A FIT:   What your Partner has when you make a bad play or bid. Also a discovery between you and your Partner of a suit that you both want to be trump. (see GOLDEN FIT).

BALANCED HAND:  No Singletons or Voids.  At the most one Doubleton. see DISTRIBUTION.

BALANCING:  Getting back into the auction after the opponents have stopped bidding at a low  level. You can do this by doubling, bidding a suit or No Trump. Jumping out of your seat and  waving your hand won’t really work, but might get you barred from the local bridge club.

BATH COUP:  Holding up the Ace with A J x x after an opening lead of the King.  The temptation to win  the first trick is great and must be overcome. (Try a cold shower.)  If you hold up though, your Ace will take the Queen if it is led on the second trick making your Jack a winner.  Your opponents have just been Bath Couped.
     There are other coups in bridge, but they come up very infrequently - maybe once every five years if you played a lot of bridge. see HOLD UP.

BELOW THE LINE:  In Rubber Bridge all the scores entered below the horizontal line on the score sheet.  This includes everything but Overtricks and Penalties. The Overtricks and Penalties go Above the Line.  If you are on the line . . . get off.

BID:   A Bid is the naming of a suit (or no trump) plus the number of tricks above six (Book) that the bidder expects he and Partner can take with the named suit as trump (or no trump).

BLACKWOOD:   A conventional bid of 4 No Trump asks partner to tell how many Aces he has.  This bid is used to investigate slam possibilities and is usually used after a trump fit has been found. see GERBER.

BONUS:  Extra points  scored for bidding and making certain premium contracts such as slams and games.

BOOK:   The first six tricks taken by Declarer.

BREAK: The distribution of the outstanding cards in a suit. A good break is normal distribution.  Abnormal players tend to get bad breaks and abnormal distribution.

BROKEN SEQUENCE:  A Broken Sequence is a three card sequence where the third card is replaced by the fourth card.
          EXAMPLE 1: Q J 9     EXAMPLE 2:  K Q 10
     In the Example 1 the 9 replaces the 10.  (The normal three card sequence would be Q J 10.) In the Example 2 the 10 replaces the Jack. (Again the  normal three card sequence is K Q J.) The top of Broken Sequences can be lead against No Trump contracts. see SEQUENCE .

CAPTAIN:  The partner who knows the most about the combined hands and will direct the partnership to the best contract.  The Captain does not have to be the partner with the most points. Two Captains on the same team will usually have serious confrontations that could extend into the next hand. . . .  or even for a day or two.

COMBINED HANDS:  The cards making up both hands of one partnership.  Bidding and Playing must be considered in terms of Combined Hands.

COMBINED POINTS:  The total number of points belonging to the partnership.  This can determine the contract level.    Points needed are:
    less than  26    == part score or defend
                     26+ == game in the Majors or No Trump
                     29+ == game in the Minors
                     33+ == Small Slam
                     37+ == Grand Slam

CONTRACT:   The final declaration of a suit or a No Trump followed by three passes.  This differs from an underworld contract. (In Bridge there is usually less violence.)

CONVENTION:   There are all different types of conventions. There is the very popular Stayman Convention (see Stayman); and the Agoraphobic Society Convention  (no one shows up).  In Bridge however, conventions are a sort of code or language between two players. Alert the opponents if you are using a convention that is not part of SAB. (Standard American Bidding.)

COVER:   Playing a card higher than the one led. There is  the old bridge maxim: Cover an Honor with an Honor. As with most bridge maxims note the exceptions. Failure to do so has often resulted in the ruin of many an innocent, unsuspecting, young bridge player. The old bridge players didn’t do that well either.

CUE BID:  A bid of a suit that was bid by the opponents (or a bid of a suit after a fit has been established.  Note: the bidder does not wish to play the contract in the suit that was Cue Bid.  A Cue Bid suit could be a singleton or even a void. This is forcing; it is a super Green Light bid;  and partner must bid at all costs. (see TRAFFIC LIGHT BIDS)
     A pass could mean that Declarer will be playing in a suit contract with less than 3 trumps in the combined hands.  Watch it! After the exhilaration and the challenge of the play is worn off, the Declarer will most likely strangle her partner.

CUT:   After shuffling the deck, the player to the right of the Dealer divides (cuts) the pack of cards approximately in half.  The cut half is traditionally moved toward the Dealer.  The two halves are then put together by the one doing the cutting.  Others at the table may watch.

DEALER: The Dealer is the player who passes (deals) out the cards to the other players at the table.  Cards are dealt clockwise (one card at a time) to each player in rotation, starting with the person to the left of the Dealer.  The entire deck of cards is deal.
     Each player should have 13 cards.  Bridge etiquette requires that the cards are not to be picked up until the Dealer finishes dealing.  And  then only with the left hand and pinkie raised.

DECLARER:   The player who bids the suit (or no trump) first.

DEFENDERS:  The opponents of the Declarer are called the Defenders (you may wish to call them something else). They try to prevent the Declarer from making his Contract. This is usually done at the Bridge table in an orderly well mannered fashion.

DISCARD:  Play of card (other than trump) of a different suit then the one being led.

DISTRIBUTION:   Shape of the hand.  Some hands are flat or balanced: no voids or singletons and at the most one doubleton.  Other hands are unbalanced or distributional: long suits, voids, singletons or two doubletons.  Some partners are unbalanced.  See UNBALANCED PARTNER.

DOUBLE:  A Call in bridge.  The other two Calls in bridge are Pass and Redouble. What you call your partner for misplaying a  hand is not considered a bridge Call.

DOUBLETON: What the word implies: double cards in a suit. Which does not sound right. Double = Two is better. So a Doubleton is two cards in a particular suit.

DRAW TRUMP: To play trump until the opponents have none left. see PULL TRUMP or TRUMP EXTRACTION .

DUCK:  The Declarer loses the first (or second or third) trick in a suit in order to maintain a link between hand and table.

DUMMY:  Partner of the Declarer exposes his cards (hopefully nothing else!) after the Opening Lead is made. This exposed hand is called the “Dummy”. The player who tables the Dummy (Declarer’s Partner) is called the Dummy. There is at least one Dummy at the table. Many times it is your Partner.

ENTRY:  A card that provides a means of winning a trick in a particular hand.

EQUALS:  Cards of equal rank in a suit. If you have 9 8 7 3, then the 9, 8 and 7 are Equals. There can even be equality amonst Honors.  If you have K Q J then these three Honors are Equal. (Of course individually some honors are more equal than others.)

FINESSE:  Trying to win a trick with a lower card than that held by your opponents.  This involves playing to the low card.  Not all finesses work.  If they did your opponents would be quite annoyed.

FIVE CARD MAJORS:   A bidding system where the opening bid in a major shows five or more cards in that suit.  This is a cornerstone of SAB. (Standard American Bidding.)

FORCING BID:  A bid that forces Partner to bid again.  A pass by Partner can sometimes cause objects (and words) to fly across the table.

FORCING DEFENSE:  A strategy in which the Defender makes the Declarer ruff. If the Declarer does this enough times he will eventually have less trump the Defender and lose control of the hand.
     For this plan to work the Defender should refrain from trumping.  Make the Declarer trump.  General Patton:  The way to win a war is not by dying for your country, but by having the other SOB die for his.

FOURTH HIGHEST:  The fourth highest card of a suit (counting down from the top). Also referred to as the fourth best. Example:  K J 8 7 5 2  the 5 is the Fourth Highest. A lead against a No Trump contract or even a suit contract (top of a sequence is usually safer.)
     When leading  the Fourth Highest the suit should be headed by at least one honor; like the above example. If the suit has no honor then go out and get one. If you can’t then  lead a different suit.

GAME:    Bonus points are awarded  for bidding and making certain contracts. These Game contracts are:
       3 No Trump   |   4 H or 4 S    |    5 C or 5 D
Bonus points are also awarded for bidding and making Slam contracts.

GERBER:  A conventional bid of 4 Clubs (4 C) that asks partner to tell how many Ace she has.  This bid is used to investigate slam possibilities and is usually used after a No Trump has opened the bidding. see BLACKWOOD.

GOLDEN FIT:   Named after the Golden Retrievers who used to kibbutz (see TO RUFF). A minimum of eight cards in one suit between you and your partner. Hopefully this will be the trump suit.  The eight cards do not have to be in one hand.

GO DOWN:  Not making the contract.  Being Set.

GO UP:  Play the highest card of the suit being led.  Note: this is not the opposite of Go Down.