Bridge suits refers to the ranking of the four suits in a standard deck of playing cards, with the ranking being derived from the game of Contract Bridge.
In order from highest suit to lowest, the suits are:
- Spades (♠)
- Hearts (♥)
- Diamonds (♦)
- Clubs (♣)
Bridge suits are not used often in poker. Generally, cards are considered equal if their rank is equal, and ties are not broken; instead, pots are split among tying players. However, there are a few cases in poker where a single winner must be determined, and in those instances bridge suits are used to break ties between cards of equivalent rank.
Cases where bridge suits are used include:
- Determining which player gets the dealer button when a new game is started. This is called "carding for the button", and consists of the dealer (or a player, in a home game) spreading a shuffled deck face down on the table. Each player selects one card and turns it face up. The player with the highest ranking card gets the button, and in the case of a tie in rank, the player with the highest ranking suit of that card gets the button. Thus, the highest possible card in this case is the Ace of spades (A♠)
- Determining which player is seated first after a broken game in a casino. The player drawing the highest card is seated first, then the player drawing the next-highest card, and so forth. Bridge suit is used to break ties.
- Determining which player is moved from one table in a tournament to another in order to maintain a tournament balance. The dealer shuffles and then deals one upcard to each player at the too-full table; the player with the highest upcard is moved to the too-empty table.
- Determining who in a game of Seven-card stud is forced to make the bring-in bet, after the initial deal. The low-card bring-in in seven-stud high or hi-lo, or the high-card bring-in in razz, are determined by bridge suit when rank is tied. Again, the deuce (2) is the lowest ranking card, and ties are broken by using bridge suits, so the deuce of clubs (2♣) is the lowest possible card.
- Some cardrooms have rather arcane procedures for awarding the extra chip when the pot cannot be equally divided. These can involve bridge suit. For example, the Borgata would split an odd-dollar pot by giving the extra dollar to the player with the highest (playing?) hole card; suit is used in this determination. For example, with two players tied for the best poker hand in hold 'em, A ♠ K♦ would get the extra chip versus A ♥ K♠
Bridge suits are not used when determining winning hands at the showdown in poker. If one player has a Royal Flush in spades and another player has a Royal Flush in hearts, the hands are considered tied, and the pot is split between the two winners.