Main   Bridge Basics 1T69 by Richard Pavlicek  

Lesson 5

Rebids by Opener

In the last lesson you were taught how to respond to an opening bid of one of a suit. The next step in the bidding is opener’s second bid or, as it is commonly known, opener’s rebid.

It would not be appropriate in a basic bridge book to explain opener’s rebids after every possible response, so we will concentrate on the most common situation: Opener’s rebids after a response at the one level — one diamond, one heart, one spade or one notrump.

You will discover that rebids in other situations are similar to the ones described here, so a firm understanding of these rules will give you a solid background from which to expand.

Raising Responder’s Suit

Usually the most desirable rebid by opener is to raise the suit bid by responder. This is common when the response is a major suit, but it is also possible when the response is one diamond.

Opener should have four trumps to raise since responder promised only a four-card suit when he bid at the one level. Basically, the more strength opener has, the higher the level he should raise.

PointsTrumpsRaise to
13-154+ (rarely 3)2 level
16-184+3 level
19+4+4 level

Note that opener will become the dummy so he should use the “5-3-1” formula (see Lesson 4) to count distributional points.

New Suit Rebids

If opener has four or more cards in an unbid suit (a suit that has not been bid), it may be convenient to bid that suit. This is almost mandatory when opener has a four-card major suit that can be shown conveniently at the one level.

The basic structure is summarized below:

PointsSuit LengthRebid
13-184+Cheapest bid in suit
19+4+Jump in suit

If opener names a new suit at the two level, he should have an unbalanced hand — else a rebid in notrump (described later) would usually be more appropriate. Further, if the suit is higher ranking than opener’s first suit, it requires at least 16 points (called a “reverse bid” but do not worry about this for now). In other words, with 13-15 points opener may only bid a new suit at the two level that is lower ranking than his original suit.

When opener jumps in a new suit it is called a jump shift rebid and it is forcing to game.*

*The astute student may observe that the partnership is not certain to hold 26 points (19 + 6 = 25), but the odds are overwhelming that opener and responder do not have exactly 19 and 6 points, respectively. Point-count bidding cannot be 100-percent accurate because of the limited number of bids available.

Rebidding Your Original Suit

Opener also may rebid the same suit in which he opened the bidding. This usually requires at least six cards. With only a five-card suit always look for some other rebid option. Do not form the habit of rebidding five-card suits or you will be tagged as a bad bridge player.

As usual, the stronger opener’s hand is, the higher he is allowed to bid. The following table summarizes the options:

PointsSuit LengthRebid
13-156+ (rarely 5)2 of your suit
16-186+3 of your suit
19+7+ (rarely 6)4 of your suit

Notrump Rebids

It is common for opener to rebid in notrump. The meanings of these rebids depend on whether the response is a suit or notrump because opener will have different options available in each case.

If the response is one of a suit:

PointsHand PatternRebid
13-15Balanced1 NT
19-20Balanced2 NT

If the response is one notrump:

PointsHand PatternRebid
13-15Balanced or tamePass
16-18Tame2 NT
19+Balanced or tame3 NT

I use the word “tame” to describe almost balanced hand patterns such as 4-4-4-1, 5-4-2-2, 5-4-3-1, 6-3-2-2 and 6-3-3-1 shape. Some of these hands may be awkward to describe with other rebids, and opener should be satisfied to become the dummy in a notrump contract.

Note in the above two tables that there is no provision to show a balanced hand of 16-18 points. Who needs it! You would open the bidding one notrump with that hand in the first place.


Quiz 5

Assume you are the dealer on each hand. Fill in your opening bid and the rebid you would make. Partner’s response is shown in each case.

Enter calls as: 1H 2C 3N 4S 6D P

1. YouPartner
S A 6 21 S
H K Q 10
D A J 8
C J 9 5 4

2. YouPartner
S Q 8 7 61 H
H A K 2
D K 10 9 7 4
C 6

3. YouPartner
S A J 51 D
H K Q 7
D K 4 3
C A Q 9 6

4. YouPartner
S K 61 S
H A K J 8 6 4
D J 10 8
C A 2

5. YouPartner
S A Q J 21 H
H K Q 9 4
D A K 3
C 7 4

6. YouPartner
H K 8 7 2
D A J 10 9 6 5
C 2


7. YouPartner
S K J 8 61 S
H K Q 10 7
D K 7 5 3
C 2

8. YouPartner
S 6 41 D
H A K 8 7
D A 2
C A Q J 9 8

9. YouPartner
S A 21 S
H 7 5
D A K 10 6 5
C K 8 7 4

10. YouPartner
S K Q J 9 7 5 41 NT
H A K 2
D K 2
C 3

11. YouPartner
S A 10 6 21 NT
H A K 8 6 2
D Q 8
C 9 7

12. YouPartner
S Q 9 31 NT
H A 2
D A K Q 8 5 4


© 2014 Richard Pavlicek