I dealt and passed - LH opponent passed, partner passed and RHO opened 1 Heart. Holding:

♠ K98 ♥ 109 ♦ A986 ♣KJ2     can I double as this is the first opportunity to do so?

  • Hi Hazel - welcome to the site! Could you add a few more details, such as what system you were playing and the order of the suits in the hand you have given? (I think it's standard to give hands from spades to clubs, but that would imply weak hearts). You can copy and paste unicode suit symbols from here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode_Playing_Card
    – tttppp
    Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 13:29
  • Also what did you have in your hand?
    – tttppp
    Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 13:37
  • 1
    I would assume that the cards listed are what Hazel had in her hand, and the punctuation above is just a little ambiguous. Usually people don't know what their RHO is holding when deciding how to bid! Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 8:24
  • @thesunneversets Ah, that makes more sense!
    – tttppp
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 9:11
  • @Hazel Dee: Welcome to the site. An upvote to get you started.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 13:57

3 Answers 3


I'm assuming that the cards in the question are your cards, in the conventional ordering of Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs.

You certainly can make a takeout double at this stage - you have a shortage of your opponent's bid suit, and no major shortages elsewhere - but the question is, do you really want to? With such an uninspiringly flat hand, only 11 HCP, and a partner who has already indicated that she doesn't have an opening hand, it seems unlikely you're going to be able to seriously compete in this auction, even in the best case scenario. Supposing you force your opponent to bid here - do you really want to end up in 2C or 2D with a marginal fit and about 20 points between you? (Not entirely a rhetorical question - maybe if you have 60 below the line, or your opponents have 70 below it, you do!)

If you're not worried about ending up in a miserable minor-suit partscore or, even more likely, giving your opponents a little more information about the lie of the cards than they previously had, then this doesn't seem an actively diabolical bid. In general though I would adhere to the rule of thumb "third hand low, fourth hand high": given that your hand in the fourth seat is so unexciting I'd usually just keep quiet and hope for more interesting cards next time around.

  • Regarding the statement: "Supposing you force your opponent to bid here": Is the opponent you refer to here In-Hand Opponent or Opposite-Hand Opponent? It certainly can't be either of LHO or RHO. Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 4:04

My answer is yes, to the "first to bid" part, and not quite to the "should I double" part.

My personal requirement for a takeout double is 14 points. You have 12, (11 in HCP, one for the doubleton in hearts), which I consider too weak for such a bid.

Change the hand slightly to:

♠ KT98 ♥ --- ♦ A9862 ♣KJ92

and I'd double in a heartbeat, with three points for the void, and at least four cards in each of the other three suits.

Note that you seem to be missing a card in the original question. If the missing card is a low spade (so that you have four), that would make a better case for a double, even with your hand. And if the missing card were the queen of spades, then I'd certainly double with 13 HCP and a doubleton in the opponent's suit.


As a passed hand I would eagerly double with this hand

♠ KJ98 ♥ T9 ♦ A62 ♣KT92

but not with the hand you have inquired on. My reasons for regarding the hand above as significantly better are:

  • Holding a good 4-card spade suit I can reasonably expect to compete profitably to 2S even if partner has only honour-third in Spades and a shapely 8 count or so. This re-entering double really should promise 4 spades so that partner can respond 1S on honour third if second hand passes again.

  • The minor suits have the broken holding in the long suit and the solid holding in the short suit. Reversing the honours in the minors weakens the hand by perhaps half a point in this situation.

  • Competing to three of a minor with two balanced passed hands is unlikely to be a winning contract; likewise with attempting to compete to 2NT.

The opponents can often get into trouble on hands like these so there is no rush to compete. If the auction continues after your second pass with 2H - P - P back to you still retain the make a reopening double in a last attempt to compete in 2S. If instead a 1S, 1NT, 2C or 2D call came back to you in reopening seat you are just where you want to be on this hand; defending.

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