Jul 3

Defense in Bridge is typically thought of as an intermediate topic, though it is very interesting and useful to understand the basics even if you are a beginner.  Eventually, after you learn the basics of bridge, you will want to know everything you can about this topic.  I have wrote this article to talk about the major books on bridge defense.  Please note that buying products through links below will earn me a commission.  I try to provide honest and reliable reviews regardless of any commission I may make.

Introduction to Defender’s Play by Edwin B. Kantar –  This is the first book anyone should read on bridge defense.  It covers the very basics of what to lead and what to play.

Eddie Kantar Teaches Modern Bridge Defense and its companion Eddie Kantar Teaches Advanced Bridge Defense.  This is probably the standard book to learn bridge defense nowadays.  This covers all the aspects of defense simply, though if you haven’t read Introduction to Defender’s Play, you probably won’t understand a lot of it.  These books won American Bridge Teachers’ Association Book of the Year Award for “Basic Book” and “Advanced Book” for 1999.

How to Defend a Bridge Hand by William S. Root – This is an excellent book going over all aspects of bridge defense.  It is very thick and with lots of exercises for all topics.  This is much more of a workbook and in-depth study book while I find Eddie Kantar’s books teaching the concepts with small exercises.  William Root’s book can be very in-depth with its exercises and variations.  This book won American Bridge Teachers’ Association Book of the Year Award for 1994.

Defensive Bridge Play Complete by Edwin B. Kantar – This book is put here for a more complete view of bridge defense books.  It is out-of-print and other of the books might cover topics better, but before those books this was the book to go for learning bridge defense.  Edwin B. Kantar is in the American Contract Bridge League Hall of Fame, and it wouldn’t hurt to get all of his books.  That’s how I see it.  This book is also mentioned in William S. Root’s other book How to Play a Bridge Hand.  Omar Sharif in the introduction names it as one of the best bridge books ever written.

I hope that this gives you a wide and helpful view of the books on bridge defense.  If you are just starting out, all you’ll need is Introduction to Defender’s Play, but the others will be necessary once you get past the basics.

Nov 21

Before I get started, I must say that these books are not really suited for the beginner.  One of them can be used to learn bridge, but a newer, clearer, and more conversationsal book would be a better fit.  There is a reason these books are for a serious bridge player, and not a beginner.  A beginning bridge player will find a lot of information over their head, but still… it is good to have these books as a resource if you discover bridge to be a compelling game for you.  These are the three books to sit on any serious bridge player’s bookshelf for the rest of their life.

Please note that buying products through links below will earn me a commission.  I try to provide honest and reliable reviews regardless of any commission I may make.

Contract Bridge for Beginners – A book for beginners to teach them how to play bridge for the very first time.  There are pros and cons.  Pro: clear description of how to play in relatively little number of pages. Cons: old bidding system not used anymore. Also a person would have to translate very dry reading into clear ideas.

The Play of the Hand at Bridge – according to Amazon reviews, this is a book for every serious bridge player’s bookshelf, and a favorable position at that.  It goes over a great discussion of playing the cards to maximum effect.

Goren’s New Bridge Complete – This is called the bible of bridge.  It is written by a multiple national champion of bridge, and covers every aspect of bridge in detail.  Although it is more of an encyclopedia book, and not a course, it serves a great purpose as a book and resource.

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Oct 31

Bridge books, like books in many other card and board games, are very strange things.  Looking at them from a beginner standpoint, they make little if any sense.  There are many titles with concepts beginners have little or no knowledge about.

A beginner will wonder what words like conventions, declarer play, defense mean, and why they all need a whole book to explain them.  For them the reality seems there really is no clear candidate book for them.  Below, however, are the best books for beginners I have found.

Please note that buying products through links below will earn me a commission.  I try to provide honest and reliable reviews regardless of any commission I may make.

There are a few kinds of beginner books.  There are ones that say “idiot” or “dummy” but are actually very good at teaching a subject, even to people that aren’t beginners.  Some books are out-of-print, even though they are classics!  Others are standard books recommended throughout the years, and for that reason never seem to be updated.  “If it’s not broke don’t fix it!”

The main thing in picking a beginner book is to pick one that speaks to you.  If you can preview the actual contents, like you can sometimes at Amazon or from a local library, you can see if you like the content and writing style and see if it’s the right book for you.  Also, check the credentials of the author.  Being an expert doesn’t make you an expert teacher, but it does help knowing your teacher really knows his stuff.

My best advice is to buy 2 or 3 highly rated beginner books and look between them if one or the other doesn’t make sense.  Have fun learning with friends as well!

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Jan 30

While searching online for playing cards, I came across some very good playing cards and accessories.  Some people like Bicycle cards the best, some people like plastic cards.  There are boxes and cases for cards.  There are also special card designs including collector’s editions.

I personally think a great set up is a wooden box with two decks of straight Bicycle standard playing cards, one red and one blue.  This is the most versatile setup.  Red and blue decks are needed to have one deck shuffled while the other is being dealt and easily separate them when they get mixed together.  You can play any game you want, rather than be stuck with a certain game, like euchre, pinochle, or bridge card decks.  Plastic cards are very expensive relatively.  I think the idea of cards should be generic and universal, and there is not anything more universal than a standard deck of Bicycle playing cards.

To be a bit more luxurious, you could buy a two deck set of Congress playing cards.  They’ve been around since 1881 and are well-respected.  It even comes in its own box lined in velour, a velveteen-like fabric.

Also something worth the look is a designer bridge pad.  I recommend a Congress score pad in your favorite color, my choice is blue.

There are other very interesting Bicycle card decks. The Prestige style of Bicycle card decks, which are slightly cheaper at Amazon: Red Blue The 125th Anniversary Commemorative cards are nice as well.  The limited edition #1 and #2 or the Silver are all very nice cards, but designer backs like these are almost never in red and blue.

Please note: Some items bought through these links will give me a small commission.  I try to provide honest and thorough reviews regardless of any commission I may make.

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Dec 6

It is very interesting, the bridge courses you can find online.  Even though it takes a lot of time to uncover the best ones, it was definitely worth the trouble.  They are excellent.  The quality of the courses are so good, you may not even need a beginner bridge book.

Bridge World – Introduction to Bridge – A very interesting course.  It is from *the* bridge magazine.   Although it is an introduction only, since it is from a very reputable sources, it has a level of authority on the matter.

For Bridge Players – Bridge Basics – Another interesting find.  It seems this is a series of lessons for bridge, put up for anyone to find and use.  Especially good in this one is that there are questions and quizzes at the end of each page.

Contract Bridge Course with Michael Furstner – I have saved the best for last.  If you are going to use only one online bridge class, this is the one.  This is a very extensive 24 lesson source that covers the entire gamut of bridge, including the different systems and types of bridge.

From this series you can see there is plenty of resources out there for people looking to play bridge.

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Nov 28

Please note that buying products through links below may earn me a commission.  I try to provide honest and reliable reviews regardless of any commission I may make.

This is a fun review to me.  As I have thought of making my own ebook and selling things online, it is kind of fun to critique other people’s ebooks.  I should mention though that real books are usually cheaper than ebooks.  A used copy of Bridge For Dummies is relatively cheap and an out-of-print classic like 5 Weeks To Winning Bridge is as low as a penny plus shipping. eBooks can have their place, however,  especially if you can’t buy them offline and here are a few on bridge I’ve found.

Bridge for Winners – This ebook looks very interesting.  It is marketed very well for an ebook, but the list of things it says is in the book seems very lacking to me.  It seems to cover the very, very basics of bridge like the difference between party bridge and duplicate bridge.  The list of items it teaches is just enough to play the game of bridge.  I admit I haven’t read it, but considering it’s $30, I couldn’t bring myself to buy it.  One of the books I’ve listed in my blog post is, I think, way better information.

Want to Play Bridge – I find this website strange.  It ranks high when you search for “learn bridge” but looks old and I have suspicions that no one has bought this book in years.  It also seems like Bridge for Winners in that it lists only the basics of bridge.  Unfortunately these two ebooks only seem to worry about teaching the very basics and only in a text format.

Dan Berkeley’s Bridge Lessons – This is the best of all of these.  The sample that is available on the website is very good quality.  The thing I worry about is that the website looks old.  So maybe he’ll respond to his email, maybe not?  Who can tell?  But if I wanted to spend the $20 on an ebook, I’d go with this guy.  In some ways it’d be better to buy a regular book, but this is the best bridge ebook I’ve seen.

As you can see, there is a few ebooks out there on learning bridge, and you can buy them if you like owning ebooks, especially if it’s on bridge.  I’d rather get a real book, but if I had an extra $20, I’d get Dan Berkeley’s lessons.  They sound great.

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Nov 14

People starting out playing bridge may not know the places to play online or the best ones.  Even experienced players may not have thought hard to realize the best place to play for their skill level and enthusiasm.  This article is meant to make clear the differences and benefits of each place to play online.  Mostly though, to learn and get better at bridge almost requires you to play often online, unless you play often with friends.  Even then, abilites improve greatly by playing against many different people.

Yahoo! Games Bridge – Yahoo! Games is my personal favorite place to play games online.  It is best for general game playing for most card and board games.  Once you get advanced enough in your game, you may want to play on a site dedicated to your game with more advanced features, players, and settings.  Yahoo! Games Bridge is good for beginners or social players that want to dabble in bridge or only play for fun.

Pogo Bridge is the same as Yahoo! Games with only a few differences.  There are slightly more and better players.  There are many more advertisements.  All other aspects are the same.  I personally think Yahoo! Games display is more intuitive.

Bridge Base Online is another free service, but is dedicated to bridge alone.  This means advanced and serious players frequent the site often –  many of them, and from around the world, not just local to the US, like the first two I mentioned.  More avanced controls and display is featured, and a very large discussion forum as well.

OKBridge is for bridge players looking for a premium experience.  It is $99/yr and has a 7-day trial.  For the price, you get an quality interface superior to the others, bridge articles, and dedicated moderators.

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Nov 8


Although programs I talked about in an earlier article are generally expensive, there are free bridge programs to be found online.  One of them is even a computer bridge world champion.

Starting with the simplest first, Quick Bridge is a good game if you just want to play bridge against the computer in a quick game.  It is very easy to install and set up. This could be an excellent program for someone learning the game but not ready to play against read people yet.

Also good for learning is another great program called Easy Bridge.  Easy Bridge not only plays against you, but can give hints and tips for what would be best to play in a situation.  Excellent free tool for a beginner.

WBridge5 is a former computer bridge world champion for years 2005, 2007, and 2008.  Even though the web page is in French, the program is in English or French.

There are a couple of free programs for learning bridge as well.  Learn How to Play Bridge I and II are a couple great lessons for teaching beginners how to play the game of bridge.  It is like a few small lessons running on your computer.

Blue Chip MiniBridge is a software program made to teach a beginner the game of MiniBridge.  MiniBridge is a simplified version of bridge created to ease beginners into the whole game of bridge.  Using this software, you can go from not knowing much to knowing MiniBridge.

With all these programs you can go from not knowing anything, to knowing how to play bridge.  More advanced users can play the computer opponents and gain insights into the games.


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Oct 27

 Computer Bridge Programs come in different kinds.  There are Internet play, computer opponents, and analysis of different hands.  The software we are looking at today are main software programs for bridge education: Jack 5.0, Bridge Baron 21, and a website based program called Bridge Doctor.

Name with link to official website and World Computer Bridge Champion years below.

Jack 5.0  2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010

Bridge Baron 21  1997 

Bridge Doctor  

Bridge Doctor is a tutoring software and is different from the rest.  Jack 5.0 and Bridge Baron allow play against the computer and hand analysis.  Jack 5.0 is a newer, more up-to-date, as well as stronger, computer program.  Most people prefer Jack 5.0 over Bridge Baron 21.  This information is based on average online review scores and product descriptions, you can check the online stores and the website themselves to see for yourself. Below are Amazon.com links you can use to check user reviews of Jack 5.0 versus Bridge Baron 21.

Please note that if you buy any products through the links below I will earn a commission.  I try to provide honest and reliable reviews regardless of any commission I may make.

Amazon.com: Jack 5.0 Bridge Baron 21

Demos of these software are here: Jack 4.0 Demo Bridge Baron 21 Trial

The demo software are free to download and no commitment is required.  They are given so people can try out the product and are limited to only a few hands.  You can try out the program functions and get a feel for the program with these demos.

Use of software to analyze hands is very useful to see deficits in a person’s game and from that how to improve.

Jack 5.0 is the current and recent World Computer Bridge Champion.  For some reason, it is harder to find to buy, but where you can buy it is explained on its website.

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Oct 13

Searching YouTube for Bridge videos, I found some interesting ones.

“What is Bridge?”

“Bridge Gamers”

“Bill Gates Encourages Young People to Play Bridge”

While looking, I found something amazing.  There are three free bridge courses online.  You should look at them, because it won’t cost you anything to try them out.

Bridge Union has bridge lessons by a Russian named Bridget.  Bridge Union is a site that tries to get new people to play bridge and players to connect with each other.  Her bridge course is only one aspect of her site.

iBridgePlayer also has bridge lessons.  The first lesson is about available resources for bridge players.  Note, though, it is aimed at European players and the books he recommends are for a bidding system used in Europe.  Later lessons teach you to play bridge by learning MiniBridge, which Bridget does as well.  His YouTube channel has more good bridge videos.

Shafik Ismail has bridge lessons as well.  He is an experienced bridge player who teaches bridge basics and techniques in his videos.

Although I have spent this time talking about free bridge courses online there may be a point when getting a bridge teacher or buying software and books will help you more than these lessons.  Information in a book can be more sophistocated and exhaustive.  Owning your own book or software can be very rewarding.

Hopefully you find these courses helpful to your bridge.

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