to get rid of low cards.  After a certain point, usually when a suit is gone, I cash winners.  With bad hands, sometimes I cash winners earlier hoping to see a suit get played out.  Underplaying partner is usually a good idea as only one random card can take the trick at that point.

Of course, I’ve played variations with no partner, with a trump suit, with a personal trump suit, and probably others.  I don’t like trump suits as they make things very crazy if impersonal (the suit is trump for everyone) or too easy if personal (only your hand can trump).

Main reason I play this game over others is that it takes up so little space, but it’s also somewhat more thoughtful than some of the others I play.

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One Response to Solitaire Bridge

  1. […] I’ve really become a fan of the philosophy that restrictions breed creativity.  The restriction here was that the airplane tray is small, too small for a number of solitaire games I play or even dealing poker hands.  I needed something that took up a minimal amount of space while doing something new and different, as I wasn’t in the mood for a bunch of solitaire bridge. […]

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