Bridge Etiquette FAQs

Should I count my cards before looking at my hand?

Yes! Everyone at the table should count their cards face down. Once there is agreement that all players have 13 cards, then you can review your hand.

What can dummy do?

Dummy basically does nothing with this exception. When the declarer shows out of a suit, Dummy can ask partner, for example, “no clubs, partner?”

Also, Dummy cannot reach for or hover over a card before declarer calls for it. This is important because once declarer calls for a card that card must be played. No matter how much you want to help partner play the hand, it’s best that you keep your hands in your lap until partner calls for a card.

What happens if I disagree with the number of tricks taken after the cards have been played?

First, no one should scoop up their cards before there is an agreement about the number of tricks taken

What’s unauthorized information?

Any extraneous information from partner that might suggest a call or play is unauthorized. This includes remarks, questions, replies to questions, unexpected alerts or failures to alert, unmistakable hesitation, unwonted speed, special emphasis, tone, gesture, movement or mannerism. 

Why can’t I reach for the bidding box before I decide what I’m going to bid?

If you reach for the bidding box and put fingers on a bid but then you pass, you may be giving your partner unauthorized information. She may interpret your action as a willingness to bid but you just don’t have quite enough points. Your partner might take that information and use it to determine her next bid. It’s best to decide your bid before you reach for the box. 

Can I really ask the opponents to explain a bid?

Yes, but with a few guidelines. The person making the bid cannot provide its explanation. The player that did not make the bid is the one who answers the question “What does her bid mean?” The opponents can only ask for the explanation of a bid when it is their turn to bid. 

What happens if I answer a question about my partner’s bid incorrectly?

Just continue play. Your partner is not allowed to correct your misinformation because it would be giving you unauthorized information.

When playing North/South do my partner and I have any responsibilities? 

You are the hosts of the table. Welcome your opponents. Make sure you will be playing the correct boards and that they are positioned in the right direction. 

What should I do if an opponent is distracting me?

Call the director. As a matter of courtesy a player should refrain from:

  • paying a lack of attention to the game
  • making gratuitous comments during the auction and play
  • detaching a card before it is his turn to play
  • prolonging play unnecessarily (as in playing on although he knows that all the tricks are surely his) for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent
  • summoning and addressing the Director in a manner discourteous to him or to other contestants.

Here are some examples of behaviors that violates the rules: 

  • indicating approval or disapproval of a call or play
  • indicating the expectation or intention of winning or losing a trick that has not been completed
  • commenting or acting during the auction or play so as to call attention to a significant occurrence, or to the number of tricks still required for success
  • looking intently at any other player during the auction and play
  • looking at another player’s hand for the purpose of seeing his cards
  • showing an obvious lack of further interest in a deal (as by folding one’s cards)
  • varying the normal tempo of bidding or play for the purpose of disconcerting an opponent
  • leaving the table needlessly before the round is called.

What do you do if you or your partner describes her partner’s bid incorrectly?

When the partnership agreement is different from the explanation given, the explanation is an infraction of Law. When this infraction results in damage to the non-offending side, the Director shall award an adjusted score.

If a player becomes aware of his own mistake, he must summon the Director before the opening lead is faced (or during the play, if discovered later), and then provide a correction. The player is also permitted to call the Director before the auction ends, but he is under no obligation to do so (see Law 20F4).

The player’s partner must do nothing to correct the mistaken explanation while the auction continues and if he subsequently becomes a defender, he must call the Director and correct the explanation only after play ends. If the player’s partner is to be declarer or dummy, he must, after the final pass, call the Director and then provide a correction.