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Overcalls

An overcall is a bid made after the opposition have already opened the bidding. Just because the opposition have opened the bidding doesn't mean you can't bid. In fact, with the right hand, it's good to enter the auction. You might get to play the hand, you can take up some of the opposition's bidding space and you can suggest a lead to partner.

Simple overcall

Good 5 card suit, 10 - 15 points

An overcall is a bid made after the opposition have already opened the bidding. Just because the opposition have opened the bidding doesn't mean you can't bid. In fact, with the right hand, it's good to enter the auction. You might get to play the hand, you can take up some of the opposition's bidding space and you can suggest a lead to partner.

Unlike an opening bid, points don't matter so much for a simple overcall. A good 5-card suit is the key and good rule of thumb is two of the top four honours in the suit.

This next hand is not strong but spades would make a good trump suit, you take up opponents' bidding space and, if you end up defending, partner will know to lead a spade.

strength for simple overcall in bridge

A good 5 card suit is all you need for an overcall

Responding to an Overcall

After an opening bid you will normally respond with 6+ points but you're not obliged to respond to an overcall in the same way. Sure, sometimes you'll want to explore for game and occasionally even slam possibilities but normally you'll simply be looking to compete for the partscore.

Change of suit

An opening bid of 1♣, 1, 1 or 1♠ doesn't promise a good suit. If you're playing 5 card majors, an opening bid of 1♣ or 1 might even be a three card suit. You'll be responding to an opening bid with 6+ points or even less in some cases in order to search for the best contract.

change of suit after opening bid

Partner's diamonds might not be very good and you might have a game on. Bid 1.

Unlike an opening bid, partner's overcall does show a good suit. There's often no need to search for a better contract because you're likely to already be in the best spot!

Pass after an overcall

Partner has 5 good diamonds. Pass!

Remember that an overcall won't be a strong hand so you're very unlikely to miss game by passing.

Raising partner's suit

If you do have a fit, it's good to support partner. 3-card support will be enough, because partner is showing a 5-card suit.

Responding to an overcall

Points don't matter - show your trump fit!

Weak jump overcall

Good 6 card suit, 6 - 10 points

A weak jump overcall is similar to a weak 2 opening bid. You can quickly describe your hand to your partner and at the same time make it hard for the opposition to enter the auction

Preemptive overcall

Good 7 card suit, 6 - 10 points

A preemptive overcall is similar to a preemptive opening bid.

1NT

An overcall of 1NT shows 16-18 points, balanced.

Related Lessons

Responding to an overcall - Responding to an overcall is not the same as responding to an opening bid. Let's look at the difference.

Comments

heatherte1
Got them right. Thanks. Good way to learn.
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