BRIDGE ETIQUETTE and PROTOCOL
Avoid any behavior that would make anyone (especially beginners) feel uncomfortable.
Table manners, general
Cards should not be taken out of the board before all players are at the table.
Before you look at your cards count your hand and ensure that you have exactly thirteen cards.
Do greet your opponents at the table and treat them with respect and courtesy.
Do not indulge in post-mortems with your partner directly after a hand is finished. (Save it for after the game.) Not only could a post-mortem undermine partnership confidence, but it may communicate information to players who have not played the hand at other tables.
Do not criticize partner. (Keep it to yourself until after the game. You will have cooled down by then.) And you may also have figured out that you share some of the blame.
Do compliment your opponents for fine bidding or play. (Especially beginners)
Do not gloat (It is ugly)! Be modest.
Do say ‘Director Please’ in a pleasant tone. Keep your hand up so that the Director can quickly determine who called.
Do support your partner at all times. She/he is the only player in the room that is on your side!
Bidding boxes are designed to reduce the possibility of information being communicated between partners by voice intonation or other mannerisms such as eye contact. When using a bidding box, decide what your bid is going to be before reaching for or touching cards in the bidding box. An extreme example of this impropriety is when you touch a 2H card and then pull out a pass card.
Do not ask for information from your opponents unless it is your turn to bid.
Do not ask what a bid means unless you are intending to bid. Asking for explanation without bidding could in certain circumstances be construed as passing unauthorized information to one’s partner. If one doesn’t intend to bid, questions of the opponents, should be made after the auction has concluded.
Play of the hand
Do say ‘Thank you’ to your partner when he/she puts the Dummy on the table. (Even though you are thinking to yourself ‘where the heck is the hand my partner was bidding?’)
Do, when you are on opening lead, lead first and then write the contract on your score sheet. When you are on opening lead, detach a card from your hand and lay it face down on the table. This prevents irregularities…such as leading when it is not your turn to do so and allows questions about the auction and any alerts to be answered. All players, except dummy, may now request a review of the auction and an explanation of any alerted calls. You, as the opening leader, may ask for any review of the bidding before you make your first lead. Other players may also ask for a review of the auction at their first opportunity to play.
Do not SNAP your cards down on the table.
Do not detach a card from the hand before it is your turn to play. Do not pull up a card, push it back into your hand, and then pull up another card. Nor should you detach a card and then replace it to play another card.
Never rearrange your hand when you are out of a suit. All of these maneuvers provide additional valuable information to the declarer.
You have the right to inspect the cards that have been played on the current trick as long as your card remains face up. Once all cards have been turned over (face down) no one can ask to see the cards that were played.
At the end of a hand ensure that you do not mix up your cards until the result is agreed with the opponents.
North, when scoring the traveler, must present it to East West for their acceptance prior to folding and returning it to the board. The same applies when entering the result into Bridgemates.
Do not look at your opponent’s or partner’s cards after the hand has been played without their permission.
Do not call declarer’s attention to anything except that he is about to lead from the wrong hand or to ask if he is out of the suit being played.
Do not play or touch any card in dummy (even a singleton) until declarer calls the card. If declarer designates a suit, but not the rank, he is deemed to have called for the lowest card of the suit indicated. If declarer designates a rank but not a suit, he is deemed to be continuing the suit in which dummy won the last trick. Otherwise, be silent during the play.
Do not call the Director.
PRINCIPLE OF FULL DISCLOSURE
Winners should be determined solely by skill, flair and normal playing luck. Partnerships must ensure their opponents are fully informed.
Let’s take a look at “weak two” bids from the point of view of full disclosure. When an established partnership opens a weak two bid, they have a great deal of information of which their opponents are not aware. The convention card discloses the point range, but little else. However, the partners are aware of the range of hands on which the bid can be made (discipline? suit quality requirements? five- or-seven card suits allowed? side four-card major ok? void ok? positional variations? Etc.). Full disclosure requires that all these inferences, restrictions and tendencies be made known to any opponent who inquires.
If you are interested in knowing these things about your opponent’s bid, merely say to the bidder’s partner, “Would you tell me more about your style?” You may use the style inquiry to ask about any bid your opponent makes.
New players or infrequent partnerships usually will not have understandings about the items discussed here and, of course, it will be perfectly proper for them to reply “We have no agreement.”
When misinformation is given, such as a failure to alert or a mistaken alert, the player whose partner misinformed the opponents is LEGALLY obliged to correct information at the end of the auction if his side is the declaring side or at the end of the play if his side is defending.
It is the policy of the ACBL Unit 531 clubs to provide a pleasant environment where bridge can be played. The following are examples of potential sources of offending scents:
- Perfumes and Colognes
- Tobacco Smoke
- Other heavy scents/odors
If any player experiences a problem with a scent in the game, they should call the Director. It will be up to the game Director to determine the source of the problem. If the source is another player, the Director will inform the player they are in breach of this policy. The offending player will be put on notice that they must remedy the problem to be able to continue play, or if the scent is so egregious, they must remove themselves from the facility immediately.
Bridge is a timed event
Bridge is a fun pastime, but it’s a lot less fun if you have to wait behind a slow pair every round. To encourage players to finish rounds in the allotted time, ACBL Unit 534 clubs have adopted the following Slow Play Policy:
- 7 minutes are allowed to play a hand, somewhat more in limited games.
- It’s rude to make everyone else wait for you, so try to keep up.
- If you get behind, even if it’s not your fault, please do your best to catch up.
- The directors will announce when there is four minutes left in the current round.
- If you have not started bidding your last board when the four-minute warning is announced, you will have to take a NO-PLAY. That is not a penalty – it’s equivalent to a 1 board sit-out! The rationale behind this is that nobody can realistically expect to bid and play a board in less than four minutes, so if they start after that they will be late finishing.
- The first time you are two minutes late finishing a round, the director will visit your table and give you a Slow Play Warning.
- The next time either pair who received the Slow Play Warning is two minutes late finishing a subsequent round, the director is authorized to issue a Slow Play Penalty equal to ¼ of a board.
- Note that ¼ of a board is generally equal to the number of tables in play minus 1 divided by 4. So if there are 25 tables in play, the penalty will be 6 match points.
- Penalties double after that.
What can you do to speed up play?
Experienced players should not regularly require more than 7 minutes to bid and play a hand. Sure, some hands are harder than others, but they should not be regular.
Adopting the following habits can speed up your play a minute or more per hand:
- Make your opening lead face down before you write down the contract or enter the contract in the Bridgemates.
- Claim if you can.
- Save the post-mortems for after the game.
- Don’t visit the snack bar if you are behind!
- Keep your head in the game while the auction is proceeding.
- Don’t start thinking about your opening lead after the auction ends.
Bridge is a great game, but it brings out the worst behavior in some people. To counter this ACBL Unit 534 clubs have adopted a Zero Tolerance policy that governs behavior at the table. It specifies what is not allowed, and specifies penalties for violating the policy.
- Being a good host at the table
- Greeting others in a friendly manner
- Praising the bidding and/or play of the opponents
- Having two filled out convention cards
Behaviors that will not be allowed
- Badgering, rudeness, insinuation, intimidation, profanity, threats, or violence
- Negative comments regarding the opponent’s or partner’s bidding or play
- Constant gratuitous lessons at the table
- Loud and disruptive arguments with the director, opponents, or partner
Price of zero tolerance violations
- The first violation will result in a warning.
- The second violation will exact a ¼ board or 3 Imp penalty.
- The penalty doubles for each subsequent violation.
- If the behavior does not stop, the offender will be asked to leave the game.
- In extreme cases, the individual can be barred from playing at the club where the violations occurred.