Overview: Games, Rubbers, and the Line
A discrete session of Pirate Bridge (like Auction and Contract), what in most games you would refer to as “a single game”, is called a rubber. Points in Bridge are divided into above the line, which you can think of as “bonus” points, and below the line, which you can think of as “game” points, because they determine when the rubber ends.
What is called a “game” in Bridge is short, sometimes just one hand. Multiple “games” together form the rubber.
Many accomplishments in Bridge earn you points above the line (bonus points), but only a specific sort, taking tricks as part of a contract, earns you points below the line (game points).
When a player has scored enough points below the line (30, in Pirate Bridge), the player is said to have won a game, but the rubber continues. Anyone else who had points below the line gets to add those points to their grand total for the rubber, but for the purposes of winning the next game within the rubber, everyone starts over at zero.
When one player has won two games, the player is said to have “won the rubber” and gets additional bonus points for doing so, and the rubber is over. The term “won the rubber” is misleading, though. Someone else may actually have more points, since they might have many points above the line without ever winning a single game. It might be better said that the player who wins two games receives bonus points for ending the rubber, but the player with the most points in all (above as well as below the line) is the real winner.
This all sounds very complicated, so we provide an example of a scored rubber.
Points for tricks as part of the contract are scored below the line (counting towards a game) only for the Declarer. They are scored above the line (as bonus points) for the Acceptor.
“Book” refers to six tricks. Since there are 13 tricks in all, to have a majority of them you need seven, so six is “book” and having seven, the lowest possible bid, is one over book. So for example, on the table below, if the contractors had Hearts as trump and took eight tricks in all, that’s two above book, so they get 2 x 8 = 16 points. The Declarer scores them below the line (towards winning a game) and the Acceptor scores them above the line (as bonus).
|Points for Tricks in Contract Suit||Undoubled||Doubled||Redoubled|
|Each trick above book taken by contractors with Clubs as trump||6||12||24|
|… with Diamonds as trump||7||14||28|
|… with Hearts as trump||8||16||32|
|… with Spades as trump||9||18||36|
|… in a No-Trump contract||10||20||40|
|Each trick beyond book forced on defenders by contractors in a Nullo contract||10||20||40|
When one player has scored 30 or more points below the line (from tricks taken in contracts when that player was Declarer), that player has won a game. Other players keep any points they have scored below the line towards their total for the rubber, but everyone draws a line under that game to represent starting over with zero points toward the next game.
Bonus points for winning a game, a rubber, or a slam are all scored above the line, and are not affected by whether the contract for the hand in question was doubled or redoubled. They are:
|Game, Rubber, and Slam Points||Unaffected by (re)doubling|
|Winning a game||50|
|Being the dummy/acceptor on the hand that wins a game for another player||50|
|Winning their second game and thus ending the rubber||50*|
|Taking exactly twelve tricks (small slam)||50**|
|Taking all thirteen tricks (grand slam)||100**|
*In addition to the 50 for winning the second game itself.
**Scored by both partners, even if they were the defenders. Also, the small slam bonus is scored by both partners even if their contract was for all thirteen tricks.
Bonuses for doubled contracts, overtricks, and undertricks are scored above the line, and are affected by (re)doubling. They are:
|Doubling bonuses, overtricks, and undertricks
|Making a contract that was doubled or redoubled||—||50||100|
|Each overtrick taken on a contract that was doubled or redoubled||—||50||100|
|Scored by defenders for every undertrick on a contract which was set||50||100||200|
Honor Points (Optional)
Traditionally in Bridge one can score points simply for holding some or all of the honors in the trump suit (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten; or the Aces, if no-trump) at the beginning of the hand.
Since this is a matter of luck and not skill, honor points are frowned upon by some players. Therefore they should be considered optional.
If honor points are scored, they are scored above the line, and are unaffected by (re)doubling, and the points scored are based on the values of the trump suit. For example, if Hearts are trump, and the partners hold three honors between them, then the partners score 16 points (the value of two Heart tricks) above the line.
|Three honors in a trump suit, both partners’ hands together||Two tricks|
|Four honors in a trump suit, both partners’ hands together||Four tricks|
|Five honors in a trump suit, both partners’ hands together||Five tricks|
|Four honors in a trump suit in one partner’s hand||Eight tricks|
|Four honors in a trump suit in one hand, the fifth in the other||Nine tricks|
|All five honors in a trump suit in one hand||Ten tricks|
|Three aces at no-trump, both partners’ hands together||Three tricks = 30|
|Four aces at no-trump, both partners’ hands together||Four tricks = 40|
|Four aces at no-trump in one hand||Ten tricks = 100|