Learn to Play


Once the most popular game of the All Fours family, Cinch eventually gave way to Auction Bridge and finally to Contract Bridge among serious card players.
Game Type
Trick Taking

Rank of Cards

In trumps, the rank A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 ("Right Pedro"), 5 of same color as trumps ("Left Pedro"), 4, 3, 2. In the other two suits, the rank is A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

The Shuffle and Cut

From a shuffled pack spread face down, all players draw, and in a partnership game the two high cards play against the two low. The person with the highest card has the choice of cards and seats. Any player may shuffle; the dealer shuffles last, and the player to the dealer's right cuts, leaving at least four cards in each packet. The deal passes to the left after each hand.

The Deal

The dealer completes the cut and deals three cards at a time to each player clockwise, beginning with the player on his left until each player has nine cards.

The Bidding

The player on the dealer's left bids first, and each player has one turn to bid (or pass). Each bid must top the preceding bid. The highest possible bid is 14, which represents all the points in play.

Drawing and Discarding

The high bidder names the trump, and each player then discards all cards but trumps from his hand. The dealer gives each player in rotation enough cards to fill out each hand to six cards. Then the dealer discards and "robs" the pack - that is, they look through the undealt cards and selects any cards there to fill out their own hand to six cards.

Each player except the dealer must discard all cards but trumps (though there is no prescribed penalty for failure to do so). If a player is forced to discard a trump, due to having seven or more trumps, they must show the discarded trump to the other players, after which the card is out of play.

A player may change his discard until they have looked at any card dealt to him in the draw, but thereafter the discard may not be changed. If they have discarded a trump, it must be shown, and then becomes a dead card. (If a scoring card is discarded in error by an opponent of the high bidder, it is later scored for the high bidder's side.)

Object of the Game

The goal is to win tricks with the scoring cards, each of which counts for the side or player winning it, as follows: High, 1; Low, 1; Jack, 1; 10 of trumps (Game), 1; each pedro, 5; making a total of 14 points.

The Play

The high bidder leads first and may lead any card. Each player must follow suit to a trump lead, if possible. If unable to follow suit, a player may play any card. On any other lead, a player may follow suit or trump, as desired. Any trick containing a trump is won by the highest trump played; any other trick is won by the highest card of the suit led.


If the bidding side wins at least as many points as it has bid, the side with the higher count scores the difference between the two counts. Thus, either the bidding or the non-bidding side may score. If the bidding side does not make its contract, the non-bidding side scores 14 plus the number of points by which the bidding side fell short. Example: The bid is 6, and the bidding side wins 6 points, and the opponents win 8 points. The opponents score 2 points for that hand. Another example: The bid is 8, and the bidding side wins 7 points, and the opponents win 7 points; in this case, the opponents score 15 points.

Game is won by the first player or side to reach 51 points.


New Deal

The same dealer deals again if a card is found face up in the pack; or, on demand of an opponent, if a card is dealt face up; or if the shuffle or cut was improper, provided this is noticed before the deal is completed.


The dealer loses the deal, which passes to the left, if they give too many or too few cards to any player and this is discovered before the first bid is made. Incorrect hand. A player with too few cards must play on; a player with too many cards must offer the hand, face down, and an opponent draws out the excess cards, which are shuffled back into the pack.

Bid Out of Turn

Neither member of the offending side may bid thereafter, but any bid previously made stands.

Lead or Play Out of Turn

The card must be withdrawn on demand of an opponent if neither opponent has played to the trick. If a lead out of turn was made when it was the offender's partner's turn to lead, the offender's right-hand opponent may require him to lead or not to lead a trump.


Play continues, but the offending side may not score in that hand, and if the offender is an opponent of the bidder, the bidder cannot be set.