Contract bridge, or simply bridge, is a trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck. In its basic format, it is played by four players in two competing partnerships, with partners sitting opposite each other around a table. The essential features of all bridge games, as of whist, are that four persons play, two against two as partners; a standard 52-card deck of playing cards is dealt out one at a time, clockwise around the table, so that each player holds 13 cards; and the object of play is to win tricks, each trick consisting of one card played by each player. Another feature is that one suit may be designated the trump suit (i.e., any card in that suit may take any card of the other suits), but the methods of designating the trump suit (or of determining that a deal will be played without trumps) differ in the various bridge games. Millions of people play bridge worldwide in clubs, tournaments, online and with friends at home, making it one of the world’s most popular card games, particularly among seniors. The World Bridge Federation (WBF) is the governing body for international competitive bridge, with numerous other bodies governing bridge at the regional level. The arrival of personal computers and the Internet opened up new opportunities for instruction and play. In addition to being a venue for casual play, some Internet sites host tournaments recognized by ACBL and WBF at which participants can earn international master points.
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