Main   Bridge Basics 1U01 by Richard Pavlicek  

Lesson 10

Bidding After a Raise

This lesson explains the procedure to follow after partner has raised your suit. Rather than memorize point-count tables for every possible situation, it is easier — and more productive to your bridge education — if you reason out each case as it arises. This will get the right thought processes working so you can make the correct bid by logic.

Revalue your Hand

If you will become the declarer (not the dummy) at a trump contract, you may be able to count additional points if you have at least five cards in your trump suit. The following points, if applicable, should be added to your previous point count:

If You HaveYou May Add
5+ trumps1 point if 5 not promised
2 points for each card over 5
4+ side suit1 point for each card over 3

To illustrate, assume you open the bidding 1 C, 1 D, 1 H and 1 S, respectively, with hands A-D and partner raises your suit.

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

14 original + 1 for 5th club + 1 for 4th spade = 16 points

B. S A J 4
H A K 2
D Q 9 8 7 5 4
C 10

16 original + 1 for 5th diamond + 2 for 6th diamond = 19 points

C. S A 8 3
H A Q 8 7 5 4
D 8 4
C K 7

15 original + 2 for 6th heart = 17 points (5th heart was promised)

D. S A K 6 3 2
D K 10 2
C A 9 6 5 4

17 original + 1 for 4th club + 1 for 5th club = 19 points

After a Major Suit Raise

If partner raises your major suit, it’s your lucky day! You have found the right trump suit; the only question that remains is how high to bid. This is determined by adding your point count (after revaluation) to the point range shown by partner.

First add your point count to partner’s maximum. If this total is less than 26, game is out of reach. You should pass. You are in the proper contract; if you bid any higher, you will probably be set.

Next add your point count to partner’s minimum*. If this total is less than 26, game is possible. You should bid three of the raised major suit to invite partner to bid game. Partner should bid four if his strength is in the upper half of the range shown; otherwise, partner should pass.

If your point count plus partner’s minimum equals 26 or more, game is assured. You should bid four of the raised major suit unless there is a chance for slam (see Lesson 11).

Below is a summary of the rebids after a major-suit raise:

If Game IsCall
Out of reachPass
Possible3 of raised major
Assured4 of raised major

*When considering partner’s minimum, if the point range he has shown consists of four or more possibilities, you should not assume the absolute worst. For example, if partner showed 6 to 10 points (five possibilities), estimate his minimum at 7 points.

After a Minor Suit Raise

If partner raises your minor suit, the situation is more complicated because of the low priority of minor-suit contracts. If you expect to bid game in a minor suit, you will need 29 points or more. But wait! It may be possible to bid game in notrump, which requires only 26 points.

Which goal should you use? The answer generally depends on your hand pattern. With a balanced hand you should aim for the 26-point game. With an unbalanced hand your prospects in notrump are bleak so your goal is 29 points — but do not forget to revalue your hand.

If game (whatever your goal) is out of reach, you should pass. Even if the contract is not ideal, any attempt to improve it is likely to get you overboard and make matters worse.

If game is possible but not assured, you may bid two notrump with a stopper in each unbid suit (or with 4-3-3-3 pattern) to invite partner to go to three notrump. Or you may bid three of the raised minor to invite partner to bid game in the minor suit.

If game is assured, you may bid three notrump with a stopper in each unbid suit (or with 4-3-3-3 pattern). Or you may bid five of the raised minor suit.

Here is a summary of the rebids after a minor-suit raise:

If Game IsCall
Out of reachPass
Possible2 NT or 3 of minor
Assured3 NT or 5 of minor

When in Doubt…

Occasionally you will find that there is no bid to describe your hand perfectly, either because it does not exist or because you have not learned it yet. In that event you should choose the bid that is nearest in meaning. Also, there is more to be gained by bidding game than there is by stopping just below game. In other words:

If you have a close decision whether to bid game, take a chance and bid it.


Quiz 10

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. None VulYouPartner
S A K Q 22 H
H Q 9 8 7 2
D Q 3
C 10 2

2. N-S VulYouPartner
S 22 D
H A 8 6 5
D K J 8 6 2
C A K 2

3. E-W VulYouPartner
S A K 9 8 7 52 S
H 3
D A Q 9 2
C 4 2

4. Both VulYouPartner
S K 32 C
H A Q 8 2
D K 10 3
C A K 5 2

5. N-S VulYouPartner
S 10 42 H
H A J 9 8 4
D K 2
C K Q J 7

6. E-W VulYouPartner
S A 10 5 42 D
H K J 7 2
D Q 9 2
C K 3


Now assume your partner opens the bidding and makes the rebid shown. Fill in the response and the rebid you would make.

7. Both VulPartnerYou
S 9 7 51 S
H A Q 9 2
D 4 23 S
C 10 8 4 3

8. None VulPartnerYou
S Q J 9 61 D
H 10 4
D K Q 7 52 S
C A 8 2

9. E-W VulPartnerYou
S K J 21 C
H A 8 2
D K J 9 62 D
C 9 7 5

10. Both VulPartnerYou
S 9 7 51 D
H 2
D A Q 10 7 53 D
C 10 8 6 4

11. None VulPartnerYou
S A J 9 7 31 H
H Q 2
D 4 23 S
C 9 7 4 2

12. N-S VulPartnerYou
S 21 C
H A Q 9 8 6
D 9 8 6 52 H
C J 10 7


© 2012 Richard Pavlicek