Bridge & other card games/Opening Bid?


Is this hand an opening bid in first or second seat?  Assume playing Open Pairs in a regional.

S: QT843
H: KJ92
D: A9
C: J6

It doesn't qualify using "Mel's 20 + 2," and it doesn't qualify using "losing trick count," but some have told me this is an opening hand.

If it is a valid opening hand, what cards would have to be removed for it not to be an opening hand? (For example, would it be an opening hand if either or all of the ST, H9, or CJ were removed)


I would open the hand 1S. It does satisfy Bergen's original Rule of 20 (two longest suits plus point count = 20) and misses Mel's rule since there are only 1.5 quick tricks instead of 2. Losing trick count seems to equal seven which is ok to open.

The reason that I would open is because the suits are the major suits. You get into the auction first (a big advantage) and have an easy rebid over any response by partner. It is usually a lot harder and more risky to try to get in to the auction later if you pass now. Suppose you passed and it went 1D-P-3D (preemptive) by the opponents. It would be very risky for you to double now and even if you do, partner will not know that you have five spades. Your holdings in your long suits...Q 10 8 and K J 9 are acceptable. In addition, vulnerability can be a factor. I would always open this nonvulnerable and while I personally would open it vulnerable as well I can understand if others might be reluctant to do so.

Given the same cards but different suits so that spades is not your five card suit I would be much more reluctant to open since you may not have a convenient rebid and playing in notrump opposite a minimum 5 or 6 point response from partner may not be too much fun. If spades is neither the five nor the four card suit then I would definitely pass.

Whether it would still be an opening hand after removing certain cards is very subjective and depends on whom you ask. I personally would not open if those three cards are removed. I would still open without the H9 but not, if vulnerable, without the CJ or S10. Nonvulnerable I might open without the S10. Again, however, this is all very subjective and it is difficult to give a definitive answer on such subtle differences.  

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I can answer questions on bidding and on cardplay with the caveat that the former may necessarily involve some subjectivity. I have been playing tournament bridge for over 20 years and I have won several regional tournaments.

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