Everyone thinks that bridge is a difficult card game. Because of all the different conventions most players are scared off from learning. For example, an opening bid of 1 heart means you have 5 hearts in your hand and at least 13 points. An opening bid of 1 clubs indicates that you do not have 5 hearts or 5 spades in your hand, at least 13 points and more clubs than diamonds. Each bid has a meaning and that is what causes bridge to “appear” difficult. But the use of specific conventions is the core of the game. Conventions are guidelines to use, not rules. The two conventions I listed above are conventions that I use in my teaching. They may not be the way more seasoned players play but rules make it easier for beginners.
I have learned through teaching that it is best to set strict rules for beginning players. For example, I teach that you need 13 points for an opening bid, whereas with seasoned players they may open with 11 or 12 points, depending on what cards they hold. That doesn’t work with beginners. Give them specific rules to follow until they are comfortable with the game. My beginning class meets once a week for 2 hours. After about 9 months they are comfortable with the game and the conventions. In all they learn 60-70 conventions in the beginner phase.
Most card players who play some type of card game, play as individuals. One of the difficult habits to overcome when playing bridge is to realize that you have a partner and you must work together. I have found that to be the most difficult factors for players to overcome. Some get it right away will others take a longer period of time.
A couple of things I have learned and hold firm with my class: 1) it is not a social gathering, you are there to play bridge; 2) they must have played some type of card game before so they know the 4 suits and what a deck of cards look like; 3) they must be able to commit to a minimum of 3 classes a month; and 4) enjoy themselves.
Author, Beginning Bridge by the Numbers