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How to Know When to Rebid or Pass in Bridge

After you open the bidding in bridge and your partner makes a response, do you have to bid again, or can you just pass? You may want to make a second bid, called your rebid, or you can just pass and forget the whole thing.

You made the opening bid and listened to your partner’s response. After that, do you absolutely have to bid again? Your decision depends on the response your partner makes:

  • Unlimited: Your partner’s response can be unlimited, meaning that it shows a minimum number of points, with no upper limit.

  • Limited: Or your partner’s response can be limited, a bid that shows a narrow range of points.

You can’t pass an unlimited response. You’re allowed to pass a limited response if you believe that you’re in a safe contract and that making a game contract is unlikely.

For example, if your partner responds in a new suit, you can’t pass.

Opener (You) Responder (Your Partner)
1 (12 to 20 HCP) 1 (6 or more HCP)

Because your partner has changed suits, your partner has made an unlimited response, so you dare not pass. Your partner may have a very strong hand, and a game or a slam may be in your future. If you passed now, you’d miss the chance to find out how strong a hand your partner has.

When your partner makes an unlimited response, your rebid further describes your hand. Many times, your rebid will limit your hand, allowing your partner to figure out the combined assets of the partnership.

Listen to your partner’s response to your opening bid very carefully because you employ two completely different rebid strategies, depending on your partner’s response.

As soon as your partner makes a limited bid (raises your suit, bids 1NT), you can pass if you have nothing more to say.

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