What are the Bridge Laws on Penalty Cards
You may not realise the significance of this law. The following information explains what you need to be aware of when a card is accidentally exposed, prior to or during the Auction.
If the dropped card is not in a position for the player’s partner to have seen its face – and all players agree – the card is returned to hand without further penalty. The Director does not need to be called.
If players disagree, the Director is called, and will rule as to whether the exposed card was in a position for the player’s partner to have seen the face of the card(s). The dropped card(s) is/are left on the table face up, and bidding continues.
When the auction closes, if the player with the dropped card(s) becomes the Declarer or Dummy, the card(s) are returned to hand without further penalty. The Declarer and Dummy can never have penalty cards.
If the dropped card(s) belong to a Defender, then the exposed card(s) become either a Major or Minor Penalty Card.
- A Minor Penalty Card is a single card, exposed accidentally, which is below the rank of an Honour. (That is, a 9 or under).
- An Honour card (A, K, Q, J or 10) is always a Major Penalty Card, however it is exposed.
- If more than one card is accidentally exposed, even if the cards are below the rank of a 10, they are deemed as Major Penalty Cards.
Minor and Major Penalty Cards invoke different rules, in terms of how and when they can be played. Cards must be left face up on the table until the Director advises how to proceed.