Rubber Bridge

Rubber Bridge Explained for Club Duplicate Players

In 1925 Harold Vanderbilt suggested changes to the rules and scoring of auction bridge to increase the excitement and make it more suitable for gambing.   The changes were a great success.  Rubber Bridge became one of the world's most popular card games.  Club Duplicate Bridge is based on Rubber Bridge.  You already know how to play Rubber Bridge (the play is the same), the differences lie in the scoring and tactics.

The objective in Rubber Bridge is to win the rubber, and you win a rubber by being the first side to win two games.  A game comprises 100 points bid and made, the difference to duplicate bridge being that the 100 points bid and made can be accumulated over a number of hands.  Lets see how it works with an example.

(1)  You bid 2S and take 9 tricks.  That is 60 points bid and made (2 x 30).  These points go "below the line".  You score overtricks, undertricks, and bonuses "above the line".  Here there is an overtrick worth 30.  There is no part-score bonus of 50 but you do have your part-score of 60 that carries forward to the next hand - so for you, now, 1NT is enough for game (60 + 40 = 100).  This is where the excitement and changes in tactics come in - you don't need to bid up to 3NT next hand to make game so you want to keep the low to be safe: conversely, your opponents won't want to let you make a cheap game so they will be competing a lot to try to push you too high.  Incidentally, if 2S had been doubled that would have been 120 below and game.

(2) Your opponents bid and make 1NT - that is 40 below for them.  Now you both have a part-score.

(3) You bid 3S making 3.  That is another 90 below the line (3 x 30) which combined with your earlier part-score of 60 is enough for game.  There is no game bonus - the bonuses come for winning the rubber (if you win the next game the bonus will be 700, but if the opponents win one game, it is 500).  You are now vulnerable.  This is how vulnerability is determined in Rubber Bridge - you are never vulnerable until you have won a game, then you are vulnerable for every dealt after that until the end of the rubber.  It is a new game now, you draw another line and the opponent's unconverted part-score of 40 is not carried forward to the next game; they are still not vulnerable.

(4) You stretch to 4H, the oppoonents double, down two on a bad break - that is 500 to them.  Ouch!  Now you are behind in total points but you still have the advantage of having won the first game.

(5)  You pick up a great hand, seven hearts headed by AKQ10.  You bid 4H again, this time making.  That is 120 in tricks bid and made below the line - game and rubber.  Because you won two games to none the rubber bonus is 700.  There is also another bonus on the hand - for honours - if you have four out of five honours in trumps in one hand you get a bonus of 100 points (150 for all five honours - and any hand can claim the bonus - they don't need to be in declarer's hand or held by the declaring side).  For no-trumps, you get a bonus of 150 if you have all 4 aces.  You have to remember to claim honours before the bidding starts on the next hand.

(6)  To work out who won the rubber, you add up all the points above and below the line (you won 1,100 to 540 - it is probably easiest to keep a running total as well as the rubber score sheet).  Then you begin anew on the next rubber.

(7) In the National Rubber Bridge competition the match ends after 30 hands and there is an adjustment at the end:  for any unconverted part-score add a 50 bonus, for any unconverted game add 300.  The points won for all the hands are totalled and the highest side wins.  There is also a system restriction - to reflect how the game used to be played - only junior systems allowed - in practice this means a multi-2D bid is not allowed.

2022 Dan Gifford Rubber Bridge Competition

For Auckland / Norther Region - you need to enter by 10 April - refer flyer link below.

Flyer for 2022 competition (Auckland Northern Region) here.  Rubber Bridge regulations here.


Rubber Bridge - Fri 15th Apr - 7pm

Any players who have entered the NZBF Rubber Bridge annual tournament and want to play your match on RealBridge, when you have agreed the day you want to play, just send an email to and we will send you a link plus instructions.

There is a more comprehensive guide to scoring  here  and here.

Scoring guide here.

Wikipedia article.

You can download a Rubber Bridge scoring app to your mobile phone.

Rubber Bridge strategy.