Main     Lesson 3H by Richard Pavlicek    

Takeout Doubles

The takeout double is one of the most versatile tools in the bidding. It can be used at a player’s first turn as well as on subsequent rounds of bidding. The key is to know when a double is for takeout and when it is for penalty.

This lesson covers the common takeout double of one of a suit, and the rules to determine the meaning of doubles in other situations.

Double of One of a Suit

If your right-hand opponent opens with one of a suit, a double is for takeout asking partner to bid.

A takeout double requires 13+ points with 3+ cards in each unbid suit; or 19+ points with any hand pattern.

Do not count the queen or jack in the enemy suit to make a 13-point double; these cards will disappoint partner.

Partner should respond at the cheapest level with 0-9 points.

1.
S 9 5 4 2
H 7 3
D Q 10 9 3
C 8 6 5
TableS A 3
H K 9 8 4
D A K 8
C 9 7 4 3

West

2 D
North
1 S
Pass
East
Dbl
Pass
South
Pass

East doubles for takeout and West bids his longest suit. East should not bid again because West may have no points at all.

A response of 1 NT shows 6-9 HCP and the enemy suit stopped.

2.
S 4 3
H Q J 9 8
D 8 6 3
C A 8 7 2
TableS K Q 10 6
H 7 2
D A K 9 2
C 10 6 3

West

1 NT
North
1 H
Pass
East
Dbl
Pass
South
Pass

West could respond 2 C but it is preferable to bid 1 NT with a balanced hand and a heart stopper.

A response made freely (after an enemy bid) shows 6-9 points.

3.
S 10 9 8 2
H A 8 4 2
D Q 7 2
C 4 3
TableS J 7 5 3
H 7
D A K 6 4
C K 9 5 2

West

2 S
North
1 H
Pass
East
Dbl
Pass
South
2 H

West’s 2 S response shows 6-9 points since he should pass 2 H with 0-5 points.

With 10 to 12 points make a jump response. This is invitational to game but nonforcing.

4.
S 4 3
H J 10 9 2
D K Q 5 3
C A 8 2
TableS K Q 9 2
H Q 7 4
D A J 10 2
C 4 3

West

2 H
North
1 C
Pass
East
Dbl
Pass
South
Pass

West is forced to bid with no points so he jumps in his major suit — only four cards are necessary — to invite game. East has a minimum double so he passes.

5.
S K J 10 2
H K 3
D 9 2
C Q 10 9 4 3
TableS A Q 9 5
H A 8 7 2
D 4 3
C K J 2

West

3 S
North
1 D
Pass
East
Dbl
4 S
South
2 D

In competition it is still necessary to jump to show 10-12 points. East accepts the invitation with his 15-point double.

With 13+ points bid game or cue-bid the enemy suit to force.

6.
S A J 8 2
H Q J 9 8 6
D K 10 3
C 2
TableS 4
H K 10 7 5
D A 9 7 6
C K J 9 3

West

4 H
North
1 S
Pass
East
Dbl
Pass
South
Pass

West is confident of the best contract so he bids it. Note that West assumes at least 3 card heart support from East’s double.

7.
S A Q 5 4
H Q 6 2
D A J 6 5
C 9 2
TableS K 8 2
H A K 7 5
D 7 2
C Q J 10 8

West

2 D
2 S
3 NT
North
1 D
Pass
Pass
Pass
East
Dbl
2 H
3 C
Pass
South
Pass
Pass
Pass

West is not sure of the best contract so he cue-bids the enemy suit. After that all bids are forcing; when no fit is found, West bids 3 NT with his diamond stopper.

How can you make a free bid with only two points?
Once I’ve paid the entry, all my bids are free.

Rebids by Doubler

Typically the takeout doubler will pass at his next turn. A strong hand is required to bid further.

When partner shows 0-9 points, doubler may raise with 16-18 points and four trumps. All other rebids show 19+ points.

8.
S 8
H Q 8 7 3
D A 9 8 7 2
C 9 7 2
TableS A 7 6 2
H A K J 9
D 5 4 3
C A 3

West

1 H
3 H
North
1 C
Pass
Pass
East
Dbl
2 H
4 H
South
Pass
Pass

West prefers to bid his major suit, and East raises to show 16-18 points. West invites game and East accepts.

9.
S J 10 3
H J 3
D 9 7 6 4 2
C 9 6 2
TableS A K 2
H A Q 9 8 7
D 3
C A 10 8 4

West

1 S
North
1 D
Pass
East
Dbl
2 H
South
Pass

The 1 S bid looks weird but West should not pass with less than Q-J-10-x-x in the enemy suit. East shows 19+ points.

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Double of a Response

The double of an enemy response (including 1 NT) to an opening bid of one of a suit is for takeout provided the doubler’s partner did not bid or double.

The requirements to double a response are the same as to double the opening suit bid.

10.
S K J 10 3
H 4 3
D A J 4 3
C K Q 2
TableS 6 2
H A 8 6 2
D K 10 9 7
C 5 4 3

West

Dbl
North
1 H
2 H
East
Pass
3 D
South
1 NT

West’s double is just like a double of a 1 H opening. East competes freely to 3 D which suggests 6-9 points since he would pass with less.

11.
S K 9 7 4
H
D A K 10 6
C J 9 7 5 2
TableS Q 8 6 5 3
H 9 7 5 2
D Q 7 2
C 3

West

Dbl
North
1 H
4 H
East
Pass
4 S
South
3 H
Dbl

West’s double of 3 H is for takeout and here it leads to an excellent sacrifice bid in 4 S; in fact, 4 S might even make with a little bit of luck.

If the opponents have bid two suits, the doubler should have at least four cards in each unbid suit (else 16+ points).

12.
S 9 2
H K J 10 7
D 9 2
C A K 9 8 3
TableS 8 6 4 3
H Q 9 2
D A 8 6 5 3
C 2

West

Dbl
North
1 D
Pass
East
Pass
2 H
South
1 S

With a minimum-strength double West must have at least 4-4 in hearts and clubs. Note that East bids a 3 card heart suit rather than bid 1 NT without a spade stopper.

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Belated Doubles

A takeout double may be made by a player who has opened the bidding with one of a suit, overcalled in a suit, made a takeout double, or even passed at his previous turn. The following conditions must always be met:

The doubler’s partner has never bid or doubled.
The enemy bid is a natural suit bid no higher than 4 D.
At least one suit is unbid.

13.
S A Q 7
H A K Q 7 2
D 4
C K 9 8 4
TableS J 9 6 4 3
H 4 3
D 10 8 7 2
C 6 3

West
1 H
Dbl
North
Pass
Pass
East
Pass
2 S
South
2 D

West’s double is for takeout, showing a strong opening with support (3+ cards) for each unbid suit. East simply bids his longest suit and the best contract is reached.

14.
S A 9 7
H A K 7 2
D A K J 8
C 4 2
TableS J 8 6 2
H 6 4 3
D Q 10 2
C 10 8 3

West
1 D
Dbl
North
1 S
Pass
East
Pass
2 D
South
2 C

West shows a strong opening bid with support for hearts (the unbid suit). East does not have a heart suit so he returns to opener’s original suit.

15.
S K 10 6 2
H 7 5 3
D 3
C Q 9 7 3 2
TableS 5
H A 9 8
D A K 8 6 4 2
C K J 4

West

Pass
3 C
North
1 S
Pass
Pass
East
2 D
Dbl
Pass
South
2 S
Pass

East’s double is for takeout. This shows a maximum overcall (16-18 points) with 3+ cards in each unbid suit. West cannot support diamonds so he bids his clubs.

16.
S 6 5 2
H 10 7 5 3
D J 7 5 3
C 9 2
TableS 4 3
H A K J 8
D A K 2
C K J 10 3

West

Pass
3 H
North
1 S
2 S
Pass
East
Dbl
Dbl
Pass
South
1 NT
Pass

Both of East’s doubles are for takeout — the second double shows a stronger hand. East passes 3 H because West is likely to have a terrible hand on the auction.

Doubles After Passing

If you have passed after an enemy bid, there are additional restrictions as to when a double is for takeout. Agreement in this area is not universal, but I suggest these rules:

After passing an enemy bid, the double of a suit is for takeout: If a raised suit through 4 D.
Or if you are in balancing seat through 2 S.
Or in direct seat through 2 D.

17.
S A 9 6 2
H 8 4 3
D Q 2
C 10 9 7 2
TableS 4
H K 9 6 5
D A 8 7 4
C A J 8 4

West

Pass
3 C
North
1 H
2 S
Pass
East
Pass
Dbl
Pass
South
1 S
Pass

East’s double after passing is for takeout because spades were raised. West dutifully bids an unbid suit.

18.
S K 10 9 4
H 5 3
D A J 2
C Q 10 7 4
TableS A J 3
H A 8 6 2
D 9 6 3
C J 9 2

West

Pass
Dbl
North
1 H
2 H
Pass
East
Pass
Pass
2 S
South
1 NT
Pass

West’s balancing double (while risky) is for takeout. East knows West’s strength is limited (he passed 1 NT) so he wisely bids a 3 card suit instead of 2 NT.

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© 2013 Richard Pavlicek