Jim Winkle's bridge bidding conventions

I read The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge and follow it closely (I highly recommend this book!). If you don't know how to evaluate your hand for High Card Points (HCP) and other points, read this article first. Here are my bidding conventions:

  1. 5 card majors, convenient minors. With at least 12 points, if I have five cards in a major suit (H, S), I will bid it. If you have 3 cards in my major suit, please support my bid right away. Showing your minor suit will only give opps extra info. If I don't have five cards in a major suit, I will bid my best minor suit (C, D).
  2. If I respond 1NT to your minor opening, it means I have (at least) 6-9 points but fewer than 4 cards in a major suit. If your hand is strong, go to 2NT. If my hand is strong, I'll take us to game (3NT).
  3. 15-17 HCP for 1NT (occasionally more points), balanced hand with no voids or singletons, and no more than more than two doubletons. I'll even open a hand with a 5 card major suit like this since it's such a descriptive bid.
  4. Take-out double (X). If my RHO bids and I am short (or sometimes long) in the suit they bid, I will X. Please do not pass if your RHO passes, no matter how bad your hand is. However, if your RHO bids and you bid, I will assume you have a great hand!
  5. Weak 2's. Weak 2's is a preemptive bid; I will bid at the 2 level if I am long in a suit, but weak in points. I'm assuming/hoping my partner has points, so please pass unless you have a great hand, then keep bidding until we agree on a suit.
  6. 2 clubs strong and artificial means I have 22+ points. Please do not pass (bid 2D if you have dreck). Otherwise, bid a 4-card major suit or NT if you have a balanced hand.
  7. Blackwood (4NT) when in a trump suit, Gerber (4C) when in NT. Asking for # of aces, then kings.
  8. I play for points (not game).
  9. If I open and you can make 3NT, please bid it (not just 2NT). This goes for other ways of making game, too.
  10. When bidding, I double shortage points in opps' suit; this is a neat trick that usually works well.


If you bid differently, please let me know... I'm somewhat flexible.

I'm open to suggestions and constructive criticism.