Pocklington Bridge Club

Rules & Etiquette
Count your cards

At the start of every hand, it is really important to count your cards. As your take your cards out of the board, hold them face down and count them before you look at them. If you havetoo few or too many cards, these can then be put right before you see them.

What do you do if you've got the wrong number of cards? Sometimes, there might be just one hand missing a card – in which case, check you haven't left it in the board, or that it hasn't fallen on the floor at the last table where the hand was played. If you can find it, just pick it up and play on.

If another player has the missing card in his or her hand, you should call the director, who will ask players who have already played the hand at another table to determine which card is in the wrong hand.

What happens if you don't count your cards first?

If you look at your hand and then realise that you have 14 cards, the hand will be declared void and you will be awarded average minus, because once the misplaced card is put right, you will know which player holds it, and so you could not fairly play the hand. As you could have prevented this by counting your cards, you are penalised. If an opponent has also looked at his or her hand and has the wrong number of cards, they will also be awarded average minus – if the opponents have 13 cards each, or have not looked at their hands before the mistake is realised, they will be awarded average plus.

If you are missing a card and start to play the hand, you are still likely to lose out. First, it could be a really useful card that you're missing – if you're playing a hand missing A♠, you're probably going to get a worse score than everyone else. Second, you can still be penalised for revoking, even if the card you should have played is on the floor under another table and you haven't even seen it – the missing card is treated as part of your hand, and if you ruff or discard on that suit, you will be penalised just as though the missing card was in your hand at the time.

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