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How to score at bridge

Learning to score will make you a better bridge player. You'll bid better, you'll play better. And you'll know how to score. Let's do this!

The score for making a contract in bridge is made up of two parts:
  • points for tricks bid and won
  • bonus depending bid depending on whether you are in a partscore, game or slam
For defeated contracts:
  • the number of tricks declarer is short by determines the score.

Making Contracts

The lowest bid a player can make, and therefore the lowest possible contract, is 1♣. But for any contract the declarer is expected to win the number of tricks bid plus another 6. Those extra 6 tricks are called the 'book'.

If the contract is 1♣ the declarer must make 1 trick + 6 tricks for the book which equals 7 tricks. If the contract is 7NT the declarer must make 7 tricks + 6 tricks for the book which equals 13 tricks.

Step 1 - Trick Value

Declarer scores points for the tricks made after the book and the points won depends on what suit was trumps.

Trick Points
♣, (minors)20 points per trick
, ♠ (majors)30 points per trick
Notrumps40 points for the first trick, 30 points for subsequent tricks

Let's say the contract was 4♠ and declarer made 10 tricks. The first 6 tricks made are the book and they don't score any points. Spades were trumps so the remaining 4 tricks are worth 30 points each for a total of 120 trick points.

If declarer wins more tricks than needed for the contract then those overtricks are worth the same as the tricks, 20 for the minors, 30 for the majors and notrumps.

Step 2 - Bonus points

You'll need to know who is vulnerable if you want to know how to score at bridge. Vulnerability is dictated by the hand number and the same system is used worldwide. Hand 1, for example, has nil vulnerability in every bridge game.

Every making contract earns a bonus depending on the trick points won. Note that points won for overtricks aren't included when calculating the bonus.

If the trick points are less than 100 the bonus is 50 points. These low level contracts are called 'part-scores'.

If the trick points are 100 or more the bonus is 300 for non vulnerable contracts and 500 for vulnerable contracts. The bonus is worth more than the trick points. Nice! These are called 'game' contracts.

A contract of 3NT is worth 40 for the first trick and 30 each for the next two. That's 100 points. 3NT is a game contract. 4 and 4♠ at 30 points each and 5♣ and 5 at 20 points each are also games.

6-level contracts are called 'slams' and 7-level contracts are called 'grand slams'. Slams and grand slams score the game bonus plus the relevant slam bonus.

Bonus Points
Not VulnerableVulnerable
game (3NT, 4, 4♠, 5♣, 5 )300500
slam (6 of anything)500750
grand slam (7 of anything)10001500

Defeated contracts

Defeated - Not Doubled
UndertricksNot VulnerableVulnerable

The penalty increases when you are doubled.

Defeated - Doubled
UndertricksNot VulnerableVulnerable
4...300 each300 each

The penalty increases even further when you are redoubled.

Defeated - Redoubled
UndertricksNot VulnerableVulnerable
4...600 each600 each


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