Balancing Doubles  

Balancing Double situations arise when we try to to force opponents to play every hand at a level higher than 2 Spades particularly with good vulnerability for us. Balancing Doubles are a form of Takeout Double, often used in the passout seat (Last person to bid).

This is a short extract from the full interactive Bridge lesson in our members area.
Login to our members area to access the full version of this lesson plus
hundreds more interactive Bridge lessons plus
Bridge Hand of the Day and daily Bridge competitions.
Not a member yet? Join with a free trial

When is it a balancing double and how do I respond?

Balancing Double Situation

When the opponents try to keep the bidding at low levels, a double in the pass out seat – meaning the last person to bid, is regarded as a balancing double. It may not have the full takeout double strength even if it is that players first opportunity to bid.

Balancing Takeout Doubles

Distribution and strength requirements for a takeout double are lowered in situations when opponents’ previous auction indicates that the partner has high-card strength, but was likely unable to take an action of his own because his distribution was not suitable for a double or an overcall. A balancing double can be made with as little as 8 high card points if both the RHO and the partner have passed the opening bid. Such a situation indicates that partner has strength, but was unable to bid.

Strength Requirements for Balancing Double

Any point range range above  8 HCP. Usage depends on the prior bidding in the auction and the vulnerability.  The Doubler always promises holdings of the suits not bid with a guarantee 4 of any unbid major suit if opponents have bid a major and at least 4-3 in the major suits if the opposition have bid only the minors

Responding to A Balancing Double

The response to a balancing double requires better judgment than does bidding over partner’s direct take‑out double. Remember, partner may have made a balancing double on a much wider range of hands; i.e., he/she may not have good support for ail of the unbid suits, and the strength of his/her hand may be considerably below the values required for a direct take‑out double.

  1. A bid of any unbid suit at the lowest level = 8‑11 HCP’s.
  2. A jump response showing partner that you have a hand with opening strength points, even if previously passed.
  3. Jump to 2NT showing a good opening bid with opener’s suit well‑stopped
  4. Jump to 3NT showing values for a strong 1NT opening with controls in oppositions suit 
Click here to open popup

60SecondBridge Members-Only Content

60SecondBridge members please login to access all lessons and Bridge games.

Not a member? Learn More