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