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An overcall is a bid made after the opposition have already opened the bidding. Whereas an opening bid can show a 3, 4 or 5 card suit depending on your bidding system, an overcall is always a 5 card suit.

Simple overcall

Good 5 card suit, 10 - 15 points

Unlike an opening bid, you don't need to have 12 points 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

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

strength for simple overcall in bridge

Preemptive overcall

Good 7 card suit, 6 - 10 points

A preemptive overcall is similar to a preemptive opening bid.

strength for simple overcall in bridge


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

strength for simple overcall in bridge

Related Lessons

Unusual 2NT - A jump overcall of 2NT to show the lowest 2 unbid suits.
Responding to an overcall - Responding to an overcall is not the same as responding to an opening bid. Let's look at the difference.
Michaels Cue Bid - A Michaels Cue Bid shows two long suits of 5 cards or more

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