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On the road to bridge: Whist

I have found that I can get newcomers playing Whist in about 10 minutes, even if they have never seen a deck of cards before. I explain the ranks of the cards, and the follow suit rule and we shuffle, deal and play. Recall that my goal is not to create customers, but rather to get people playing a game where they feel reasonably proficient in a very short period of time. Whist is actually reasonably challenging even for experienced, advanced and even expert bridge players.

From here it is not long to games that involve bidding (Spades, Oh Hell, Bid Whist, ultimately, Bridge), whether for the right to name trump or for purposes of prediction.

There are even several websites (cardzmania is one) that offer whist and other trick taking games for newbies to practice on.

Whist is probably a better starting point to develop the playing skills (leading long suits, favoring sequences, giving count and attitude signals, etc.) that form the basis of successful bridge play and inform the concepts that apply to bidding.

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