Glossary of Contract Bridge Terms - P


Deck of cards.
Two players playing bridge together as partners. Partnership.
A form of duplicate bridge in which each pair competes separately, as distinct from team and individual events. Pairs events are normally scored by matchpoints.
(Slang) Someone who plays bridge worse than others in their usual level of play
A defence to a Strong Club whereby two-level bids show the suit bid or the other 3 suits.
The product of the best bidding and play (of a given deal) by both sides.
Par contest
A competition that uses composed deals, designed to test each pair's bidding and its card play. After the bidding, pairs are instructed to play (or defend) a specified contract. Results are compared not with other tables but with the predetermined par result.
Par contract
That contract which results from optimal bidding by both sides, and which neither side could improve by further bidding.
(Slang) Partner.
1) A trick score less than 100, obtained by making a contract.
2) The contract that results in that trick score.
3) In rubber bridge, a total of fewer than 100 points below the line.
A part-score.
Partial elimination
An endplay in which declarer is unable to remove all possible safe defensive exit cards, and must hope that the remaining cards are so distributed that the defense cannot get off lead safely.
The other member of the partnership.
1) See pair.
2) Two partners who play together for an extended period.
3) The complete set of agreements entered into by a pair.
Partnership bidding
Sequences in which the opponents do not compete.
Partnership desk
A service, provided by some tournaments, that locates a partner for a player who does not yet have one.
Partnership understanding
An agreement between partners, reached prior to the beginning of play, concerning the meaning of a call or of carding.
1) A call indicating that the player does not wish to change the contract named by the preceding bid, double or redouble. To pass transfers the right to make the next call to passer's LHO, unless it is the third consecutive pass, which ends the bidding (but see Passed out).
2) To play, from third hand, a lower card than the one led to the trick. If declarer leads the ♥J, LHO plays a small heart, and declarer plays the ♥2 from dummy's ♥AQ2, declarer has passed the ♥J.
Pass and pull
To make a forcing pass and on the next round remove partner's double by bidding.
Passed hand
A player who passed instead of opening the bidding. The inference is that a passed hand does not hold the values required to open the bidding (unless playing a strong pass bidding system).
Passed out
1) A deal is passed out if the auction begins with four consecutive passes. There is no contract, no play of the hand, and (at rubber bridge) no score. The players proceed to the next deal.
2) A bid, double, or redouble (an action) is passed out if it is followed by three passes, which end the auction. The last action identifies the contract and the play follows.
Passive defense
An approach to defending a hand that emphasizes waiting for tricks that declarer must eventually lose, getting off lead safely, and avoiding plays that will set up tricks for declarer. Often indicated when neither declarer nor dummy has a running side suit or when the declaring side may have over-reached in the bidding. Contrast with Active.
A bid made in response to partner's ambiguous call. For example, South opens with 1♠ and West bids 2♠, by prior agreement showing hearts and a minor. North passes and East bids 3♣, expecting West to pass if he holds clubs and to correct to diamonds otherwise.
Pass out
1) To make the third of three consecutive passes following a bid, double or redouble.
2) To make the fourth of four consecutive passes. Thus, a bid cannot have been made and the table progresses to the next deal.
3) (Adjective) The seat where a pass would end the auction.
See distribution.
Pearson points
High card points plus number of spades held. See Hand evaluation.
1) A score awarded to the defense when declarer's contract goes down. The size of the penalty depends on the number of tricks that declarer was set, the vulnerability, and whether the contract was doubled, or redoubled. See Score.
2) A remedy assigned by a director to redress damage done by an infraction. The penalty for a minor, procedural infraction might be some number of tricks, matchpoints or IMPs, or disallowing a particular bid or play. A more serious violation of the game's Proprieties may be imposed by barring the offender from an event, a portion of an event, or from organized bridge.
Penalty card
A card, incorrectly exposed by the defense, whose subsequent proper play is governed by certain rules. See major penalty card and minor penalty card.
Penalty double
A call that doubles penalties if opponents fail to make their currently bid contract. Rewards are also doubled, should the contract succeed.
Penalty pass
The pass of an informatory double, to convert it to a penalty double.
Percentage play
A play that is chosen because the mathematics of suit distribution suggests that it is more likely to succeed than an alternative line. Usually said of play in a single suit rather than the hand as a whole.
Personal score
A record of the board number, opposing pair number, contract, declarer, tricks taken, and raw score kept by each player for the boards played by the partnership in a single session. The personal score often appears on the back of the convention card.
(Slang; chiefly British) See Echo. The term is said to derive from Blue Peter, a nautical signal.
Phantom pair
In a pairs movement, if there is an odd number of pairs, then in each round one pair will have to sit out. The missing pair that they would have played is known as the phantom pair.
Phantom sacrifice
A sacrifice bid against a contract that the opponents would not have made. Also, False sacrifice.
(Slang) A hand that is so easy it plays itself. "Pianola" is a trademarked brand of player piano (a piano that plays automatically).
Pick up
1) (Verb) To run a suit without losing a trick in it.
2) (Adjective) Said of a partner who completes a pair, or of a pair that completes a team, just prior to the start of an event.
3) (Adjective) A pick-up slip is one on which the result of a deal is recorded for the purpose of comparative scoring.
The lead of a high card from one hand to capture a singleton of lower rank in an opponent's hand.
1) A spot card.
2) A suit symbol (♠, ♥, , ♣) on a card.
To discard.
1) (Adjective) Of the suit that both defenders must guard in a double squeeze.
2) (Verb) In party bridge, to change partners while remaining at the same table.
3a) (Verb) In duplicate bridge, to play one round in a given direction, and the next round in the opposite direction at the same table
3b) (Noun) In duplicate bridge, a pivot table is a table where each pair will perform a pivot. This can only happen in a Howell movement, or another similar movement, where players move between East-West and North-South during the course of the game.
A French, whist-like card game whose scoring foreshadowed that used in contract bridge.
Plain suit
A suit that is not trump; a side suit.
1) (Noun) The stage of a deal when players attempt to take tricks. The declarer tries to take at least as many tricks as the contract calls for, and the defenders try to prevent that outcome.
2) (Verb) To contribute a card to a trick, either by displaying its face (as in duplicate bridge) or by placing it face up on the table (as in rubber bridge).
Play for
To assume that the opponents have a particular distribution or holding, and to plan and conduct the play on that basis.
1) (Of a contract) A rational, if not necessarily optimal, choice of strain and level.
2) (Of an agreement) Leading to an acceptable result, if not in the best fashion.
Playing tricks
Cards, such as long cards, that will take tricks (usually, for declarer), and that therefore contribute to a hand's strength.
Acronym for Petty Little Odious Bid, another name for New Minor Forcing. The name derives from a diatribe by Alphonse Moyse Jr., in The Bridge World's Master Solver's Club, which described the convention as an "odious, meaningless, petty little bid."
One of four slots in a duplicate board that hold the cards between plays.
Acronym for Pass=0, Double=1. Method for countering interference over Blackwood
1) A scoring unit: e.g., a trick taken by declarer in a minor suit contract scores 20 points.
2) A metric used in hand evaluation, to quantify its strength in high cards and distribution.
3) A metric, such as masterpoints, used in rating players.
Another name for board-a-match.
Point count
A method of hand evaluation which assigns a numeric value to a hand's high cards and distributional features, used as a guideline in bidding.
Pointed suit
Spades or diamonds. The term refers to the shape at the tops of the suit symbols. Contrast with rounded suit.
Portland Club
A bridge club in London which published the first version of the Laws of contract bridge. The club remains part of the ongoing process of revising the laws, along with the ACBL and the EBL, because of the vesting of the copyright.
(Noun) Seat at the table: North, South, East, West; or first, second, third, fourth.
Positional squeeze
A squeeze that can succeed against only a particular opponent, because at least one guard must lie under at least one menace. Compare with automatic squeeze.
Positive response
A bid that announces the possession of at least minimum values. Often said of a response to a forcing opening bid. Compare with negative response.
Post mortem
(Slang) A discussion of a hand, and the nature of the result, after the play has concluded.
An unusually strong hand.
An alert which must be made at the beginning of the round before play begins on the first board. Different national governing organizations may establish different requirements for prealerts. Examples of methods for which the ACBL requires a prealert include the following:
  • An agreement to lead the small card from "xx" on opening lead
  • An agreement (canapé) to bid the shorter of two suits before the longer suit with a two-suited hand
  • An agreement to use any bidding convention that entitles the opponents to consult a written defense during the auction
A bidding system that combines the features of Kaplan-Sheinwold with a strong, artificial 1♣ opening bid.
Preempt or Preemptive Bid (or Raise)
1) A bid (or raise) predicated on length of a suit rather than overall strength, primary function of which is to interfere with the opponents' bidding by taking away bidding space they need to exchange information.
2) (Noun) A bid that has a preemptive effect, regardless of its intent.
A call that returns the bidding to partner's first-bid suit; for example, in 1♥ - 1♠; 2 - 2♥, 2♥ is a preference. A simple, non-jump preference shows neither strength nor support for the suit; it is simply a return to partner's presumably longer suit.
Prepared bid
A bid, often a slight violation of a partnership agreement, that is chosen to avoid a later bidding problem. Playing five-card majors, for example, the decision to open a strong four-card spade suit in preference to a weak five-card heart suit.
Prepared club
See Short club.
Present count
A carding agreement under which a count signal shows the number of cards currently held. In a count-giving situation, a defender might first play the ♥3 from ♥753, and the ♥7 as his second play. Also, "current count."
Principle of restricted choice
A guideline to the play of the hand, concerning the probability of the location of key cards in the unseen hands.
The movement of players and deals between rounds in an event.
Progressive squeeze
A squeeze in three suits that, when it matures, results in a new squeezed position in two suits.
1) In the play, to cause a card to become a winner.
2) In the bidding, to assign a higher value to a card, or to the hand as a whole, as a result of earlier calls made by partner or by the opponents.
A section of the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge that describes, in general terms, proper conduct as to the exchange of information concerning a hand, as to attitude and etiquette, as to partnership agreements, and as to spectators' conduct.
See balance.
See appeal.
Pseudo squeeze
A position that, to a defender, appears to be a true squeezed position, but is not. Declarer hopes that the defender will misplay as a result. The literature often gives as an example a position in which declarer has a void in dummy's apparent suit of entry.
Psych, psyche, psychic, or psychic bid
A call that grossly misstates high card strength or distribution, made so as to deceive the opponents. The Laws specify that psychic bids themselves are legal. It is, however, a violation to infer and fail to disclose that partner has psyched, when the inference is based on partnership agreement or experience. Sponsoring organizations regulate the use of certain psychic bids.
Psychic control
A bid that, by partnership agreement, announces that the player's previous bid was a psychic.
1) To remove the opponents' trumps.
2) To remove partner's double.
To force out an opponent's trump, usually by means of a forcing defense.
A transfer bid that requests partner to make a minimum bid in a particular suit.
1) (Verb) To force the opponents to make any subsequent call at a level higher than they have as yet.
2) (Noun) A tied board in a pairs or team duplicate event.

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