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What requirements do you have for opening the auction light in the third position when you are light ? vulnerability? strength? 4-card major? etcetera?

All responses will be welcome.

2 Answers 2

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My feeling is that, in expert play, you should open in 3rd seat if you'd be willing to overcall, OR if you'd be willing to open in 1st seat. (Of course, sometimes you make 4 card overcalls. Nonvulnerable, I'd overcall 1S over 1C on AKJx xx xxx xxxx or KQxxx x xxx xxxx) In expert play, I also think it's profitable to psyche frequently in 3rd seat favorable, but unfortunately that's actually illegal in most bridge jurisdictions (as frequent psyches make a partnership agreement and an agreement to open as light as 0 hcp is illegal). (Note I'm not an expert.)

Now, I'm not going to follow that at the local club. My partner probably isn't prepared for it, but even if I was playing with someone who was, this kind of aggressive bidding scares less skilled and less competitive players away (and we end up with not enough players at the club for a game). Also, against worse players, we already do well enough by just outplaying them and there is no need to take extra gambles, even if the gambles work out more often than not.

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I'm just an intermediate, so keep that in mind.

I think this has to be divided into different kinds of opening bid:

  • 1 NT (and stronger bids) should be the same as usual.
  • 1 of a suit - I still want 5 cards for a major, but will make rare exceptions. I'd say 11 HCP
  • Preempt - 3rd seat white on red, I'll go a bit crazy. As long as I have a long suit, I'll bid even with no points outside the suit. Why? I have read that the average HCP in a passed hand is 7. So, figure partner has 7 and RHO has 7. Now, if I have 7 as well .... well, LHO has 19! Make them bid at the 3 or 4 level! (Don't you hate it when your opponents do this to you?).
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  • Points 1 and 2 are good; but statistical fallacy in "I have read that the average HCP in a passed hand is 7. So, figure partner has 7 and RHO has 7.". That only applies BEFORE you look at your cards. Once you look at your cards, that changes. If you have only 6 points you need to figure that the two passed hands in front of you each are increased, on average, by some fraction of the amount you're short of 10. Further: you and partner not being good enough to profit from bad 3rd hand preempts doesn't mean strong players aren't capable of doing so. Also beware ethical violations - see above. Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 14:06

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