ACBL24 - Bidding Boxes                             Ward Trumbull

                                                                                                                    Apr 24, 2004

                                                                                                                    Page 1 of 3


      Bidding Boxes are a fact of life in duplicate bridge.


      Most players do not like them the first several times they use them, but they prefer them once they are comfortable with them.


Bidding Box Contents


      1.  35 bidding cards from one club to seven notrump

      2.  6 Pass cards

      3.  3 Double cards

      4.  2 Redouble cards

      5.  2 Stop cards

      6.  1 Alert card and/or Alert flag


Play Technique and Etiquette


      When it is your turn to bid, take the appropriate card from the box and place it to your left in front of you.  On each subsequent bid, lay the cards overlapping from left to

right with the previous cards still in view.


      The bidding is complete when three consecutive Pass cards are displayed (or 4 if

the hand is passed out).


      DO NOT touch any of the cards until you are ready to display a specific card.

Fingering the cards while thinking is unethical.


      Do not return the cards to the box until you are sure that the other players have

reviewed the auction to their satisfaction.


      Selecting a Pass card after a long period of indecision is unethical.










                         ACBL24 - Bidding Boxes                             Ward Trumbull

                                                                                                                    Apr 24, 2004

                                                                                                                    Page 2 of 3


1. Bidding Cards


      When you select a specific bid card (e.g., 2 diamonds) from the bidding cards, take out that card and all cards behind it in the box and place them on the card table.


      If you accidentally pull and display the wrong bid, you can make the correction if you do it immediately.  However, after two or three seconds it is too late.  Also you should not remark about the incorrect bid.  That too is unethical.


2. Pass Cards


      Learn to play pass cards in tempo.  Do not pass in a hurry with bad hands and delay the pass with better cards.  Take a minimum of at least 3 seconds on all passing bids.


3. Double Cards


      Deja Vu!!  Learn to play double cards in tempo.  Do not double in a hurry with strong hands and delay the double with weaker hands that will require partner’s help  (and attention).  Take a minimum of at least 4 seconds on all doubling bids.


4. Redouble Cards


      Deja Vu again!!  Learn to play redouble cards in tempo.  Do not redouble in a hurry with strong hands and delay the redouble with weaker hands that will require partner’s help  (and attention).  Take a minimum of at least 5 seconds on all redoubling bids.


5. Stop Cards


      A skip bid is when you bid one level higher than necessary in a suit or notrump. For

example: the prior bid to you is one heart and you intend to bid spades.  A bid of one

spade would be standard, but two-or-more spades would be a skip bid.








                         ACBL24 - Bidding Boxes                             Ward Trumbull

                                                                                                                    Apr 24, 2004

                                                                                                                    Page 3 of 3


5. Stop Cards (continued)


      In duplicate or party bridge, when you are about to make skip bid, it is recommended that you should announce it by stating:


     “I am about to make a skip bid, please wait.”


      This is a perfectly legitimate way of saying “Pay attention partner.”.


      The “please wait” part is for the opponents to make the next bid in tempo.  Without

this standard bidding phrase, the your left hand opponent might tend to pass quickly

with poor hands or pass slowly with better hands.


      This function is accomplished with bidding boxes by the Stop card.  The Stop card should be laid on the table prior to making a skip bid and not returned to the box until a few seconds after your bid was displayed.


      The left hand opponent cannot bid until the Stop card has been replaced.


6. Alert Card and/or Alert Flag


      Although the bidding is supposed to be silent with bidding boxes, such is not the case.  There is still a lot of friendly table talk during the auction.


      When a bid of partner’s must be alerted, you should display the Alert card and/or

flick the Alert flag.  However, in practice we all still say “alert” or perhaps “transfer”.


      The Alert card in the box is fairly new.  It really is better than flicking the Alert flag.

The Alert card should be displayed and then immediately returned to the box.


      There really should be multiple Alert cards that would remain on the table during the bidding.  All the cards for bidding, doubling, redoubling and passing remain on the   table during the bidding, but not the Alert card/flag.  So the opponents must remember

the alert situations if they want to ask for explanations at the end of the auction.