Photo of dismayed orangutan

We have very well developed facial muscles designed to help us communicate with the merest twitch. Bridge however limits authorized information to the legal calls made and cards played. The merest gesture, heistation, or sigh can convey unauthorized information.

Twitches, pauses and body movements happen - so what can be done?


  • Players should aspire to an even tempo and a poker face (and body) during the bidding and play - talk about disappointments or surprises after the game. 
  • Despite even tempo and a good poker face, some players, attuned to their regular partners, will still pick up unauthorized information that might suggest bidding or playing one or other of the alternatives open to them.
  • The Laws of Bridge here are relatively straight-forward. Whenever unauthorized information (even if unintended) from your partner suggests one logical alternative over another, a player may not choose that alternative.
  • A player can call the director if he or she feels that an opponent's choice may have been affected by such unauthorized information. The director will consider the situation and make a decision, sometimes with the help of uninvolved experienced players as to whether other logical alternatives existed.
  • More important than any director adjustment to the outcome may be our development of a reputation among our peers as a person that plays the game appropriately - and aspires to win based on skill rather than unauthorized information.

This article was written in response to a request from a member.