Rules of 15 and 17

All bridge played follows the rules of Contract Bridge, sometimes just called bridge. Once bridge became a popular game, players have been trying to come up with ways to improve their bidding and playing the hand. Some have work, and some have not.  The Rule of 15 and Rule of 17 are two of these new conventions that many players use.

Rule of 15

  • The Rule of 15 is not a mathematical calculation, but just a rule to determine if the 4th hand should open or not.
  • This rule helps the fourth seat, following three consecutive passes, to better determine whether or not they should open the bidding.
  • The fourth seat adds the number of high card points to the number of spade he holds. If the total equals 15 or more he might consider bidding or pass.

Rule of 17

  • The rule of 17 is used when the opening bid is a Weak Two.
  • The responder adds the number of high points (A, K , Q or J) to the number of trump cards; trump being the suit indicated by opening.
  • If the total is at least 17 or higher, the responder should bid game in the suit of the opener


James Frazee

Author, Beginning Bridge by the Numbers


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