# Counting Points

High-Card Points.      The quickest way to determine the strength of your hand is to count the high-card points (HCP). Here's how it works:

 Count 4 points for each Ace. Count 3 points for each King. Count 2 points for each Queen. Count 1 point for each Jack.

Distribution Points.      It is also common to count extra points for good distribution. The simplest method is counting points for short suits:

 Count 3 points for each Void Count 2 points for each Singleton. Count 1 point for each Doubleton.

Problem Suits.      Certain combinations of high cards are worth less in short suits:

 Problem Suits • K, Q, or J singletons. • KQ, KJ, or QJ doubletons. • Qx or Jx doubletons.

My recommendation for such suits is:

 In a "problem" suit, you may count either HCP or distribution, but not both.

For example, a KQ doubleton is worth 5 points (for the K and Q), and a J singleton is worth 2 points (for the singleton).

Points Required for Game.      Here is the approximate number of points you and your partner need to make various game contracts:

 Major-Suit Game (4 or 4): 25 points Notrump Game (3NT): 25 HCP Minor-Suit Game (5 or 5): 28 points

Note that only HCP are helpful for notrump: since you cannot trump anything, short suits are not an asset in a notrump contract.

# Scoring

The basic scoring formula is as follows:

 50 points for making a contract + 10 extra for notrump + 20 / trick in a minor suit + 30 / trick in a major suit or notrump + 250 bonus for bidding and making game

NOTE:    For most contracts, your score depends on what you make, not what you bid. For example, 1 making 3 and 3 making 3 are both worth 140 (50 + 3 × 30). The exception is game contracts: you must bid and make a game contract to get the 250 point bonus.