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Doubles in Bridge

A double in bridge bidding can be either a takeout double, used to ask partner to bid, or a penalty double, used when a player thinks the opposition won't make their contract.

When you are playing bridge against the computer a double is shown as an 'X' in the bidding area.

X means double

X means double

The state of the auction determines whether a double was meant for takeout or for penalties. Even expert players sometimes misinterpret the meaning of their partner's double. That's bridge! - but let's see if we can clarify things.

Takeout Double

If the opener bids a suit and the overcaller doubles then it normally shows 12+ points and support for the unbid suits.

Takeout doubles in this situation are normally the first type that new players learn about. Doubles in other situations are often still 'for takeout' even though they are given different names.

A takeout double asks partner to choose a suit. Learn about takeout doubles and responding to takeout doubles.

Negative Double

Negative doubles, used by the responder, are another form of takeout double. A negative double is normally used when responder has a few points but is not strong enough to bid at the 2-level.

A negative double is the name given to a double made by the responder.

Balancing Double

Balancing doubles are used when the auction is about to die out. It's often better to keep the bidding open at a low level rather than pass and defend against a part-score.

A balancing double is a type of takeout double used if the auction is about to die out. You hope to win the auction or push your opponents one level too high.

Penalty Double

Penalty doubles are the most exciting!

A double saying that you do not expect your opponents to make their contract is called a penalty double. Learn about penalty doubles and when to make them.

Bridge Practice Hands for Doubles

Head over to the learn bridge page for some hands to practice doubles and responding to doubles.


graeme says:
Hiya @janemart, just checking to see that got this.
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