Pirate Bridge: Playing the Hand

In standard Bridge, the hand opens as follows:

  1. The defender to Declarer’s left leads the opening trick.
  2. The dummy hand is exposed, and Declarer orders a card from it.
  3. The defender to dummy’s left plays to the trick.
  4. The declarer concludes the trick.

The order is different in Pirate Bridge when the Acceptor is to Declarer’s left or right, rather than across from Declarer.

The rules are:

  1. The hands always play in order around the table — even if that means that each partnership plays its cards back-to-back.
  2. The first defender who is clockwise from the Declarer leads to the opening trick.  That will either be the player immediately to the Declarer’s left, or if the Acceptor is to Declarer’s left, then it is the player across from the Declarer.
  3. As soon as the first defender leads to the opening trick, the Acceptor exposes the dummy hand, even if it is not the next hand to actually play.

Examples of consecutive partner scenarios

In our example table, if Alan is Declarer and Connor Acceptor, the first trick plays as follows:

  1. Gracie (first defender from Alan) makes the opening lead.
  2. Connor exposes the dummy hand, but Alan does not order a card from it yet.
  3. Mike plays.
  4. Alan plays from his own hand.
  5. Alan orders a play from the dummy hand.  The trick is over.

If Alan is Declarer and Mike Acceptor, the order is:

  1. Connor (first defender from Alan) makes the opening lead.
  2. Mike exposes the dummy hand, but Alan does not order a card from it yet.
  3. Gracie plays.
  4. Alan orders a play from the dummy hand.
  5. Alan plays from his own hand.  The trick is over.

You can see that having the Acceptor to the right of the Declarer means the Declarer has the most information possible for playing well on the first trick (since the defenders both have to play first), so it can be advantageous, particularly in No-Trump where having the lead is important, or in slam-level contracts where every trick is precious.

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