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People have been playing bridge for some time. They enjoy the social part of the game while they participate in a challenging experience. Another popular approach is to play duplicate bridge. Playing duplicate bridge in a club is very similar to the rubber bridge game you play at home. You will find that the skills you learned at home will translate very well into the duplicate game. The rules for bidding and card play are virtually the same and the scoring of the hands is very similar. Some of the differences between duplicate and rubber bridge are highlighted below:

  • Home bridge is played with familiar people in familiar locations, while duplicate bridge is played in a club against new people (at first) in an official game with a director to officiate, and with formal computerized scoring.

  • The local club is one of many clubs across the country, all running bridge games under the governing organization of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). Besides the club games, the ACBL also has local, regional, and national tournaments. The ACBL also has free beginner lesson software on their website at The Lehigh Valley Bridge Association is part of District 4 of the ACBL. The District has more newcomer information here.

  • In duplicate bridge, players use a convention card to communicate the meanings of their bids. At first sight, a convention card is a frightening thing to a new player. But the newcomer need not fear. You are not expected to fill in anything except the black sections, and those are plain vanilla bridge.

  • In Duplicate Bridge, the cards are shuffled only once. They are placed in a plastic or metal "board" and passed from table to table. Each pair plays the same cards- i.e. the hands are "duplicated".

  • Unlike rubber bridge, success does not depend on getting good cards, because your scores are compared only against other players who had the exact same hands on the identical deal.

  • Bid boxes are used. They contain cards with the various bridge bids. Bids are made by playing the bid cards on the table instead of speaking the bid out loud. Rubber bridge players can easily learn the use of bid boxes in a few hands.

  • There’s a small fee to play, usually about $6. The fee is waived, however, for first-time players.

These topics are covered in more detail at, which is a good reference for newcomers to duplicate bridge.

The Lehigh Valley Bridge Association web site shares additional information about our local clubs, locations of games specifically designed for beginners and other duplicate bridge information available in our area. If you have an interest, contact any of our members or clubs. We will be happy to get you involved in a fascinating game experience.

Click here for a link to the Lehigh Valley Bridge Association’s calendar of club games. Games specifically designed for players who are new to duplicate bridge are held the SECOND and FOURTH Wednesdays at 9:00 A.M. and Thursdays at 12:30 P.M. at the Lehigh County Senior Citizens Center. Local bridge lessons are listed on our website here.

(The information on this page is courtesy Chuck Campbell.)