Can Bridge Help You Become a Card Master? Yes, if you Transfer some Skills

Can Bridge Help You Become a Card Master? Yes, if you Transfer some Skills

What does it take to become a great bridge player? Well, for starters you need a strong understanding of the game. Knowing what-to-play-when comes down to more than intuition at the highest levels and that’s something you need to hone as a player. You also need an ability to communicate a strategy when you’re playing with a partner. And perhaps most important, you need to know how to think ahead in much the same way a chess player thinks X moves ahead of their current position.

Once you’ve mastered the skills of bridge, you can pretty much play any card game at a fairly decent level. Thanks to the skills inherent in the game and, more importantly, how tough the game is to master, you can transfer your abilities into other arenas. Of course, we’re biased in the sense that we don’t think any card game comes close to bridge in terms of entertainment and challenge. However, there are alternatives out there and bridge can help you play them at a decent level.

With this in mind, we’ve picked three popular card games and highlighted three bridge tactics that transfer particularly well:

"Poker" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by YLegrand


Over the years a number of bridge players have played poker and vice versa.  American entrepreneur and poker player Phil Gordon has not only won WPT and WSOP bracelets, but he’s also triumphed in US national bridge championships. In his mind, one of the biggest crossover skills he notes is psychology.

Part of using coded communication with an opponent is to distract your opponents and, more importantly, give them false clues. In poker, you can give off a false tell, which is essentially a physical tick that you believe an opponent is reading as a sign of weakness. It’s possible to do something similar in bridge if you believe a team knows your codes. At this point, you can switch the move linked to that particular phrase.

 "Rummy Hand Revealed" (CC BY 2.0) by ColleenSullivan93


When you’re playing bridge, everything starts with the opening bid. Now, if you were to play blackjack online, a similar thought process is involved. Let’s take Satoshi Blackjack at Vegas Casino. A bitcoin-based casino where each bet is a fraction of a bitcoin (known as an mBTC), this game allows you to wager between 0.1 and 100 mBTC.

This bet in blackjack is your first move and will determine the fate of the hand – similar to your opening bid at bridge. And because the two most powerful moves in blackjack are splitting and doubling, both of which require you to double your opening bet, your opening bet is crucial and requires some long-term strategizing. At this point, you need to ensure you’ve not overstretched yourself with your opening bet so that you can make a power play when the dynamics are in your favor.

"cards" (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Alford

Gin Rummy

A game of making runs and sets, gin rummy has a number of parallels with bridge and poker. Available to play online via sites like AOL, the game is extremely popular the world over and one important concept from bridge can help you win more rummy battles: don’t compound a mistake. Although two defensive errors can’t usually be overturned, one can (unless you’re playing at an elite level).

Learning not to lose your cool and compound an error with a rash attack-minded move in a bid to cancel out your previous error will become a mistake in itself. This same philosophy applies to rummy as well. For example, if you discard the wrong card and reduce your chances of making a set combination, the trick is to not completely abandon your strategy. If you were previously going for a run but you made an error, don’t automatically give up on that run if you don’t have to.

Assuming you can follow this strategy, gin rummy should become a lot easier and, more importantly, more enjoyable. In fact, if you combine this mindset with ideas such as considering your opening bid in context and using false tells, you can actually profit in a variety of card games. Although few will come close to the nuances of bridge, there are opportunities to use your skills if you look hard enough for them.