Duplicate bridge is the most widely used variation of contract bridge in club and tournament play. It is called duplicate because the same bridge deal (i.e. the specific arrangement of the 52 cards into the four hands) is played at each table and scoring is based on relative performance. In this way, every hand, whether strong or weak, is played in competition with others playing identical cards, and the element of skill is heightened while that of chance is reduced. Duplicate bridge stands in contrast to rubber bridge where each hand is freshly dealt and where scores may be more affected by chance in the short run.
In duplicate bridge, a player normally plays with the same partner throughout an event. The two are known as a “pair”. There are two exceptions: in team events with up to six members swapping partners for portions of the event, and in individual tournaments, in which players change partners for each round.