Suits, Cards, Honor Cards and counting points


There are 4 suits in a deck of cards: Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs.  Spades and Hearts are called the Major Suits, while Diamonds and Clubs are called the Minor Suits.  The four suits also have rankings.  The rank order is:

Spades (♠)              Major Suit

Hearts (♥)               Major Suit

Diamonds (♦)         Minor Suit

Clubs(♣)                  Minor Suit

Spades is higher than Hearts, which is higher than Diamonds which in turn is higher than Clubs.  It is important to know the rank of the suits when it comes to bidding.  An easy way to remember the order of the suits is that they are in alphabetic order from bottom to top: Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades.

Certain cards in each suit have specific points.  These points are used in the bidding process to describe your hand to your partner.  There are two types of points in Bridge:  High Card Points and Distribution Points.  Added together, they give the total points in the hand.

High Card Points are given to the 4 high cards in each suit as follows:

Ace                     4 points

King                    3 points

Queen                 2 points

Jack                    1 point

Each suit therefore has 10 high cards points (4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10). Since there are 4 suits, there are a total of 40 high card points in each deck of cards. If the hand has 2 Aces, 3 Kings, and 1 Jack, there is a total of 18 high card points (4 + 4 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 1 = 18). These four cards (Ace, King, Queen, Jack) are also referred to as Honor Cards.

The second type of points in a hand is Distribution Points.  These are points for any suit in which there are FEWER than 3 cards in that suit. The distributions points are:

Doubleton(two cards in a suit)                   1 point

Singleton (one card in a suit)                      2 points

Void (no cards in a suit)                               3 points

The combination of High card and Distribution Points represent the points for that hand.  During the bidding process the players will inform their partner of how many points they have and their best suit.

Are you interested to know more about bridge? Let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


James Frazee

Author, Beginning Bridge by the Numbers


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