Double Trouble

Invented by Matti Jantunen (

This game is a complicated version of normal Bridge...

The task of the game

To find the best contract you can play with the cards according to the rules of Bridge.


2 normal playing card decks with 52 cards, with the same face designs and different coloured backs.


The game is for four players. One of them is the dealer. (As in Bridge).


Shuffle the card decks separately. Deal one deck (blue coloured backs) to four players, 13 cards to each player. Deal an other deck (red coloured back) the same way - 13 cards each.

Each of the players shuffles their 26 cards (13 red backs and 13 blue backs) together.

Now every player picks up his or her cards. You are only allowed to know the back colour the card that was on top when your hand was stacked face down after shuffling. Once you pick up your cards, you must not look at the backs of any of your other cards - you must only see their faces.

The player has full freedom to sort the cards in his or her hand, so long as he or she never looks at the backs of his or her own cards. However, each player is allowed to see the backs of all the other players' cards.

Each partnership is allowed to have a system of agreements on how they will sort the cards of their hands - for example spades on the right and hearts on the left side and clubs and diamonds in the middle.

The bidding sequence is like in bridge but the bidding must include the color of the card backs too. For example "1 blue diamond" could mean that the opener has at least 12 points in his/her hand and the meaning of blue can mean what ever the pair has decided it should mean as part of their bidding system. For example it means that in the players partner's hand most of the spades (on the right side) seems to have blue backs, so it's a suggestioin that there might be a blue spade game available. (If there are four passes after this bid, the game will be played and the player must try to take 7 tricks with diamond as a trump with blue cards...)

Each bid must be higher than the last, as in bridge. The pair which make the highest call in blue colored backs (for example 3 blue spades) and the the pair which make the highest call with red colored backs (for example 6 red NT) play those contracts. The bidding section ends after four (4) passes. The games can be doubled and redoubled as in bridge. The highest contract is played first. In this case 6 NT with red backed cards by E-W.

Before playing

If the blue contract is to be played first, each player extracts the blue backed cards from partner's hand (without looking at their faces, and gives them to partner to play. The rest of the cards (red backs) must be laid face down on the table and are not touched while the blue cards are played.

The play

The hand is played as in normal Bridge. In this case the first contract is 6NT with the blue backed deck by West. The scoring is as in bridge.

After the first contract, the second contract will be played, this time 3 Hearts with the red backed deck by North, the same way as above.

Finally the results of both games are added together and the final result will be recorded on paper. The result can be abbreviated: -850 ... which means that the E-W made 6NT with the blue cards, giving them 990 points, and N-S made 3 Hearts exactly, which gave them 140 points to them. E-W points are marked negative (-990) and N-S positive (+140). Therefore -990+140=-850.

Each player mixes his or her own cards together so on the next table (assuming that we are playing duplicate) another player will get the same cards. (Playing duplicate styule with the same deal at two tables reduces the element of chance in the game, and allows the results to be evaluated.)

Matti Jantunen comments:

This terrible game gives maximum stress to the players and requires huge concentration if played seriously. This style of game gives more challenge for bidding systems because the bidders must solve the problems of how to find solid suits, because they cannot know whether their suits really fit (in the same back color). They might have beautiful long suits but the cards can be from different decks. Lots of problems to solve... To help solving the problem its important that the players can see others card backs to evaluate them. Just as important is that they do not see the backs of their own cards. Otherwise the magic is gone.

Because this is such a problematic game, I have given it the name Double Trouble.

Last updated: 11th August 2003