Some Basic Guides for the Beginning Bridge Player…

According to the Goren Bridge System

To help evaluate the power of a bridge hand, certain numerical values are assigned to each of the face cards:

Ace 4 points Exceptions:
King 3 points King, singleton 2 points
Queen 2 points Queen, singleton 1 points
Jack 1 point Jack, singleton treat as spot card

The entire pack contains 40 points. A hand of 10 points is an average hand.

To open the bidding you should have better than an average hand since you are hoping to take more tricks than the opponents. (NOTE: the OPENING BIDDER is the first person to make a bid after the hand has been dealt. The DEALER has the right to make the first bid but he may PASS and the player to his left could then become the OPENER)

NOTE: The above counting tab1e applies ONLY to OPENING SUIT BIDS.

In addition:
Deduct 1 point for an aceless hand
Add 1 point for holding all four aces

26 points will normally produce game in a major suit 10 tricks — (spades or hearts)
29 points will normally produce game in a minor suit 11 tricks — (diamonds, clubs)
33 points will normally produce small slam 12 tricks
39 points will normally produce grand slam 13 tricks
(This is the total points in both hands of a partnership)

In addition to high card points, there are values assigned for DISTRIBUTION

Add 5 points for a void (No cards in a particular suit)
Add 2 points for each singleton
Add 1 point for each doubleton

High card points PLUS distribution points give the value of the hand for OPENING the bidding:

A hand worth 13 points is an optional [*] opening
A hand worth 14 points must be opened

The suit you select to open must be a BIDDABLE SUIT:

It must contain at least 4 cards which contain at least 4 high card points.
A x x x K J X x K Q x x or   Q J 10 x


Any five card suit is biddable (with l3 or l4 points)

may be bid a second time without support from partner
must be at least five cards with some solidity of count
any six card suit, regardless of top strength, is rebiddable

(Remember, we are talking about OPENING BIDS)

The Short Club Bid

This is not a system. It is a convenience. There are some hands which should be opened because of high card count. Some such hands offer no convenient opening because they wou1d present a difficult bidding problem. Therefore such hands are opened with 1 Club on a three card club suit headed by at least the Queen.

Ex.:   S – AKJx   H – J10x   D – xxx   C – AJx

In a partnership using the Short Club bid, the partner of the Opener does not bid two clubs unless he has four good clubs.

Bidding more than one suit

When a hand contains more than one biddable suit, look ahead to the rebid.


Length of suit is one of the prime considerations. With two five-card suits, bid the higher ranking suit first. With two suits of unequal length, bid the longer suit first.

Choosing between two four–card suits: Look for the shortest suit in the hand (a singleton or doubleton) and bid first the suit which ranks below it. If that suit is not biddable, select the next below that.

Choosing between three four-card suits: bid first the suit below the singleton.

(Examples: Goren Pg. 10–17)


The opening two bid (in a suit, not No Trump) is a forcing bid which demands that partner respond, not only once, but at every opportunity, until a game bid is made.

Requirements for the opening two bid:

with a good five-card suit, 25 points
with a good six card suit, 23 points
with a good seven card suit, 21 points

Opening NO TRUMP bids:

count only high card points, not distribution ones
1 NO TRUMP opening

2 NO TRUMP opening

3 NO TRUMP opening

Point count of 16, 17, 18
Balanced distribution
Point count of 22, 23, 24
Balanced distribution
Point count of 25, 26, 27
Balanced distribution
At least three suits must be protected: All four suits must be protected. All four suits must be protected.
Ax  Kx  Qxx  Jxxx


NOTE: An opening bid facing an opening bid usually produces game.

If partner of the Opener has little or nothing, PASS

With a weak to moderate hand, there are three options:

  1. With 6–10 high card points, but no help for partner's bid suit, (i.e. no better than x–x–x) and no suit that you can show at the level of one, respond with 1 NO TRUMP.
    If Opener bid 1 club, a one NT response shows 9–11
    A free bid of 1 NT — 10–11–12 points
  2. Raise to two in the same suit if
    you can support bid suit (xxxx, J10x or better) and
    you have 7 to 10 points.
    In counting "dummy points":
    Doubleton 1 point
    Singleton 3 points
    Void 5 points

    Deduct 1 pt for
    Only 3 trumps
    4–3–3–3 distribution
    Short suit with unguarded honor
    A free raise to 2 in same suit should contain 9–10 points
  3. Bid one in a new suit with
    6 points, incl. high cards and distribution
    Free 1 over 1 bid; 9–l0 pts.

RESPONDING 2 in a new suit:

When you raise the level to two, (in a new suit) your hand must be at least of average strength (10 points). Your mentioning a new suit forces the opener to bid again — so, don't make a free response of 2 in a suit unless you are prepared to bid again over partner's forced rebid.


  1. The jump raise from 1 to 3
    When responder jumps from 1 to 3 in opener's suit, it is a demand for game. Requirements for double raise are specific:
    1. More than normal trump support, i.e. min. of xxxx
    2. In addition, must have 13 to 16 pts, incl. distribution pts
  2. The jump from 1 to 4 in a major suit
    This is a specialized bid: very rich in trump support and in distribution (Must contain a singleton or a void), but not rich in high cards — not more than 9 pts.
    To summarize:
    a jump from 1 to 3: good trump support and good high–card strength
    a jump from 1 to 4: better trump support but less high–card strength.
  3. The jump take–out in No Trump
    Forcing to game; hand must contain 13–14–15 pts, two cards of partner's suit, and all other suits protected.
  4. The jump take–out to 3 No Trump
    16–17–18 pts and a 4–3–3–3 distribution

[*] Optional opening: Whether or not you should open depends on the ease with which you will be able to make your second bid, if necessary.
Remember, an opening bid is not an isolated event. It is only a first step and it is necessary to look one step ahead and figure what your partner is most likely to respond. You must have a clear idea of what your second bid is going to be. If a second bid is going to cause you embarrassment, you have made an error. Either you should not have opened, or you opened with the wrong suit. NOTE: if you open the bidding with one of a suit and partner responds with some other suit,you are obliged to speak once more.
The above does not apply if partner has previously passed.