Pirate Bridge: Scoring

Scoring in any variety of Bridge can be complicated for the beginner. We’ve made an example that you can read in conjunction with this page to help you get the hang of it.

Points and the “Line”

The score sheet has a horizontal line drawn across it when the play begins. Whenever you score points for taking the tricks that formed your contract, those points are scored “below the line”. These points contribute to bringing the game to an end, so you can think of them as “game” points.

There are lots of other ways to score points in Bridge, and those points are bonus points, which will be added to your final score but do not make the game end any faster. These points are scored “above the line”.

When a player has scored enough points below the line (30, in Pirate Bridge), the player is said to have “won a game”, but since one might win a game in a single hand, a session of Bridge typically involves more than one game.  

No matter how many points someone scores above the line (bonus points), they have not won a game until they score enough points below the line as well.

When a game has been won, everyone draws another line under the points they scored for that game. They will get to count those points in their grand total, along with their above-the-line points, but everyone is starting over with zero points toward winning the next game.

The Rubber

A full session of Pirate Bridge is called a rubber (as it is in Auction or Contract Bridge).  

A rubber consists of multiple games.  When any player has won two games, they are said to have “won the rubber” and they get additional bonus points (above the line) for doing so.  The term “won the rubber” is misleading, though. Someone else may actually have more points, when the above-the-line points are counted up.

It might be better said that the player who first wins two games receives bonus points for ending the rubber, but the player with the most points in all (above as well as below the line) will be the real winner. Again, see the example.


The term “book” refers to six tricks. Since there are 13 tricks in all, to have a majority of them you need seven, so six is “book” and having seven, the lowest possible bid, is one over book.  So for example, if the contractors had Hearts as trump and took eight tricks in all, that’s said to be “two above book”.

Point Values

Points for making contracts

Points for tricks taken as part of the contract are scored below the line (counting towards a game) only for the Declarer.  They are scored above the line (as bonus points) for the Acceptor. (This is a key difference in scoring Pirate Bridge when compared with Auction or Contract Bridge.)

If the contractors had Hearts as trump and took eight tricks in all, that’s two above book, so they get 2 x 8 = 16 points.  The Declarer scores them below the line (towards winning a game) and the Acceptor scores them above the line (as bonus).

Points for Tricks in Contract SuitUndoubledDoubledRedoubled
Each trick above book taken by contractors with Clubs as trump61224
… with Diamonds as trump71428
… with Hearts as trump81632
… with Spades as trump91836
… in a No-Trump contract102040
Each trick above book forced on defenders by contractors in a Nullo contract102040

Bonus points for winning games, rubbers, and slams

Bonus points for winning a game, a rubber, or a slam are all scored above the line, and are not affected by whether the contract for the hand in question was doubled or redoubled. They are:

Game, Rubber, and Slam PointsUnaffected by (re)doubling
Winning a game50
Being the dummy/acceptor on the hand that wins a game for another player50
Winning a second game and thus ending the rubber50*
Taking exactly twelve tricks (small slam)50**
Taking all thirteen tricks (grand slam)100**

*In addition to the 50 for winning the second game itself.
**Scored by both partners, even if they were the defenders.  Also, the small slam bonus is scored by both partners even if their contract was for all thirteen tricks and thus they failed to make their contract.

Bonuses for doubling, overtricks, and undertricks

These points are also scored above the line, and their value is increased if the contract is doubled or redoubled.

Making a contract that was doubled or redoubled50100
Each overtrick taken on a contract that was doubled or redoubled50100
Scored by defenders for every undertrick on a contract which was set50100200

Honor Points (Optional)

Traditionally in Bridge one can score points simply for holding some or all of the honors in the trump suit (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten; or the Aces, if no-trump) at the beginning of the hand.

Since this is a matter of luck and not skill, honor points are frowned upon by some players.  Therefore they should be considered optional. The players should agree on whether or not to score honor points before the first hand is dealt.

If honor points are scored, they are scored above the line, and are unaffected by (re)doubling, and the points scored are based on the values of the trump suit.  For example, if Hearts are trump, and the partners hold three honors between them, then the partners score 16 points (the value of two Heart tricks) above the line.

Cards HeldValue
Three honors in a trump suit, both partners’ hands togetherTwo tricks
Four honors in a trump suit, both partners’ hands togetherFour tricks
Five honors in a trump suit, both partners’ hands togetherFive tricks
Four honors in a trump suit in one partner’s handEight tricks
Four honors in a trump suit in one hand, the fifth in the otherNine tricks
All five honors in a trump suit in one handTen tricks
Three aces at no-trump, both partners’ hands togetherThree tricks = 30
Four aces at no-trump, both partners’ hands togetherFour tricks = 40
Four aces at no-trump in one handTen tricks = 100