With a hand like (s) KJT864 (h)Kxx (d) Ax (c) xx, I'd open one spade, that is, with 11 hc points and six spades. (Under the rule of 20, I have 11 hcps+ 6 spades + 3 cards in my second suit=20). And the T, behind the jack, is worth a good fraction of a point, so I really have "11+," almost 12.

But in today's bridge column, a declarer came to grief with a similar hand because his spades were KJ7653. Dummy bid NT trump with 42 of spades, and they ended up in a 4 spade contract, with the opponents' five spades (divided 4-1) being AQT98.

Are there either systems or individual experts that would subtract one point in bidding for the "baby" trumps (specifically no spots above an 8, the "average" card in the suit)? Or make other adjustments, positive or negative, for presence or absence of "intermediate" cards like 8, 9, T?


1 Answer 1


The most accurate system I have seen for notrump bidding is a 5-4-3-2-1 count for the cards Ace through 10. This of course is a base 60 for the whole deck instead of 40, but can easily be normalized by doubling and dividing by three. (Round 2/3 up and 1/3 down.) With a little practice this is barely slower than the standard Work point count.

Not the assumption here of notrump - the Work 4-3-2-1 point count overvalues aces and kings for notrump play.

Although this system is no better for suit play than the standard Work point count, it is perhaps no worse. Aces and Kings are undervalued as a disadvantage, but counting 10's for something is an advantage. One possibility for restoring the true value of Aces and Kings (in suit play) might be to add (Quick Tricks - 1.5) to the count above in that circumstance. (The 1.5 comes from the Quick Trick strength of an Ace and a King in separate suits, which is an average holding.)

  • Where did you get that 4-3-2-1 overvalues Aces in NoTrump? Aces are very useful in any kind of contract.
    – Aryabhata
    Jan 21, 2014 at 18:19
  • @Aryabhata: Check out this link: jazclass.aust.com/bridge/br_handvaluation.htm Jan 21, 2014 at 22:29
  • @Aryabhata: Yes, aces are useful in any context, but they are worth less than 1/10 the value of a full deck in notrump, and probably a bit more than that in suit contracts (especially high-level suit contracts). Jan 21, 2014 at 23:33
  • The Banzai method has been getting bad reviews as not really being objective. Follow at your own risk. (Note: Not saying it is wrong etc). (But, Thanks for the link)
    – Aryabhata
    Jan 22, 2014 at 2:11
  • @Aryabhata: Yes it can be either used or abused; I choose to use it. Using it for suit contracts will undervalue controls, and not normalizing the count will result in (perhaps gross) overbidding. I have had success with it. Jan 22, 2014 at 4:29

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