Home | Bidding

Bidding System

Bridge players assign specific meanings to certain bids to show the length of their suits and overall strength of their hand to partner. All those different agreements put together make up what's known in bridge as a bidding system. There are many different bidding systems and it doesn't really matter which one you use as long as you and your partner are using the same one.

Two of the most common bidding systems are 'Standard' and 'Acol'. You can play either one at Sky Bridge Club.

High Card Points

Whatever bidding system you use, you'll need a way to describe the strength of your hand and the most common method is to count points for each of your high cards.

Count 4 points for each ace in your hand, 3 points for each king, 2 points for each queen and 1 point for each jack.

points in bridge

Opening 1♣, 1, 1, 1♠

Opening the bidding with 1 of a suit shows 12 or more points.

In some bidding systems an opening bid of 1 or 1♠ needs to be a 5 card suit but an opening of 1♣ or 1 only needs to be a 3 card suit. That style of bidding is called '5-card majors'.

In other bidding systems any opening bid of 1 of a suit only needs to be a 4 card suit. That style of bidding is known as '4 card majors'

Opening 1NT

An opening bid of 1NT shows a balanced hand which means no singleton or void and no 6 card suit.

Some players open 1NT with 15-17 points. That's known as a strong notrump.

Some players open 1NT with 12-14 points. That's known as a weak notrump.

The strong NT is normally used by those playing the Standard bidding system. Acol players normally use the weak 1NT

2♣ is Stayman after a 1NT opening as is 3♣ after a 2NT opening and after the bidding sequence 2♣ - 2 - 2NT.
You can choose to play transfers. Check your bidding system. If you have selected transfers then they'll work in the same situations as Stayman - after a 1NT opening, after a 2NT opening and after the bidding sequence 2♣ - 2 - 2NT.
The Sky Bridge Club computer does not play Stayman or transfers after a 1NT overcall.
Stayman and transfers are off after any bid or double by the overcaller

Opening 2♣

An opening bid of 2♣ shows a strong hand. It doesn't say anything about your holding in clubs.

Opening 2 2 2♠

2 2 and 2♠ opening bids are weak showing a good 6 card suit and 6-10 points*

* You can play strong 2 bids if you prefer but make sure to change your bidding settings.

Opening 2NT

20-22 balanced

3♣ is Stayman after a 2NT opening.
If you have transfers selected in your bidding system then 3 is a transfer to hearts, 3 is a transfer to spades and 3♠ is minor suit Stayman
Stayman and transfers are off after any bid or double by the overcaller

Opening 3♣ 3 3 3♠

Preempts. 7 card suit, less than an opening hand.

Opening at the 4 and 5 level

Preempts with an 8 card suit.

Slam Bidding



Quantitative 4NT

Competitive Bidding



Negative Double

Michaels Cue Bid

Unusual 2NT


Losing Trick Count

Reverse Bids

Fourth suit forcing

Sunday Livestreams

Watch 10 hands being played, ask questions during the livestream and then enjoy playing the hands yourself.

Learn Bridge Online

Join Graeme every Thursday for supervised play at learnbridgeonline.com

Everyday Bridge

Videos and drawings


Herby says:
A good refresher. Can I print a copy to show others?
DexterMorrison says:
@graeme.Me also, please.
JBrown says:
Hi! Herby, you have joined a great club, good luck!
Herby says:
Thanks Graeme. You are clearing a lot of rubbish out of the way and are making bridge lessons well worrth while.
Phyl says:
Love being here. Learn a lot. Will ask how to be able to do live sessions.
Log in to comment