If you are the first person to have a hand suitable for opening the bidding you have to decide what bid to make.  Each bid you and your partner make aims to tell each other something about your hand.

The simplest opening bid to learn in a game of Acol bridge is 1NT.  This bid is made IF and ONLY IF:

1)  Your hand contains 12 – 14 HCPs (High Card Points)

2)  You hold a balanced hand.

What is a balanced hand?

A balanced hand contains

  • no voids (ie, you must hold cards in all 4 suits),
  • no singletons (you mustn’t hold just one card in a suit)
  • no more than one doubleton (a suit with 2 cards)
Note:  If you hold a 5 card major suit (spades or hearts) then you should open with a bid of 1 of  the major suit.  However, if you hold a 5 card minor suit, you should open with 1NT.

Examples of a balanced hand (with 12 – 14 points)

Example 1

Spades K 10 9 3, Hearts A 7 2,  Diamonds Q J 6, Clubs K 7 4

This hand has 13 HCPs, cards in all four suits and no voids or singletons

Example 2

Spades A J, Hearts 10 9 4 2, Diamonds K Q 7 6, Clubs Q 8 5

This hand has 12 HCPs and only one doubleton (spades)

Example 3

Spades Q J 8 9 , Hearts A K 7 6, Diamonds Q J, Clubs J 6 3

This hand has 14 HCPs and only one doublton.

What This Bid Tells Your Partner

An OPENING bid of 1NT tells your partner that you have 12 – 14 HCPs and a balanced hand.