Big Hand Bidding

Big Hand Bidding

Posted by Marti Ronemus on Sep 9th 2021

My last blog entry about bidding in the minors brought this email from a Faithful Reader. To follow our “discussion,” I’ve inserted my comments throughout his letter. We’ll call him Tommy.

Hi Marti. Your lesson today reminded me of a duplicate board (that I shuffled, of all things) from a cruise get-together from a few years ago. I had a 20-point hand that included ♦︎AKQJ.

Hey there, Tommy! First, I’m dazzled by your memory. I can’t remember yesterday’s hand! BUT!! I must add I am always suspicious when someone deals themselves a 20 pt hand! Hmmm.

RHO opened 1♥︎. I bid 2♦︎. LHO bid 2♠︎. Partner passed. RHO bid 3♠︎. I bid 4♦︎, and all passed. Partner had ♦︎10xxx exactly 6 points (an A and Q), and I made the contract exactly, rather easily. I had planned on opening 2♦︎, strong, but didn’t get to do that.

With 26 pts, you darn right SHOULD have made that contract! No applause here.

I do remember of the 5 tables, all the contracts were different. 2 or 3 went down (one at NT, the others at suits), and 1 or 2 made at the 2-level. Do you agree that I bid right, or did I just get lucky? Should partner have raised to 3 diamonds? And lastly, how unusual is it to get a different contract at every table in duplicate??!!!

Well, Tommy, I’d much rather be lucky than good. You did tap into your Luck Bank for this one. Here is a fundamental “rule” (if there is such a thing in bridge!): An Overcall promises between 7-17 pts. You had 20. Tommy, you cannot bid the same thing with 20 pts that you would with 7.

With a BIG hand like that, you begin with a Double. Pard will think you’ve got a plain old TakeOut Double, but when you make your next bid, you will show him you’ve got the Monster when you jump, or change suits, or do something else dramatic.

One other important point. You play Strong 2 Openers, rather than the more common Weak Twos. That’s perfectly okay, but if you’re gonna play something, you gotta play it right. 2♦︎ is ONLY strong (in your system) if it is the FIRST BID ON THE TABLE or a jump over 2♣︎. Bidding 2♦︎ as your first bid does NOT make it strong!!

Now, as to Pard’s pass. He did the right thing. Opposite your piddly little Overcall, he had absolutely NO reason to bid. You couldn’t (according to your bid) have had more than 17-ish pts (remember, an overcall is 7-17), and add that to his 6, you only get 23 pts. You could have had a heck of a lot less!!

As to your question about whether it is common to see a different result at every table. I ran a bridge club for 18 years, and directed over 3000 games. It is VERY common for that to happen. When I would be entering scores, I would be on the lookout for those hands, since they always had a nugget of interest and confusion that would make a good lesson for the next day’s warmup.

Now, while I don’t applaud your actual bidding sequence, I DO applaud your fascination with our game, that a hand would remain in your mind all this time. And I DO applaud your eagerness to expand your knowledge in our wonderful game.

And Finally, a CRASS COMMERCIAL MESSAGE. For more help on those gigantic hands, you might want to add my set “BIG HAND BIDDING” from the BridgeBee library. Also, if you put “Weak Twos” in the search line, you will have lots of help transitioning to the more modern treatment if that’s what you might want.

Meantime, please stay in touch as I LOVE to hear from Faithful Readers. And buy LOTS of BridgeBee sets to help you grow your game.

Marti Ronemus