ACBL04G – Notrump: Gambling 3 Notrump                  Ward Trumbull

                                                                                                                   Dec 19, 2007

                                                                                                                   Page 1 of 3


Stop using 25-27 HCP as an opening 3 notrump bid.


      How often do you pick up a hand with 25-27 HCP?  Once a year?  Two

      years?  If so, how often is it a balanced notrump hand?  Every 3 years?

      So why waste an opening bid on a hand that so seldom comes up?

      Instead, use an opening 3 notrump bid for Gambling Notrump hands.


What is a Gambling 3 Notrump?


      It is a hand that has:


               1. A 7+ card minor suit headed by at least the ace, king and   


               2. At least two quick tricks in the other 3 suits, that is, two aces

                   or an ace/king in one suit

               3. For an overcall – two outside quick tricks, where one of them is

                   the ace or king of the opponent’s opening suit


Why is it called a Gambling 3 Notrump?


      You may not make 3 notrump because:


               1. The 7+ card minor suit might not run, i.e., an opponent might

                    have jack 4th in that suit.


                2. The opponents may take 5+ tricks in the suit(s) that you don’t

                    have a stopper.


                3. On an overcall notrump, the LHO might not  lead his/her

                    partner’s bid suit.


How much of a gamble is it?


     Gambling 3 notrump bids make about 80% of the time.  Do you make

     80% of all you 3 notrump contracts?  Probably not.

                   ACBL04G – Notrump: Gambling 3 Notrump           Dec 19, 2007

                                                                                                                    Page 2 of 3

What is in your favor?


      You make Gambling 3 Notrump contracts because:


               1. Partner’s hand may have a stopper and/or length in the suit(s)

                   you don’t have stopped (no quick trick).

               2. LHO will almost always lead RHO’s opening suit when you

                   make an overcall 3 notrump.

               3. When you have quick tricks in two outside suits (aces), the

                   odds are 2 to 1 in your favor that the opening lead will be one

                   of those suits.   

               4. The opponents may be 4 opposite 4 in your unprotected suit,

                    which means you will take the last 9 tricks.

               5. The unprotected suit might get blocked up due to bad

                   defensive play.


 Example 1


               S - A x x                                 (17 HCP)

               H - A                                      (2 quick tricks - aces)

               D - A K Q x x x x

               C - x x


               With a heart or spade lead, you should make 3 notrump.

               With a club lead partner may stop the suit, they may only take 4

               tricks or they may switch to hearts or spades.


 Example 2


               S - A K x                                 (16 HCP)

               H - x                                        (2 quick tricks - ace/king)

               D - x x

               C - A K Q x x x x


               With a spade lead, you should make 3 notrump.

               With a diamond or heart lead, you will need some luck.

               But isn’t that what gambling is?  Luck!


                   ACBL04G – Notrump: Gambling 3 Notrump           Dec 19, 2007

                                                                                                                    Page 3 of 3

 Example 3


               S - A x                                   (16 HCP)

               H - K x                                   (1 and ½  quick tricks - ace/king)

               D - x x

               C - A K Q x x x x


               RHO opened one heart, and you overcalled 3 notrump.  The

               expected opening heart lead should help make 3 notrump.  If

               not a heart lead, partner’s hand might  produce a spade or

               diamond trick.




       Even though many pairs now play the Gambling 3 Notrump, you are

       still expected to alert the bid by saying:  


                   “ Gambling”




      The recommended defenses against Gambling 3 Notrumps


               1. Lead an ace to look at the dummy to help determine the best

                   defense, even if it is an unprotected ace, i.e., you don’t have

                   the king in that suit.


               2. On an overcall Gambling 3 Notrump, don’t lead partner’s suit

                   unless partner has doubled the contract.


               3. Beware of leading a minor suit unless you are sure it’s not the

                   declarer’s long minor suit.  If you have the ace, king or queen

                   in that minor suit, it can’t be declarer’s suit.


Finally, how do you bid 25-27 HCP notrump type hands?


       Open 2 clubs and then jump to 3 notrump on your next bid.