Balanced hand = most common hands that has about the same amount of cards in each suit. Definition of a balanced hand is 2+ cards in all suits, maximum 5 cards in 1 suit and maximum 8 cards in two sutis. These concrete patterns: 4333, 4432, 5332.

~Balanced hand = other patterns that are suitable to play NT if we do not find a fit or if we have honor strength in the short suits: 5422, 4441, 6322, 5431.

Bidding =


Card play =

Cashing winners = playing the cards that cannot be beaten.

Contract = the final bid in the auction that determines the trump suit or "no trumps" and the number of tricks the winning side needs to take in the card play.


Deal = one game of bridge. We often use "board" in competitive bridge because the cards are stored in a special board. 

Declarer = a player of the partnership that won the bidding. The declarer is the one who offered the type of contract first. He plays the cards from his hand and calls the cards his partner should play from the dummy.

Deal balance = determines the combined strength of both partnerships – what level of the contract each partnership can make.

Distribution = how the cards are dealt among the 4 players. We can either talk about the distribution of 4 suits in one player's hand or the distribution of one suit in 4 player's hands.

Dummy = a player of the partnership that won the bidding. Dummy is the partner of the declarer and he is not actively participating in the card play. His partner, the declarer, calls the cards from the dummy's hand placed face up on the table. The expression: "You play from the dummy" means the declarer is supposed to play a card from the table.


Escape bid = a bid that shows a hand that is not suitable for any other descriptive bid. It usually shows a minimum hand or a balanced hand.


Forcing (F!) bid = a bid with no upper limit of honor strength or with a possibility to have the combined strength for a game (25+ HCP, 6.25+ HT). It forces the partner to make one more bid even with a minimum/weak hand.


Game = A contract that is rewarded with a higher bonus. The lowest game contracts are: 3NT, 4♥, 4♠, 5♣, and 5♦. The reward for a game is 300 or 500 depending on the vulnerability.

Game forcing (GF!) = it is a bid that shows enough combined strength for the game. With basic hand evaluation methods, it shows 25+ HCP or 6.25 HT together.  Neither of the partners can pass below a game contract.

Goulash hands = hands with 5+ length tricks, either 8+ cards in one suit or 11+ cards in 2 suits.


Hand evaluation = process of evaluating the strength of your cards.

Hand orientation = determines what contracts are better to play – NT vs. trumps.

Honor (H) = a high card – Ace, King, Queen, or Jack.

Honor Trick (HT) = a card that will very likely win a trick in the card play. We expect the ace and the king to win a trick – we count them as 1 HT. We expect only half of the queens to win a trick – we count them as 0.5 HT. Small cards might win a trick but we count them as Length Tricks.


Invitation to game (INV) = hands with at least 9 HCP opposite a standard opening, usually with 11+ HCP, 2.75 HT. Invitational bids (INV) are not forcing.

Invitation plus (INV+) =  we have a combined strength minimum for 3rd level contracts or 2NT, but we can be stronger and searching for more information. INV+ bids are forcing for at least one round.


Lead (first lead) = the first card played in the card play. The player to the left of the declarer leads the first card.

Length Trick (LT) = a spot (small) card 10, 9, ..., 3, 2 that can win a trick because no higher cards are left in the game.


Major suit = and are called Major suits. If you make the contract with ♥ or ♠ as trumps, you are rewarded by 30 points for each trick. You can get the game bonus already in 4♥/♠ because the reward for the tricks exceed 100 points.

Minor suit = and are called minor suits. If you make the contract with ♣ or ♦ as trumps, you are rewarded by 20 points for each trick. You can get the game bonus in 5♣/♦ because the reward for the tricks reaches 100 points at the 5th level.


Non-forcing bid (NF!) = a bid that can be passed because the strength is limited from the top and we are in the contract that we can play.

Non-forcing weak (≤10) = hands that contains 10 or fewer HCP or less than 2.5 HT. They are not suitable for inviting to game. These bids are not forcing so partner will very often pass them.

NT-oriented hand = max 3 LT, no shortness, honors distributed, we win about the same amount of tricks in all contracts. Mostly 4333, 4432, 5332 patterns, sometimes 5422, 6322 patterns, and special pattern that does not fit anywhere – 4441.


Opening bid = the first bid on any hand, other than a pass. There is only one opening bid in each hand of "Bridge".

Other Major (OM) = this shortcut is used instead of a symbol sign. Capital M represents a Major suit (♥/♠). It means the bid in the other Major suit then we have bid in the actual sequence, i.e., 3OM = 3rd level in ♥ if we bid ♠ before.

Other minor (om) = this shortcut is used instead of a symbol sign. Small "m" represents a minor suit (♣/♦). It means the bid in the other minor suit then we have bid in the actual sequence, i.e., 3om = 3rd level in ♣ if we bid ♦ before.

Overcall = first contract offer (not pass) after the opponent opened the bidding.


Sacrificing an honor = a card play technique: losing your high card to a higher one in the opponent's hand.

Semibalanced hand = hand with 3 length tricks, either 6 card suit or 9 cards in two suits. There is an exception 4441 that does not fit anywhere.

Slam = a contract on 6th level. The declaring side must make 12 tricks. The slam is rewared with a bonus of 750 points if non-vulnerable, or 1,250 points if vulnerable

Slamish (Invitation to slam and better) = bids that promise a combined strength for a slam. They should guarantee at least 28 HCP or 7 HT combined in both hands and they have respective distribution to have a chance of winning 12 tricks. 

Shorter hand = the hand that has fewer cards in the suit of your interest. It is particulary important with you are cashing winners or when you want to ruff your small cards. play the high cards from the shorter hand first.

Shortness (SRT) = low singleton, or void. If we have singleton K or A (sometimes Q) we don't think of it as shortness. 

Spot (small) card = a low-ranking card (10, 9, ..., 2) that is not likely to win a trick in the first 2 rounds of the suit.

Suit = one of the four symbols in a pack of cards: - spades, - hearts, - diamonds, - clubs. In bidding, we rank the suits downward in order: , , , .

Strength range/interval = shows our honor strength in the bidding: weak, below average, average, above average, strong


Theoretical loser (TL) = a missing honor A, K, Q in your 3+ card suit. If you have only 2 cards, you count only A, K. If you have a singleton, you count only 1 TL for an A. We divide theoretical losers as primary TL – missing A, K, and Q if we do not have any honor in the suit, or secondary TL – missing Q if we have Axx, Kxx, AKx

a Trick = one round in the card play where each player plays one card on the table. The 4 cards form a trick. There are 13 tricks in the game of bridge.

Trump =

Trump oriented = (3)4+ Length Tricks, at least one shortness, Honors concentrated in 1-2 suits, we win more tricks if our suit becomes trumps.
Hands with 6+card in one suit or 9+ cards in 2 suits with shortness


Unbalanced hand = hands with 4 length tricks, either 7 cards in one suit or 10 cards in 2 suits. There is an exception 5440 that does not fit anywhere.


Vulnerability = the condition that defines the bonuses and penalties for each partnership. If the pair is non-vulnerable, they have lower penalties for failing the contract, but the reward for making the game is also lower. If the pair is vulnerable, the penalties are higher, but the game reward is also higher. The vulnerability changes according to the number of the deal. The reward for a part score is the same in both vulnerabilities.


a Winner = the highest card in the game left. In the beginning, Ace is a winner and if we have the King and the Queen, they are winners as well. During the game, smaller cards can become winners if all higher cards are already played.