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Bid Lesson 1 - b

Assess hand shape

A hand is classified either as 'Balanced' or 'Unbalanced'

Balanced Hands

A relative even spread of cards in all the suits.

The shape can be described by the number of cards in each suit. The most balanced is 4,3,3,3.

Conventionally all hands are described in ranking order,
so the one below is 3,3,4,3

3
♠ Spades 10 6 4
3
♥ Hearts A K 2
4
♦ Diamonds A 7 6 3
3
♣ Clubs A 10 7

The following are considered as balanced.
4,2,4,3

4
♠ Spades A 7 6 4
2
♥ Hearts K 2
4
♦ Diamonds J 7 6 3
3
♣ Clubs A 10 7

2,3,5,3 (If the 5 card suit is either Clubs or Diamonds)

2
♠ Spades 10 6
3
♥ Hearts A K 2
5
♦ Diamonds J 10 7 6 3
3
♣ Clubs A 10 7

 

Unbalanced Hands

If your hand includes a Void (no cards in a suit), a singleton ( only 1 card in a suit) or 2 doubletons (only 2 cards in 2 separate suits) then it is unbalanced.

4
♠ Spades 10 7 6 4
3
♥ Hearts A K 2
5
♦ Diamonds A 7 6 3 2
1
♣ Clubs 10

When deciding on an opener with 10-11 points you can use the rule of 20 to assess the value of the shape.

Rule of 20

Count the number of high card points and the number of cards in the two longest suits. If this totals 20 then it is a comfortable opener.

2nd longest
4
♠ Spades 10 7 6 4
 
3
♥ Hearts A K 2
Longest suit
5
♦ Diamonds A 7 6 3 2
 
1
♣ Clubs 10

HCP = 11 +5 cards+4 cards=20 - a comfortable open

2nd longest
3
♠ Spades K 9 8
 
3
♥ Hearts 7 4 2
Longest suit
6
♦ Diamonds Q J 7 6 5 4
 
1
♣ Clubs A

HCP = 10+6 cards+3 cards=19 - do not open


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Learn to play bridge