Social Lesson 7 – Standard American, Responder Bids Toward Game

Okay, it’s time to step up responders bidding a bit.   Playing the Standard American system, after opener begins bidding in a major suit, with 10+ points for responder its paramount to find the best bid.  Of course, the fun is just getting started.  Now both the opener and responder must be on their proverbial toes to succinctly and accurately describe their hand with the ensuing rebids.

After responders two-level response, almost all opener bids are forcing.  Not only will we entertain you with lots of bidding examples, but in this video lesson we will also have the opportunity to actually play an assortment of hand – some with straight forward play, others not so much.  In fact, here at BridgeHands some of the hands we have prepared might make you pause and take a second look before bidding.   But the good news is that if you can master bidding and play of our hands, you will be well equipped for real Bridge at the table.   Tip – in addition to going for the obvious finesse and side-suit ruffs, be aware of opponents suit distribution and entries when trying to promote the dummy’s side suit.  Oh yeah, also be on the lookout for the situation when a suit does not break favorably!

So sit right up and tune in to our BridgeHands videos!

Premium and ULTRA members are welcome to enjoy both lesson segments as well as the Social Part 2 lesson.  Better yet, check out the hundreds of hours of videos in our archive by clicking “Index to Videos” on the navigation above or simply click this link.

General Audiences – click here to view our Teaser

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 1 with 34 minutes of video

Premium and ULTRA Members click here to view Part 2 (play at the table) with 32 minutes of video

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Happy Trails,




  1. bobway69 says:

    I was under the impression that when opener makes the cheapest bid possible he is describing his hand as minimum. In this video you state that the following bidding sequences are forcing for one round: 1H – 2C; 2D, 1H – 2C; 2H, and 1H – 2D; 2H. Granted a minimum opener and a medium responder hand could make a 3 level contract, why should these bidding sequences be forcing from the openers perspective?

    • BridgeHands says:

      Hello Bob,
      To your point, I’ve played with social players that feel with extra values they should almost always make a jump bid. For instance, in the auction:

      1C – 1S

      …the responder could hold 6 HCP on up – perhaps even 17+ points without a strong suit. Sure, the responder could consume lots of bidding oxygen yet doing so might lead to an imprecise auction where the partners quickly run out of bidding space. Instead, by bidding a 4 card Spade suit the responder is making a FORCING bid and the opener is absolutely required to make a rebid. Yes, the argument for some Rubber/Contract Bridge players might go, “Well, we had a 70 leg so we only needed 30 points for our game…” True, but with this thought process the partnerships won’t find many slam bonuses!
      Okay, now let’s look at your auctions:
      1H – 2C;
      Since the responder is promising 10+ points and the partnership has 22+ points, they pair should not have a problem making either a 2 Notrump or 3 level contract with an 8 card fit. Thus, unless our opener has a maximum hand, it’s probably best to rebid with show a second suit – Diamonds here. Perhaps the hand is:
      A x
      K Q J x x
      A J 10 x
      x x
      With 15 HCP plus one distribution point, opener indeed had a nice hand. So along with responder’s promised 10+ points, they can definitely make game. And if responder has 16+ points, they should certainly explore slam. On the other auction:
      This time opener likely has 6 Hearts and we are not certain of the strength. Yes with a good hand and SEMI SELF-SUSTAINING SUIT (Suit Quality = 9+ adding honors plus length) then rebidding 3 Hearts is very descriptive. And with a semi self-sustaining suit, by all means count up your losers. So also with a 6 LTC hand, by all means jump to 3 Hearts, but not on an average 7 LTC hand. Incidentally, when jumping to 4 Hearts, it best to reserve that as a “special bid” to show a so-so hand (7ish losers) with a very long suit (7+) and no interest in pursuing slam.
      Do you see what we’re doing here? We jump with extras – a 6 or perhaps 5 LTC hand (assuming we have a semi self-sustaining suit), otherwise opener simply bids a new suit at the 2 level. Here’s a very important point:
      So the rub of your question seems to be, “But what if as responder my partner passes my opener 2 level suit rebid?”
      Well, if your partner is not solid on rebids, then yes, you’ll probably need to make jump rebids to keep the auction alive. Yes, playing social Rubber/Contract Bridge I’ve often seen responder make a 2 level response in a new suit, only to table a dummy with 6-8 points and a funky long minor suit. After hearing opener begin with 1 Spade, poor responder just can’t bring themselves to respond 1 Notrump with a singleton Spade and so they attempt to “save” the auction by responding 2 Clubs – they (unwisely) figure they will pass no matter what suit opener rebids.
      Herein lies the root problem – can we trust responders promise to make a rebid when they are promising 10+ points?
      That’s why after responder makes a 2 level bid in a new suit, they are promising a rebid except in 2 instances:
      1. 1H – 2C; 2N
      2. 1H – 2C; 3C
      Good bidders have agreements on forcing bids. Better yet, good partners can trust and depend on their partner to follow their partnership agreements. That’s one of the wonderful subliminal aspects of Bridge. On some auctions we’re unsure of the bidding or fear partner might not understand what we’re doing with the bidding and the adrenaline begins to flow. And on the other hand, when a well-oiled partners are in lockstep with one another, their endorphins and dopamine generates a warm feeling with pleasurable sensations. Bridge is a deep game on many levels – I’ll leave it up to others to choreograph the emotional feeling when partner passes what you clearly thought was a forcing bid!
      Happy Bridging,

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