The Key Goal of Bridge Etiquette: Make play more equitable & more fun for all
Bridge etiquette is defined as conventional requirements for social behavior at the table. The basic truth is that you simply follow the “rules momma taught you” about courtesy.
What to do Before the Game Begins:
Review your convention card and agreements with partner.
Turn your cell phone off (airplane mode), not just muted.
Be seated where the director indicates.
Review the planned movement and ask the Director if you have questions.
Please be efficient: write your pair number on the scorecard and your opponents’ number by the boards to be played. This gives time to reflect for difficult hands or to be social later.
At the conclusion of the auction:
Please lead before writing on the scorecard. Not doing so is the mark of inexperience.
If you are on lead, lead your card face down, saying: “Any questions?” This is to keep the wrong defender from making the lead and allow partner to ask any questions about the bidding.
If North is on lead, he should lead and enter the contract in the Bridge Mate before writing on his scorecard.
During the Play:
When dummy cards are placed, declarer states: “Thank you, partner” – regardless of value.
Dummy replies: “Good luck, partner.”
Here is a key fact: do not take offense if the Director is called. He is never called “on you” but rather is called “for you & the opponents.” This ensures equity for all. The correct request: “Director, please.”
We make mistakes as we are learning. Every experienced player knows this. The key: remain calm; call the director (who will make a fair ruling) and you will learn.
Actions for which the director should be called:
an error occurs and a resolution is needed
the wrong defender leads, either on opening lead or later
declarer leads from the wrong hand
the wrong person makes the opening bid
a player makes an insufficient bid (not higher than the last bid)
you fail to follow suit when holding a card in the suit lead (= a revoke)
Note: dummy and defenders should check that their partner is not
revoking when he fails to follow a suit for the first time.
Ask: “No clubs, partner?”
If this occurs, call the director.
Always count your hand, cards face down, before you look at it to be certain you hold 13 cards. If you do not, ask for help: “Director, please.”
After you have sorted your cards, count again to be certain no card is hidden.
Be ready to bid and play when it’s your turn and do so in tempo as best possible given your experience.
When you are a new player, indecision may seem paralyzing but develop good habits: do not fiddle with the bidding box while you are thinking about your bid.
At the end of a trick, turn your card over only when you no longer wish to see the opponents’ cards. Once you turn over your card, you may not turn it back or ask opponents to do so. This rule may be relaxed in games for newer players.
Do not play a card without being told.
Align tricks properly to indicate tricks won (vertical) vs lost (horizontal). You are concentrating on fewer issues than declarer and this vigilance helps your partner.
Monitor silently; stop declarer by indicating the dummy hand if declarer is poised to lead from the wrong side.
When declarer calls for “a spade” from dummy, this means the lowest card in the suit is to be played.
If a trick was won in the dummy and 2 kings remain in the dummy, if declarer calls for “the K” this means the K in the suit last played.
Dummy may not call the director during play of the hand; only one of the other players may do so. Once play has ended, dummy may call the director for an observed irregularity.
Concluding the hand:
Before gathering your cards at the conclusion of a hand, check with partner and opponents to agree on tricks taken. If there is disagreement, identify the tricks in dispute and turn over those cards. If there is still no agreement, call the director.
Always reshuffle your cards before returning them to the boards, but do not mix your cards with those of other players.
If you note a discourteous act, you may speak to the director privately later. If significant discourtesy or overt rudeness is noted, raise your hand and state: “Director, please.” Do not attempt to correct such behavior at the table yourself.
Smile at your partner, thank your opponents and wish them good luck.
Finally: be 100% ethical or you won’t enjoy the win.