The rule of seven was created and implemented separately by two bridge personalities. One is Mr. Robert M. Berthe of France, who is a published author of bridge book(s). Mr. Gerald Fox of Napa, California, United States, bridge expert, teacher, and author, also independently devised the rule of seven.

Note: Any additional information about the bridge personality of Mr. Gerald (Gerry) Fox, especially photographic material, would be greatly appreciated.

Mr. Robert Berthe co-authored with Mr. Norbert Lebely the publication Bridge, Step by Step Card Play in No Trumps. The translator is Mr. Barry Seabrook and was first published in the year 1981.

A re-print was published in February 1997 by the publisher B.T. Batsford Ltd.. ISBN-10: 0713480513 / ISBN-13: 978-0713480511. This is a new edition in the Step-by-Step series of a book first published in 1981. It includes 50 deals in progressive order of difficulty presenting the full range of typical problems, challenges and opportunities that occur in No Trump contracts. How many sure tricks are there? What are the options? Where are the extra tricks coming from? How to establish them? Each commentary concludes with a guiding principle.

Another re-print occurred in the year 1981 also by the publishing house of B.T. Batsford Ltd. ISBN-10: 071348051 and ISBN-10: 0713441542, LC: 82141183. The Foreword is by Mr. Jose le Dentu and is translated by Mr. Barry Seabrook.


These two bridge players were wondering if it would be preferable for the declarer to hold up or duck an Ace. Once a question is formulated, then the bridge player will always find a solution. The foundation of the rule of seven is whether the declarer should hold up an Ace.

After experimenting with many bridge combinations, which were played by the declarer, recorded, and examined the two gentlemen arrived at the following conclusion.

Solution: Following the lead by the opponent, if the declarer subtracts from 7 (seven) the total number of combined cards in that suit in his own hand and the dummy, then the result is the number of times declarer should hold up with his Ace.

An example of the workings of this concept follows.


West leads the 7. The declarer has A-9-8 (in that suit) and the dummy has 4-2 (in that suit). Combined the declarer and the dummy have 5 cards in this particular suit. Declarer subtracts the number of the combined cards (5) from the number 7, and two times is the number of times declarer should hold up with his Ace.

Note: This action is only possible if the declarer has the needed length to hold up with the Ace.

Note: Some partnerships have agreed to play the rule of seven only when declaring No Trump contracts. BridgeHands.com presents a detailed schematic as a guideline for the declarer:

When playing a No Trump contract with losers in opponents' suit and insufficient quick tricks to guarantee the contract, considering the rule of seven is useful to disrupt communications between opponents.

Rule of 7   Combined Cards   Number of time to hold up
7   4 (i.e.: 3+1 or 2+2)   7 - 4 = hold up 3 times.
7   5 (i.e.:3+2)   7 - 5 = hold up 2 times.
7   7 (i.e.: (4+2 or 3+3)   7 - 6 = hold up 1 time.

Note: It is a matter of partnership agreement whether or not to employ the rule of seven either only by suit contracts, or only by No Trump contracts, or both suit and No Trump contracts.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.