Whether you want to teach others to play Handz (perhaps for the purpose of creating new bridge players) or whether you and some friends want to try this simple, painless way to learn the fascination of card play in contract bridge, here we provide you with all the items that you will need.
Often one or two persons involved in learning Handz knows a little too much. On the other hand, if half of the group knows a little about bidding, it is probably worthwhile to skip a few levels and begin with the introduction of notrump/majors/minors as having different requirement for game and different scores. There is no requirement that players need to go through every level. Use the knowledge of those who know something about bridge to advantage and encourage them to help explain suit hierarchy.
Avoid Bridge References
To emphasize that this is an easy way to learn bridge can be unhelpful. For those who know that Handz is a lot like bridge, point out that the play of the cards in bridge is a wonderful game in itself and Handz takes advantage of that aspect of bridge. But also, there are strategies in the later development of Handz that are enjoyable though entirely outside of anything comparable in bridge.
For instance, in level 8, players get to choose whether to share the strength and distribution of their hand (“reveal”), bid, or pass. Say a player opens the auction with 4♥. The opponents can each decide to bid on, double, or pass, but either may also reveal hcp and shape, leaving the final decision to partner. The risk, of course, is that the revealer might be giving declarer a road map to the successful play of the hand.
It is our intention to provide many, short videos with hints about play. When using Handz in a school setting, put fun before lessons or proficiency. If players make absurd decisions, ignore most of them and make comments only if certain that the player will not feel discouraged or humiliated. Ask the group, “Would you all like to learn how to finesse a high card and deny your opponent a trick?” Add the lesson when everyone yells, “Yes!”
On the web page “Handz documents,” are all the documents required to teach or learn 10 levels of Handz play. The first level is the most detailed because it contains many new concepts for persons unfamiliar with trick-taking card games—trick, lead, following suit, trump, ruff, dummy, declarer, defense, and so forth. The brief attachment is a quick overview of what is explained on each level:
To play Handz at the table, we have provided many handy templates on the page “Handz documents,” found under the “Handz” menu, above. The table marker helps players keep track of who is the dealer and, at level 6 and above, keep track of who is vulnerable.
Fact sheets for all players can be printed and used for recording hand strength and distribution. We recommend using high-gloss photo paper with grease pencil or dry erase markers, if these allow quick erasure and reuse (most photo paper does not erase easily). If the printed fact sheets do not easily clean with dry erase markers or if you want to print on plain paper, it is possible to put them into clear plastic sandwich bags, which normally work with the markers. Here are some markers we like:
These are odorless and the colors are popular with children. If left unretracted for 20 minutes or more, they tend to dry our, but will come back to life if retracted for a short time. These can also be purchased in black.
Dixon Phano Peel-Off China Marker Pencils, Thin, Black are about 50¢ in quantity, less than half the cost of the Expo markers. They do cannot dry out and wipe with only a little more effort than dry erase. These are what we ship with a boxed game.
Listo 1620 Marking Pencil, Box of 12 come in colors and are more easily extended as they wear. The cost is more closely associated with dry erase markers.
Grease pencils were once popular, but they are hard to find in office supply stores.
There are many sources for standard, 52-card decks, but they should be labeled “Bridge Size.” Poker size are wider and harder for small hands to manage 13 cards in one hand.
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