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So what's the big deal about a reverse, whatever that means?


This is in response to your question asking for an explanation of the Reverse bid.

While a complete explanation of all the permutations of reverse bidding would probably be more than you are seeking, let me start off with an explanation of the concept.  Also, let me provide an additional caveat -- reverse bidding is misunderstood by a fair number of novice Bridge players and ignored by others, so don't be alarmed if a few non-standard players refuse to accept the commonly accepted practices associated with Reverse.  It's always a good idea to ask your partner about conventions such as Reverses before assuming they play them the same as you would.

Philosophically, whenever we bid we always want to:

Be prepared for a rebid

Ensure our partner can respond to our bid in the most efficient manner

Communicate attributes of our hand as accurately as possible

Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?  Well, in some circumstances we have a strong openers hand that is not easy bid. Let's say you are holding:

A Q x x
A K J 10 x
K x x

So we open 1D and, wouldn't you know it, partner responds 1S. Now what?  Our hand is too strong for 1 Notrump  and not strong enough for 2 Notrump (typically 18-19 points).  About all that leaves is 2H.  But now our partner is in a pinch -- in order to support one of our bid suits, partner must bid at the THREE-level! So whenever we make this type of bid (bidding a higher ranking suit at the 2 level then our initial suit bid, with partner only making a 1 level bid) that forces partner to bid at a HIGHER level to support one of our suits, that's considered a Reverse Bid by the opener.

Also notice that the higher suit (opener's second bid) is always shorter than the lower suit (bid first).  Bidding by opener shouldn't be from a shorter suit to a longer suit (or one of equal length).

Anytime we make a Reverse Bid, we are promising 17 or more points (some partnership use a slightly different range), since we are making it difficult for partner to rebid. So far all we know is that responder has 6 points, so if we are going to force partner to bid at the 3-level to support one of our suits, we'd better have a lot of points to make sure we will make a bid at the 3-level (typically about 21-22 combined points).

This means that if as opener we have a hand which evaluates less than 17 points, we should NOT reverse. Here's an example:

A Q x x
A K 10 x x
Q x x

Bidding goes:

1D - 1S

We'd really like to show our 4-card Heart suit -- perhaps partner is 5-4 in Spades and Hearts and by bidding Hearts on our second bid, we'll still find a game. Oops, if we did that, we'd put our partner in a difficult position to rebid at the 3-level, so we'd be making a Reverse Bid -- something we should never do unless we are promising 17 or more points.  So we can rebid 1 Notrump or 2 Diamonds (depending on partnership agreements) in an attempt to signoff. 

Okay so far?  Let's move on to a hand that may seem like a Reverse Bid but really isn't one:

1D - 2C

Notice how opener's second bid is indeed in a higher suit than the first one. A Reverse Bid? No, not really. Why?  Because the responder made a strong two-over-one bid showing at least 10/11 or more points (promising game with some systems). So now that the responder has made such as bid, we can be fairly certain we can make a 3-level bid.  Thus, since the opener is no longer putting
the responder in a difficult position making a 3-level bid, the opener can make a bid in a higher suit without it being considered a "reverse".  

Incidentally, some play even the above opener bidding sequence as Reverse-like, "showing a King" more than a minimum opening hand.    No wonder players can get confused by Reverse bidding!   

Then there's Reverse Bidding by responder, which follows a similar approach.   When you're ready to dive in, checkout BridgeHands website on Reverses.



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