Learning To Play Bridge – Responding Bids in Bridge

Counting High Card Points and Distribution Points are the same for the responder as they are for the opener but often you can bid with less points than the opener.

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Overview of responding

As responder you need to show the strength and cards in your of your hand

There are different bids to show the different strengths of responder’s hand.

Showing your suits 

If you don’t have enough of your partner’s suit, it isn’t  possible to support your partner’s opening bid.  Sometimes you need to explore by bidding, looking for a better ‘fit’, meaning that you have 8 trump cards between you.
If you bid in a new suit this is forcing on your partner to keep bidding going (a “forcing” bid) for one round. You promise by a bid that you have at least 4 cards in the suit bid.

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If you bid a new suit a

Showing minimum, medium or strong points

t the 1-level -this shows your partner you have at least 6 HCP.
Keep the bidding as low as you can to leave more room to explore for a fit.
If your partner opens a suit and on their second bid shows another suit, it is your responsibility to look at your hand and tell them which of the suits your hand is better suited for playing.
This is known as showing ‘preference’ if you have equal numbers of cards in both suits (as you will have in the practise game below) you should return partner to their first bid suit because it will be longer.

  • Bid (show) a suit at the 1-level if possible, you must have 6+ TP to respond at the 1 level
  • Bid 1NT to show you have 6-9 HCP and no major suit
  • If you have two four card major suits and 6+ points bid the lower ranking one first (hearts)
  • For you to reply at the 2-level, you need 10+ HCP and a 4 card minor suit
  • For you to  reply at the 2-level, you need 10+ HCP and a 5 card major suit
  • To raise your partner’s suit to the level of 3 you need 11+ TP and 4-card suit support 
  • When partner bids two different suits – even if you have no points you show your suit preference. Do this by leaving them in their second suit if you prefer it, or return them to their first bid suit if you hold equal numbers of cards in each of their bid suits. 

Exercise: Partner opens the bidding with 1♦ and you have the hand below. What is your bid?


  • ♠J 9 8 6 5
  • ♥K 6
  • ♦A 6 3
  • ♣A 10 7 6

Your Bid: Answer: 1♠. Keep the bidding as low as possible when changing suit. Here you cannot bid 2 ♥ because you do not have a 4 card heart suit and 10 TP’s. It is wrong to bid 2♣ showing 10+ points and 4 clubs and it also denies 4 spades.

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