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What Makes A Good Bridge Player?

Whether you have just started playing bridge recently, or you have been playing for a long time, it’s always possible to get better at it and to improve your game considerably. If you are thinking of trying to do that, there are many approaches you can take, and it’s something that you might want to think about in a few different ways. Central to this however is going to be the question of what actually makes a good bridge player.

More than merely knowing the gameplay and having a good strategy to your name, you might want to know about some of the other things that can help you here. So let’s take a deep dive into exactly what makes bridge players good at what they do - and offer some advice on how you might be able to get there yourself.

Passion For The Game

This is one of the main things that you will always need to have if you want to be a good bridge player. As long as you have passion for the game, pretty much everything else is going to eventually fall into place sooner or later here. Of course, this is not something that can be faked, and you will need to make sure that you are being genuine about this, otherwise who knows what kind of results you might get.

Chances are, if you are reading this blog post, then you already have a fair passion for bridge, otherwise you simply wouldn’t care about this too much. But if you are still wondering whether you have a genuine passion for the game or not, it’s something that you will certainly want to think about.

Again you can’t force this, but you should try to be honest with yourself about whether or not you have this kind of passion. And as long as you do, you can expect to have a much better chance of success with bridge overall.

Deep Understanding Of The Gameplay

We have mentioned that being a good bridge player is about much more than just knowing the gameplay. Of course that is true, but that is not to say that having a good understanding of gameplay is not important - it absolutely is. You need to make sure that you are aware of how the game is played and what you need to do in order to play it right, and if you don't have that then you will find it’s one of the very first things you need to work on.

Of course, the best way to develop this understanding is just to play, but you can also read articles on bridge and do other such things to figure out some of the rules that you need to know. If you can do that, you are probably going to find that you can develop a deep understanding in no time. That is going to help you to be a much better player of the game over time, even before you have developed a lot of strategy.

Your Own Approach To Strategy

Again, strategy alone is not going to be enough to make a good bridge player - but it is an essential component of the good player, so it’s not something you can afford to overlook. In particular, however, this is about much more than just reading up on strategy and copying or following along with what you read. It’s also about developing your own approach to strategy, one that is going to be unique to you as much as possible.

The reason that helps is that it enables you to actually develop a manner of strategy that is likely to set you apart from the rest. As well as making it all more enjoyable, that also means that you are going to be much more likely to win games against other players, which is obviously something that most players are keen to achieve. So it’s wise to do all you can to develop your own approach to strategy in bridge as far as you possibly can.

What is the best way to do that? There are quite a few options, in fact. You can simply play with a greater number of people, watching how they play and reacting in the moment in a way that is organic and real. Or you can read up and be critical about what you are reading. Very often, it’s this ability to think critically that allows you to develop your own strategy.

So if you are keen to be the best bridge player you can, it’s really important that you spend some time and effort on developing your own strategy. That is the kind of thing that will really help you in the end, and you will be glad that you did it for sure.

Clear Thinking

To that end, it’s also hugely useful if you have an ability to think clearly. Having a clear head while you play enables you to actually give yourself the best chance of playing well, and it’s the kind of thing that can make a huge difference to the way in which you play. It also means you will be more likely to make good decisions, and ultimately to get to a place where your gameplay is as good as possible.

There are so many factors that can influence your ability to think clearly. This is where you start to realize just how important it is that you take care of your mind generally, in and out of the game itself. If you are serious about this and you want to make sure that you are developing it as much as possible, you should take the time to look into how you are approaching your general health and wellbeing.

The healthier you are, the clearer your thinking is going to be. Particularly important here is to make sure you are sleeping plenty and getting your rest. If you do that, you’ll have the energy to think clearly and you will find it so much easier to do so. Similarly, eating well makes a huge difference too, as it allows you to have a much quicker acting mind and brain, and that is important in this as well.

You will also find it is easier to think clearly if you avoid alcohol or cut down on your alcohol use, or if you at least avoid drinking while you are playing bridge. If you can do that, it’s the kind of thing that can make a huge difference to your ability to think clearly, so it’s something to think about for sure.

If you are thinking clearly when you play, your strategy will improve and you will make the right decisions, and that means you are going to be a much more effective player.

Avoidance Of Tilt

It’s also important to be able to keep your head while you play. Here we run into a concept called tilt, which comes originally from the world of poker but applies to many games, and that certainly includes bridge. Tilt refers to the experience or tendency to forget your original plan and to barrel ahead with a new one, usually because you are feeling emotionally fraught or you are starting to get frustrated with the game.

Often this happens once you start losing, or things don’t seem to be going your way. Soon enough, you will then find that you are starting to struggle with keeping your head and your wits about you, and you simply stop making the right, rational decisions. Clearly, then, it’s hugely important that you can avoid tilt, and this is something that all effective bridge players need to learn as well as possible.

So what are some of the best ways to ensure you avoid tilt? There are a few things to consider, including a practice of trying to keep a clear head as we have already mentioned. But beyond that, you should also make sure that you are doing all you can to keep calm when things start to go wrong. If you do that, it’s going to go a long way towards helping you to avoid tilt, and the result will be a much better approach to your bridge playing in general.

The player who avoids tilt the best is the one who is likely to win more often, because they are simply keeping their chances high, even when things turn against them. It’s all about working with the moment and what you have, rather than what you wish was the case. If you can do that, you will find that you are much more likely to avoid tilt - and to win a greater percentage of your games.

Respect For Opponents

Bridge is generally a very respectful game, and it’s good to remember that when you are playing it, as it’s a major and important part of playing it. If you are approaching your bridge in the right manner, it means you will be displaying and showcasing a basic and fundamental respect for your opponents. This is something that most people would consider really basic in bridge, so if you are not doing this, it’s probably because you are not being the best bridge player you can be.

To work on this, you need to make sure that you are making a point of showing respect, whether it comes naturally to you or not so much. Showing respect is absolutely vital, in fact. It helps your game, because you are then aware of what you’re up against much more, but it also helps other people to enjoy playing with you - and what is the point of playing bridge if you are not having as much fun as possible?

Respect in any game makes it more interesting, more enjoyable and more fun, and that in turn gives you a much better chance to be able to play your best. So you should make sure that you are working on this as necessary if you want to be a great bridge player.

Chess-Like Perception

Much of bridge depends on thinking ahead as far as possible, a skill that is often touted as being one of the most important in the game of chess. If you want to be the best bridge player you can be, you certainly need to make sure that you are using this kind of chess-like perception. There are a few ways in which you can hope to develop this kind of way of looking at the game, and it’s a good idea to be aware of as many of them as possible.

The best way is to simply play more bridge, practice it well, and do so consciously and with care. If you do that, with a conscious attempt to think ahead as well as possible, you are going to find that you end up simply having a much better chance of thinking ahead well and therefore getting ahead of your opponent - while also having a lot more fun in the process.

But you can also improve this through playing other games as well, including, of course, chess. Playing chess and other such games can help you develop the skills you need to be a great bridge player, and it’s something you should absolutely make sure you are thinking about if you want to do that as well as possible.

With a chess-like perception, you are going to be a much more masterful bridge player in no time, so it’s absolutely something you should think about working on.

Avoiding The First Idea

One fundamental approach that sets apart the good bridge player from the rest is to make sure you don’t automatically go for the first idea you have. Very often, you will have an attractive first notion that seems to be great, but once you look into it you realize that it is actually anything but. That then leads to a poor move on your part, and it means that you are going to not be playing your best possible game.

So, it’s better if you can make a point of avoiding the very first idea that comes to mind. If you can do this, you’re going to have a much better chance of actually building on your strategy. It’s often the case that your second, third, fourth or even fifth ideas are the more powerful and lead to the better results, but you’ll only know whether that is the case by trying to get there. Therefore, this is something you should absolutely make sure to do as best as you can. It’s a fundamental strategy that marks the good bridge player.


It can take a surprising amount of energy to play bridge, and especially to play it well. For one thing, a game of bridge can last quite a while, depending on what happens. So a good player is very often the one who can sit there the longest and devote the most energy to the game. We have already discussed some of the ways you can build up that energy and make sure that you have it in each game. It’s definitely the kind of thing you need to work on building up in yourself if you want to be the best bridge player you can be.

Again you might want to consider whether you have the passion for the game that this requires. If not, that might be why you are struggling to have the proper energy levels for it. All in all, this is vital if you want to play it as well as you possibly can. And again you can’t really fake this - you either have the necessary energy levels or you don’t, and you need to make sure that you are aware of this as well.


Related to that is the issue of focus, which is important if you want to play a game as well as possible, and that definitely applies to bridge as well as any other game out there. Being able to focus properly will enable you to play your best game, so you should be sure to work on this as well as you can. If you are focusing as well as you would hope on your bridge game, it’s going to be a lot more successful and you will find it so much easier to play well, so it’s vital to make sure you are doing this.

With practice and persistence, you can learn to focus more and more solidly, and that can help your game to no end. So this is absolutely the kind of thing you need to think about if you want to build up your game as well as you can.

As you can see, there are a lot of things that make for a good bridge player. Even just developing some of those is going to help you have a much better game, and to enjoy playing it so much more too, no matter who your opponents are.


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