While playing Standard American, If my partner opens 1 of a Major and I (as responder) have 5 cards in the same Major and 4/5 POINTS, what do I respond, 4 of the Major or something else ? Thanks.

3 Answers 3


It depends on a few things, but basically you have a choice between a simple raise to 2M or a jump to 4M. First, did partner open in first seat, or later? If partner opened in first seat, your LHO has not had a chance to enter the auction yet and opponents are more likely to have a game. This makes the jump to 4 of the major more attractive. If LHO has already passed, opponents are unlikely to have a game, so the preemptive value of 4M is less useful and partner may have some extras. When partner has moderate extras, you're propelling your side to a shaky contract at best while the opponents are unlikely to find a plus.

Next, what is the shape of your hand? If it's 5332, 4M is less attractive. If it's 5431 or shapelier, 4M is more attractive.

If you decide to bid 2M only, your plan is to bid 3M over opponent's part-score interference and then go away, and not to accept partner's game tries. If you bid 4M, you've essentially shown your hand and you're done in the auction unless partner makes some forcing bid (essentially a cue bid or blackwood).

  • i agree...I would probably bid 4M with the objective of keeping the opponents out of the contract.
    – nick
    Aug 8, 2016 at 14:19

In Standard American, the normal bid is to raise to two of the major.

You are a bit "light" in points for this raise, but you also have two extra trumps (over three) to compensate, so you can think of your hand as a bit "better" than 6-7 points. More, if the "two extra trumps" means that you have a singleton or void elsewhere in your hand.

It is under some alternate bidding systems, like the one proposed by Larry Cohen and Marty Bergen of "the Law of Total Tricks, that you should go directly to four of the major with your known ten card major fit. The reasons they give are as follows:

1) If you and your partner have 17 points and ten trumps between you, you should make nine tricks (down one).

2) If partner has "extras" (16-17 or more), you should make your contract with about 20 points and ten trumps in total.

3) If you and partner have 10 in one major, the opponents are likely to have 10 in the other major, and one (or both) partnerships will probably have the 20 points and ten trumps needed to make four of a major. And if your side has less than 20, your sacrifice in 1) may "head off" an opposing game.


This highly depends on the shape of the rest of your hand. Note that my answer (and my experience) doesn't come from the Standard American system.

When you know you have a fit with your partner, you can add points for distribution. As a rule of thumb:

  • One additional point for each trump over the eighth
  • Three points for a renonce/void
  • Two points for a singelton
  • One point for a doubleton

For instance, partner opened Spades (as a 5-card) and you hold



This hand shows 5 HCP, and 2 additional points for the trumps, and 3 points for the lack of diamonds for a total of 10. Bidding 3 Spades as a game invite is a serious option in this case.

However, a hand like this:


has only 4 HCP, 2 extra trumps, but really no redeeming value in distribution. Your doubleton is worth only 1 additional point, but it also already holds a point in Hearts, so you can't count it for distribution as well. This hand shows about 6 points total, a limit raise to 2 Spades is the best call in this case.

  • 2
    I cannot imagine passing the second hand. Do you think the 4th seat will let the auction pass so peacefully?
    – petqwe
    Aug 3, 2016 at 9:55
  • @petqwe Edited, you're right about the pass.
    – steenbergh
    Aug 4, 2016 at 7:40
  • Likewise, respond 4M with the first hand. The opponents may well have the greater strength total, perhaps even slam, so make them guess at the five level right away. Partner is very unlikely to get seriously hurt by that call. Nov 17, 2017 at 22:50

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