ACBL28 – Bidding: Distributional Hands     Ward Trumbull                

                                                                                               Jan 18, 2009

                                                                                               Page 1 of 3


      In the Standard American bidding system there very specific rules to

follow when bidding distributional hands.  By “distributional’, we mean

two-suited hands with 5-5, 5-6, 6-6, etc..  Before explaining these rules,

we must point out the problem players have with bidding “normal” hands.



                                Spades - x x x

                                Hearts   - A K Q 10  

                                Diams   - K x x x

                                Clubs    - x x


        As dealer you open 1 diamond and partner responds 1 spade.

        What is your next bid?                                  


Answer: Wrong Rebids


        Two spades assumes/hopes partner has 5+ spades.

        Two hearts pays no attention to the fact that partner denied 4 hearts.


Answer: Correct Rebid


        One notrump.




        1. Support partner’s suit only when you are sure there are 8+ cards

            between the two hands in that suit.


        2. If partner passes up bidding a major (implying he/she doesn’t have

            4 cards in that major), believe it!  Don’t come back and bid a 4

            card suit in that major.


            DO YOU GET IT?



               ACBL28 – Bidding: Distributional Hands           Jan 18, 2009

                                                                                                  Page 2 of 3

5/5 Distribution and 6/6 Distribution


      ALWAYS bid the higher ranking suit when you have a 5/5 or 6/6 hand.

That is: spades before hearts, majors before minors and diamonds

before clubs.  Point count in the suits is immaterial.  That applies:


      1. When opening the bidding

      2. When overcalling

      3. When responding


5/5 and 6/6 Reasons


      There are two reasons for the higher-suit-first rule.


              1. If partner has to pick between the two suits, he/she can

choose either at the same level.


Example:                       You                      Partner

                                 -----------------     --------------------------------------

             GOOD       1 spade            1 notrump

                                 2 hearts            pass        (prefer hearts)   OR

                                                          2 spades (prefer spades)


                                 1 heart              1 notrump

                                 2 spades           pass or 3 hearts    (next level)


              2. When you rebid the second suit again, you tell partner the extended length in both suits.


Example:                       You               Partner                   Comment

                                 -----------------     --------------           ------------------------

             GOOD       1 spade            1 notrump

                                 2 hearts                                        5 spades & 4 hearts

                                                         2 notrump

                                 3 hearts                                        5 spades & 5 hearts

                                                                                or  6 spades & 5 hearts

              ACBL28 – Bidding: Distributional Hands            Jan 18, 2009

                                                                                                  Page 3 of 3


6/5 Distribution


      Always bid the six card suit first, including a minor suit over a major

suit.  Note that point count in the suits is immaterial.


Again that applies:

      1. When opening the bidding

      2. When overcalling

      3. When responding


6/5 Distribution Problem


       If you failed the opening quiz and choose not to change your ways,

then you’ll always have trouble bidding 6/5 hands.  More correctly,

your partner will have trouble.  Here’s how you bid a 6/5 hand and how not

to incorrectly bid something else.


      Bad Bidding From Quiz            Correct Bidding for 6/5 Hand

--------------------------------------------        -----------------------------------------------

    You                    Partner                            You                   Partner

----------------      -----------------------            -----------------     ---------------------

  1 diamond      1 spade                            1 diamond        1 spade

* 2 hearts                                                * 2 hearts


* a 4 card suit                                          * describes a 6/5 hand


      Think about it…….  How else can you describe a 6 diamonds and 5 hearts hand?  If you bid the hearts first, it will take 3 diamond rebids to tell of the 6 diamonds.  Also (per the rules above), the third diamond bid says you have 6+ hearts.