Bridge is a fairly complex card game, usually referring to a variant known as contract bridge that is popular in the United States, England, and elsewhere throughout the world. It is a “trick taking game,” in the same group of card games as spades or hearts, but with a number of additional rules and complexities that make it somewhat more difficult to learn than these other games. There is a great deal of strategy involved in bridge, as well, both because of the layers of complexity and the fact that it is played in partnership with another player — this means that although one might learn to play bridge relatively easily, the process of learning is ongoing, as one attempts to become a better player. Resources are available to help people of all skill levels learn to play bridge, from the absolute beginner to the advanced player.
Probably the easiest way to learn to play bridge is simply to find a group of people who play and to ask them to let you observe for a while and perhaps teach you the basic rules. Bridge is a very social game, and most groups are happy to help newcomers interested in picking up the rules and strategy. This method of learning to play bridge has the distinct advantage of allowing you to ask questions about areas you find particularly confusing or tricky and to see a number of different play-styles in action — also, of course, once you learn to play, you will need a group to play with, and the people who instructed you will be ideal for that purpose.
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For people who want to learn on their own, there are a number of books and instructional videos available that can not only help you learn to play bridge, but can also give you a strong foundation of strategy. Most of these books have straight-forward titles like Learn to Play Bridge or How to Play Bridge, and for the basic rules, one is likely as good as any other. Once you are ready for texts that elaborate on strategy and give more directed tips, it may be worth your while to ask more expert players which books they would recommend. Many newspapers also have a daily or weekly bridge puzzle that can help you hone your strategy once you have learned the basics.
There are an increasing number of online resources available to help you learn to play bridge, as well. Many websites offer tutorials ranging from the very basic to those that cover many nuances of strategy and partnering. A number of software suites also exist that will hold your hand as you learn to play bridge, beginning by showing you the basic rules, and then walking you through specific scenarios and giving you pointers and instruction along the way. Although some of these software packages cost money, many are completely free of charge. For a beginner, it is probably worth experimenting with a number of free programs first, moving on to programs that cost money later. The American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), for example, offers a free program to help newcomers learn to play bridge.
There are also private tutors who can not only help you learn to play bridge, but can also continue teaching you as you progress, to help you become a great player. As with chess or go, the bridge community is rather large and is usually happy to encourage new players.