Do’s and Don’ts During Play

  • All players should have completed convention cards and those of partners should match.
  • Keep your mannerisms and intonations consistent at all times. Neither partner nor the opponents are entitled to information gained from deviations in behavior or voice fluctuations. It takes a great deal of effort to master a uniform tempo of play and steady voice level, but without them, the opponents obtain much more information that you need to give them.
  • Develop the habit of making skip bid warnings and be courteous of the opponents by honoring their skip bid warnings. When somebody uses the Stop card to alert a skip-bid the next player must wait 10 seconds before bidding. It’s the law.
  • If you pull the wrong card out of the bidding box, you may change it before your partner bids. You may not change your mind about a bid; but you may make a change if you pulled the wrong card by mistake; i.e., if it’s a mistake of the fingers as opposed to the brain. If your left-hand opponent has already bid, but your partner has not, you may still change your bid, in which case your opponent may withdraw his bid, and even change it, with no penalty.
  • If your partner alerts your bid incorrectly do not correct his explanation during the bidding. Do not shake your head or roll your eyes or do anything to let partner or your opponents know he made a mistake. The same goes if you made a mistake. Believe it or not, if you are defending, you may not correct a mistake until after the play of the hand is over. This is because if you correct a mistake before the play begins you are only giving your own partner unauthorized information. On the other hand, if you are Declarer, you must correct any mistake before the opening lead.
  • When you are on opening lead, detach a card from your hand and lay it face down on the table. This prevents irregularities…such as leading when it is not your turn to do so and allows questions about the auction and any alerts to be answered. All players, except dummy, may now request a review of the auction and an explanation of any alerted calls. You, as the opening leader, should ask before you make your faced lead. Other players may also ask for a review of the auction at their first opportunity to play. If an opponent told you it was your lead when it was actually partner’s, you may retract your faced card with no penalty.
  • When playing to a trick, a card pulled is not necessarily a card played. A card is played if it is ‘at or near the table’ or if it was pulled in such a way that your partner might have seen it. But once a card has been placed at or near the table, neither declarer nor defendants may change it.
  • Dummy may not point out any irregularities during play, such as a revoke; and Dummy may not call the Director to point out an irregularity until after play is over. Dummy is only allowed to ask Declarer if he is able to play to a suit or not: “No more diamonds, partner?”
  • When you claim the remaining tricks, don’t just say “I claim.” Lay your hand on the table in the order in which you intend to play the hand and explain your line of play.
  • It is defendants’ responsibility to approve the score as entered in the machine; but it is North’s responsibility to advance the machine to the travelers. If you are a defender and would like to advance the machine, always ask North’s permission first. It is also North’s responsibility to turn the boards. Neither South, nor East or West should advance the boards without North’s permission.
  • Don’t put your cards back in the tray in the same order in which they were played.  Good players picking up your cards maight look at that order and make inferences.  Mix the cards up before you put them back.
  • Don’t let your opponents make director calls at the table. Call the real Director.
  • It is common to fall behind. It happens to all of us. In order to keep play moving, don’t complain if the Director asks you to take a No Play or a Late Board. A No Play, by the way, gives you the same percent you earned during the entire game. So, if you are having a 65% game, you will receive 65% on a No Play board. And, if your opponents were having a 58% game, they will receive 58% on a No Play board. This is much fairer than awarding everybody an Average board, which can actually penalize pairs doing better than average and reward pairs playing below average.
  • Learn not to get offended when a director is called on you. This is part of the game. The director is there to protect everyone and especially the integrity of the game.
  • And last, but certainly not least, ENJOY THE GAME…and remember at all times that it is only a game.