Jim Winkle's Bridge Bidding Conventions

I read the first edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge and follow it closely (I highly recommend this book! Here's the third edition in the library). These conventions follow modern Standard American bidding, plus most elements from Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC).

If you don't know how to evaluate your hand for High Card Points (HCP, e.g. 4 points for Ace, 3 for King, 2 for Queen, 1 for Jack) and other points (especially shortness in suits, e.g. 5 for void, 2 for singleton), read this article first.

Here are my bidding conventions (with links to more info), but first, the key. Numbers 5 and 6 don't come up very often.


Bridge bidding conventions:

  1. Five card majors, convenient minors. With at least 12 points (preferably 13+)...
  2. 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 good hand!
  3. Weak 2's. Weak 2's is a preemptive bid; I will bid at the 2 level (but not 2C... see #5 below) if I am long in a suit, but weak in points. I'm hoping my partner has points, so please pass unless you have a great hand, then keep bidding until we agree on a suit.
  4. 1NT with 15-17 HCP (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 five card major suit like this since it's such a descriptive bid.
  5. 2 Clubs strong and artificial means I have 22+ points. Please do not pass (bid 2D if you have dreck). Otherwise, bid a four card major suit or NT if you have a balanced hand.
  6. When I'm thinking about slam, Blackwood (4NT) when in a trump suit or Gerber (4C) when in NT. These bids are asking how many Aces you have. If you have 0 (or all 4), respond one above my bid: 4C for Blackwood, 4D for Gerber. If you have 1, 2, or 3, respond 4 D/H, H/S, S/NT (Blackwood/Gerber). If I then bid 5NT/5C (Blackwood/Gerber), I'm asking how many Kings you have. Respond in a similar way as for Aces. Then I'll place the final bid and we'll hopefully be in (small?) slam to win extra points.
  7. If you open and I have opening points, I'll jump to the next level to let you know that. Keep bidding until we agree on a suit or NT.
  8. I play for score. That means sometimes I'll overbid to try to prevent the opps from winning the bid.
  9. If I open and you can make 3NT (25 points needed between us), please bid it (not just 2NT). This goes for other ways of making game, too.
  10. When bidding, I add extra shortage points I have 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.