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Rule of 20 in Bridge

The Rule of 20 in bridge is a simple way to decide whether or not to open the bidding on borderline hands. A hand with a long suit will normally take more tricks than a balanced hand and you may already be familiar with the concept of adding points for length. The Rule of 20 combines high card points and length points into an easy method for deciding whether or not to open.

How to use the rule of 20

  1. Count your High Card Points
  2. Add to your points the length of your two longest suits.
  3. If the total equals 20 you have enough to open the bidding.

On the following hand You have 11 high card points. Your two longest suits are spades, 5, and hearts, 4, which equals 9 long suit points. Combine your high card points with your long suit points: 11 high card points + 9 long suit points = 20.

rule of 20 in bridge

Your hand is strong enough to open the bidding.

The rule of 20 is only a guideline, of course, and you're free to use your judgement in all cases.

I favor light opening bids. When you're my age, you can never be sure that the bidding will get back around to you again. Oswald Jacoby at 77

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Mr.TimAir says:
@graeme – Can you employ a so-called 'Rule of 18' when overcalling an opponent at the 1-level, with your own 1-level bid?
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