Duplicate Bridge Scoring

Learning how to score at bridge makes it easier to understand the bridge bidding system.  Once you know how to score you will understand why it is better to play in hearts/spades/NT than diamonds or clubs and why players will continue bidding to the 4, 5, 6 or even 7 level instead of stopping at the 3 or 4 level.

Let’s start with the absolute basics.

  • No points are scored for the first 6 tricks.  A contract for 1 of a suit (or 1NT) means you think you will make 7 tricks (6 + 1 bid).  A contract for 4 of a suit means you think you will make 10 tricks (6 + 4 bid)
  • High Card Points = points score for cards held.  Four for each ace, three for each king, two or each queen and one for each jack.
  • A “game” contract is one that would score 100 points if achieved.  If you achieve (or exceed) the contract you score a 300 point bonus.
  • A part score contract is one that would score less than 100 points if achieved. If you achieve the contract you score a 50 point bonus.
  • If you bid a part score but actually make enough tricks for game you will ONLY get the part score bonus as that is what you bid for.
Points scored per trick No. of tricks needed to make “game”(6 + no. of tricks bid) Minimum contract needed for game High Card Points needed for “game”
clubs and diamonds 20 11 5 clubs or diamonds 27
hearts and spaces 30 10 4 hearts of spades 25
No Trumps 40 for FIRST trick 30 for subsequent tricks 9 3 NT 25
  • If you fail to make the contract you bid for, your opponents score 50 points for each trick you failed by.  So, if you bid 3 of a suit (bid to make 9 tricks) and only make 7 tricks your opponents score 50 points for each of the two tricks you failed to make (100 points in total)


If you think that your opponents are unlikely to achieve the contract they are bidding for you can “double”.  This means that your side will score double the points for each trick the opponents go down by, but also means they will score double the points for each trick if they make the contract.  They will also score an extra bonus of 50 points for achieving the contract.

If the opponents are certain that they WILL make their contract they can “redouble”.  In this case they will score 4 times the usual point value for each trick made if they achieve the contract, plus a 100 point extra bonus.


To add a little extra “spice” to the scoring one, or both sides become “vulnerable”.  This rotates between neither side vulnerable, E-W vulnerable, N-S vulnerable and both side vulnerable.  If your side is vulnerable and you fail to make a contract then your opponents score DOUBLE the number of points for each trick you fail by.

If your side is vulnerable and bid for and achieve game, then your game bonus is increased.

No increase for part score  – 50 points scored

Game score – bonus increased from 300 to 500 points if vulnerable


There are two types of slams.   A small slam (12 tricks) and a grand slam (all 13 tricks).  You only score an additional bonus for these if you bid to make them.

So, if you bid a contract of 4 hearts (to win 10 tricks) but actually win all thirteen tricks, you will just score the regular game bonus and won’t score the additional grand slam bonus.  You will only score the additional small or grand slam bonus if you bid to win 12/13 tricks (6 or 7 of a suit).

If you bid and make a small slam you will score an additional 500 point bonus (or 750 if vulnerable)

If you bid and make a grand slam you will score an additional 1000 point bonus (or 1500 if vulnerable)

Both of these are in addition to the regular game bonus.