BBO (Bridge Base Online)
Register with BridgeBase Online. You username can be an alias.
Try looking at a few online games first (Kibitzing) to see what the whole thing looks like. (Under `Help Me Find a Game-Watch’, click on `Casual’, and then `Take me to an Interesting Table’)
Set Up a Game With Your Friends
To set up a game with your friends, first agree a start time with them all, and make sure you know their BBO names. About 10 minutes before the start time, under the Tab,` Find Your Own Game’, click `Start A Table’. I suggest you make the Table invisible, or at least disbar Kibitzing, and disbar strangers sitting in, by requiring permission to Kibitz and Play. Then reserve the seats for who you are going to play with and against. Then click start casual game. When they login, they will be invited to the table. The default is random deals, as you can see under the Menu Icon on the top left (Three horizontal bars). When everyone is at the table, the deals should commence automatically, but you can click on redeal to speed things up, or skip a board for any reason.
When it is your turn to bid your bidding options appear before you. (You alert your own artificial bids, with the alert button) If you click the wrong bid, then click UNDO (Under the Menu Icon), and your opponents will usually agree. When it is your turn to play, click on the appropriate card. (BBO will not let you renege!). If you wish to claim a contract, click on the claim button, and choose your desired option. The opponents will either agree or contest your claim.
You can communicate with the Table (everyone) or with just your opponents, by typing comments in the text box at the bottom of the screen, selecting the recipients, and hitting return( or `Chat’).
You can set up a practice table with your partner for bidding, and you can set some conditions for the types of hands you went to practice on, or you can try some of their problem hands (Bridge Master)
Playing With Others
You can just try and join a table and play, but you need to be a bit braver for this. Many of the other players will use a system called Standard American, and you may not know the standard of your partner or opponents. You can also join tournaments and play in them.
Vugraph is a system of relaying major (and sometimes minor) competitions from around the world. If there is a live game, you can click and see the live bidding and play. So for instance the Camrose Home Intenationals are broadcast on Vugraph, and when they are on you can see the Irish Team playing. Unfortunately, at present, almost all tournaments are postponed, so sometimes the best you can do is try and look at archived games. (I’ve had trouble accessing their archives in recent days -- the system is timing out.)