Exclusion Blackwood is an expert convention used to ask for keycards, excluding one particular ace.
In this class, we will discuss why bidding Blackwood with a void does not lead to good outcomes.
We will go through everything you need to know to play this incredibly useful slam (and grand slam) tool that is universally played by experts. After we go through the topic, we will then look at a number of example deals designed to expose some common pitfalls which you can practice on your own whenever you want.
We discuss the following topics:
This lesson also includes 16 practice deals.
Take a look at Board 5 and Board 6 in the 09/15/2023 Wolpert BBO Game Post-mortem to see examples of auctions that will be covered in this lesson.
This set consists of 10 boards, all related to the lesson "Takeout Doubles Continued" from the "Wolperts on Competitive Bidding" series. It is recommended you review the content from that class before playing in the game and watching the video.
For further info about the topics mentioned in the post-mortem video, take a look at the following lessons:
Board 1: Declaring 4-4 Fits
This set consists of 10 boards, all related to the lesson "All About Cuebids" from the "Wolperts on Competitive Bidding" series. It is recommended you review the content from that class before watching this video.
Purchasing this class will get you access to the postmortem video of the duplicate game played on March 14th, 2023.
This class will go over many examples of common situations related to the lesson Going for Blood with Penalty Doubles.
This class will reinforce the methods learned in the 2C Opening Response Structure, 2NT Opening Response Structure, and Minor Suit Slam Bidding classes.
There was a free
BBO duplicate game where participants played 12 practice boards that were all on
the theme of two suited hands. Players got a chance to use the skills
learned in Michaels and Unusual 2NT / Dealing with
Michaels and U2NT classes.
mortem video for this BBO session is now available for purchase.
If you have any questions about the hands you have played
in these games, use the Q&A section below to ask your questions.
When asking a question, please reference the
deal number. You can also go to BBO, and chose the deal you have played, and
from the menu choose 'Export', 'Handviewer link', and copy the link and paste
it in the comments together with your question.
This class will go through many hands to reinforce the lesson taught on Reverse Drury and Passed Hand Response Structure.
We will discuss the expert standard system after our side overcalls. Topics in this class will include: New suits non-forcing after 1 level overcalls and what to do with forcing hands, how to show a fit in competition (mixed raises, 2NT Jordan in some new spots), dealing with negative doubles (what is redouble? Transfers after negative doubles), and being a tough opponent on split deck hands.
Breaking new suits is typically not a good idea. As we discussed in "End Plays and Frozen Suits", there are many suits that whoever leads them first are blowing a trick. So our general philosophy is to make passive plays on defense. Sometimes there is urgency for us to get our tricks set up and/or take our tricks. Deciding whether an active or passive defense is required is one of the most important skills on defense. This class will help you learn how to identify if there is urgency to cash our tricks or break a new suit, or if you should take a passive approach.
This lesson will cover how experts deal with the opponents making conventional two suited overcalls. We will discuss the well known tool "Unusual vs Unusual" as well as some more complex methods such as fit jumps and transfers. More important than all of those tools, we will discuss how and when to penalize your opponents for making these bids too aggressively much like we did in "going for blood".
Negative doubles and takeout doubles are incredibly important because of how often they come up. Unfortunately in these situations we can no longer easily double the opponents for penalty. This doesn't mean we can't get them. This class will talk about how to get penalties in a takeout double world.
Topics we will discuss:
Trap Passing as responder (when to pass for penalty).
When to make a reopening double as opener.
Trap passing as opener.
When to reopen double as responder.
How to react to a reopening double.
This lesson goes over standard expert methods when the opponents open weak opening bids. We will discuss leaping Michaels, direct cue-bids, Lebensohl, Better Minor Lebensohl and also spend time discussing when to enter the auction and how aggressively to balance.
Opening leads are the most difficult (and random) part of the game. We are taught to lead top of honor sequences because the sequence often protects us from giving away a trick. Sometimes that isn't the case and declarer can use the sequence lead to their advantage. This class practices capitalizing on sequence leads by finessing the opponents out of their remaining honors. We also discuss how to take advantage when we can recognize that the opponent's honor lead is from shortness. Every declarer must understand these fundamental situations.
This class will go through the entire expert standard system over our 2C opening bid including the Kokish relay. We will talk through a number of different difficult 2C auctions and clarify some very uncomfortable situations.
Warning to master series students: Most of the stuff in this class is more fundamental and may already be stuff you know. There haven't been many innovations by experts in the area of the 2C response structure.
There is a related lesson 2C Opening Response Structure Practice Set 1 in which we go over many examples to reinforce what has been taught in this lesson.
We begin this class by discussing the concept of secondary signals. These are signals we give when our primary signal has already been given or is obviously unnecessary.
This lesson focusses on trick one against NT when declarer wins the trick in dummy. We will talk about when attitude is no longer relevant and how to use count to solve some otherwise unsolvable problems. By the end of this class, you will have seen many examples of how to "give count when dummy wins the Jack or lower". We also spend some time talking about "remainder count" also known as present count or current count.
This is one of the most commonly played conventions. We are taught that it shows a limit raise in support for partner, but there is no reason to wait for 11 points to use the convention. This class will talk through the range required to bid drury and talk through expert follow ups to help us get to game, slam or stop low in a part score.
We will also do a complete overview of the rest of our response structure to 1 of a major as a passed hand.
Note: This lesson does not teach Michaels and unusual 2NT from scratch. You should already be familiar with these conventions before taking this lesson.
There are many benefits to entering the auction in with these two suited conventional bids. We preempt the opponents, discover good sacrifices and help get to good aggressive games. These bids do not come without risk as it is straightforward for the opponents to double us for penalty when we lack a fit. While experts do not use the "mini-maxi" range for these bids, we do have somewhat strict rules for when to come in and the vulnerability is a very important part of the puzzle. This class will talk about the range required and also talk about modern expert follow-ups to these commonly played conventions, including Meckwell advances over (1M) 2M.
This class also goes over a long list of uncommon but important Michaels and U2NT auctions along with a valuable list of common expert agreements for the Master Series.
An endplay is executed when you put an opponent on lead, with no safe exit cards, forcing them to make a lead that will help you. In some cases, we must prepare for an endplay by stripping our opponent of their safe exit cards. In others the opponents have no safe cards very early in the hand and our most important job as declarer is to let the defense break suits for us.
In this class we will go through different techniques we can use to identify possible endplays. We will isolate specific suit combinations and talk about how it will help for the opponents to lead them first. We will then put those suit combinations into hands and talk about how identifying "frozen" suits can help us visualize more endplays.
Gavin outlines the response structure to 2NT opening bids with most of his regular partners. We will dig into auctions that start with Stayman and transfers and talk about how awkward these auctions are at the 3 and 4 level. We will also do a full overview of the expert standard system for 2N-3S (showing 1 or both minors).
4-4 Fits are unique in that there is no long hand in trumps. This means we will often have multiple options for how to play the hand. In this class we go through the process of deciding which hand to set up. We will also discuss preparing for bad breaks, and how to play some important card combinations.
The skills learned in this class come up in almost every session of bridge.
When the opponents enter the bidding with a takeout double and we have the balance of the points, we have big potential for penalizing them. In this class we dig deeply into auctions that start with 1 of a suit-double-redouble. Everything taught in this class is completely standard and is must know for advanced players.
You don't know how many numbers you are missing! Watch this lesson and start making your opponent's lives way more difficult.
Ruffing losers in the short hand creates extra trump tricks. In every trump contract, declarer should stop and consider if its possible to ruff in the short hand. Sometimes we have other options to discard our losers, but sometimes ruffing our losers is the only way. This class is designed to help you build a good thought process as dummy comes down to help you identify if you need to ruff losers in the short hand.
When you sit down to play a round against a precision pair, they start by announcing their system. Do you panic? Do you understand what precision means?
This lesson will teach you the basics of how precision works, so when your opponents play precision, you are prepared and comfortable. We break down how to defend against a strong 1C opening, the ambiguous 1D opening, and how to deal with aggressive opening bids.
This set covers hands when we open 1NT and have a minor suit oriented hand in response. We practice auctions that start with minor suit transfers and our 3 level minor suit bids. You should review Master Series: NT Opening Response Structure before taking this class.
This class provides much needed reinforcement for the lesson on Multi-Landy. We will practice coming in over the opponent's 1NT and reacting to partners bid. Please review the lesson on Multi-Landy before you take this class.
This is Gavin's favorite convention for coming in against the opponent's 1NT opening bid. This lesson will go over the entire system, when to use it and how to respond to it as the advancer. We will discuss the fundamental difference between overcalling in the direct seat vs the balancing seat. Can you come in showing the majors with 4-4? 5-4?, should I enter the bidding aggressively? Can we bid game after they open 1NT?
Note: The 2D bid doesn't have a known suit and that makes it disallowed under the Basic chart (events with a masterpoint limit of 750 or lower, like a Gold Rush or a 299er or NAP/GNT flight C). It's legal in the Basic+ chart and obviously in the Open charts.
This set will provide many examples of the opponents entering our 1NT auction. We will use Negative Doubles, Transfer Lebensohl, Texas Transfers and more. The goal of these sets is to provide much needed reinforcement from the Transfer Lebensohl and NT Interference classes.
We will be trying various formats out over the course of these practice sets.
Declaring hands with 7 card fits can be very tricky. You begin the hand with just one more trump than your opponents. This can dramatically change the way you approach hands. There are common themes that can help guide your play. This lesson will talk through how to plan your play with a 7 card fit. We will take a good look at 6-1 fits, 5-2 fits and 4-3 fits and talk through the different approaches needed for each type of 7 card fit.
There is no video for Board 5, but it is covered in the lesson notes.
There are quite a few different ways to play over an 18-19 point 2NT rebid, such as Wolff Sign Off, New Minor Forcing and Checkback Stayman. There is no real standard among intermediate players. There is however a standard among expert players. Expert players play transfers after an 18-19 2NT rebid by opener.
By playing transfers you let the responder tell about their hand, rather than ask about opener. By playing this way, you give responder the flexibility to sign off, find the right game or explore slam while also keeping the declarer's hand better hidden. This lesson will teach you the entire system of transfers after 2N rebid.
This lesson covers important advanced concepts when the opponents enter our 1NT auctions. This is a follow up to Transfer Lebensohl. If you have not taken the Transfer Lebensohl class, you are better off avoiding this lesson. I am teaching this class in an effort to do a thorough job of going through the system I play.
Topics Include: More about negative doubles, how to bid when the opponents show both majors, what to do when the opponent's bid is 2NT or higher and we can no longer use Lebensohl.
This lesson explores some common situations that come up after we make a takeout double.
We will discuss double jumps after takeout doubles, how our bids change when the opponents redouble, and take an in depth look at cue-bidding as the partner of the takeout doubler.
This class is approaching advanced level but very important knowledge for all intermediate students.
When the opponents leave us to our own devices our NT response structure has all sorts of tools to sign off, invite game and force to game. When they overcall, they make a big dent in what is possible. Lebensohl was invented as a way to recreate some of the space that our opponents have taken away from us. Transfer lebensohl is almost universally played among expert players as it is better than lebensohl in every way possible and is not much more complicated.
This lesson starts with a quick review of Lebensohl but is designed for students who already know Lebensohl.
Gavin and Hazel continue discussing how to handle strong hands when the opponents open the bidding. This lesson discusses re-entering the auction when the opponents compete and also digs into recognizing your partner's power double, understanding their range and appropriately reacting.
When the opponents open the bidding in front of us and we have a hand that is too strong to make a simple overcall, our only way forward is to start with a takeout double. When the takeout doubler doubles and then bids again, they are telling their partner "I don't actually have a takeout double, I was just too strong to overcall".
Part one of this two part series does a basic review of takeout doubles and then goes in to describe how to navigate these strong hands when your opponent's open the bidding.
There are certain suits which are at risk only when one of our opponenets are on lead. It is often important to be aware tof that danger and avoid losing tricks to the danger hand. This practice set will help you recognize the denagerous opponent and how to avoid letting them in.
Most of the time our number one priority is to draw trumps, however sometimes there are more pressing matters. This class will go through some of the common easons why we would delay drawing trump.
This lesson takes a deeper look at how experts handle minor suit slam auctions. Minor suit slam auctions typically begin when we go past 3NT. This lesson will talk about how to initiate a slam try in a minor, how control bidding only starts above 3NT, how to apply fast arrival in minor suits and how to play the expert standard slam convention: one over keycard for the minors.
In this session, Gavin discusses all the tools available to help us explore slam after we open 1NT. We will go over 4N Quantitative, 5NT “pick a slam”, Baze after Stayman and so much more!
The 1NT response to 1M is one of the least descriptive bids in our system. Responder has shown 5-11 HCP and barely said anything about their shape. This lesson will cover important concepts such as the false preference, the impossible 2S bid and one of his favorite conventions: Modified Bart. While Gavin plays Semi-Forcing, the system described in this lesson applies regardless of whether you play forcing or semi-forcing.
When partner is a passed hand, the math changes. We are able to rule out game with certain hands and that affects things like our opening bid, overcall and preempt range. Being a passed hand also gives us the flexibility to make more aggressive bids knowing our bids are non forcing. This class will teach you about how you can use the fact that you or your partner is a passed hand to your advantage.
Gavin teaches a common expert convention for how to deal with the opponents takeout double. Without the use of this convention, you are forced to choose whether new suits at the 2 level are forcing or not forcing. Transfers give responder the flexibility to show suits with both weak hands and strong hands. Over the past 10 years transfers have found their way into more and more auctions. This is a great introduction to how transfers can improve auctions that you wouldn’t expect. After going through this advanced convention we also discuss other auctions we can use these exact same agreements.
We’ve Had Enough!!!! Help Suit Game Tries are a thing of the past. Natural Game Tries are the way to go. While the two are not very different from one another, the distinction is very important. We will discuss why we define our game tries as natural rather than help, when we still want partner to help us in that suit. We may be broken records when we say, “there is no score bonus for playing in 3”. This lesson will also spend time talking about hands where you should probably avoid game tries all together and secure your plus score at the 2 level.
This lesson is the first in the series to discuss slam bidding. Hazel will introduce her students to Splinter bids. She will show you how having a singleton can help you make a trump suit slam with fewer than the typical 32 high card points.
Gavin outlines the response structure he plays with his expert partners after a 1 of a minor opening bid. He discusses his opening bid style and then dives into his entire system including: Walsh Style, 2NT forcing, Inverted Minors, Weak Jump Shifts and Splinters. Learn useful new tools that are commonly played among advanced and expert players.
When we learn conventions we are taught the structure of the method, but are often left without learning some of the nuances of how to bid after the convention occurs. Consider this lesson Support Doubles Part 2. This lesson will dig into questions like what do I do when my partner makes a support double and I only have 4 card support? When is it right to compete in our major at the 2 level? 3 level? My support double showed my fit but I have a strong hand, what now?
Hazel will discuss how the opponents bidding affects how we show our fit for partner. She will introduce you to the concept of cue-bidding the opponents suit to show a good hand with support for partner. She will also discuss the concept of weak jump raises in competition. This critical subject is a must learn for every bridge player.
This class covers a wide range of things related to doubles. When are doubles penalty? When are they takeout? When are they value showing? When are they conventional? The lesson notes provided for this class act as a sort of encyclopedia of doubles. We tie together all the new concepts we have learned in Dealing with Overcalls 1 & 2 and Redoubles. This class has really useful review for intermediate players along with some new advanced concepts.
After opener’s rebid, responder conveys an important message of sign off, invite or game force. One of the most common mistakes in bridge happens on opener’s next call. In this class Hazel will review all of the bids leading up to opener’s 3rd bid and then discuss when opener should take a very descriptive 3rd call and when they should pass.
This critical subject discusses the fact that high card points are merely an attempt at conveying our trick taking potential to our partner. We discuss when and how to do add dummy and length points. After discussing the various features that add and subtract from our trick taking potential, we take a look at a number of hands where partner has invited us. Each of the examples have us in the middle of our range and force us to decide whether to accept the invitation. Don’t miss this very important lesson.
Gavin discusses one of his favorite conventions. It is a significant improvement over regular new minor forcing without too much added complexity. Once you understand the 2C and 2D responses to 1NT, the rest is very intuitive. In this comprehensive 70-slide presentation Gavin keeps the lesson moving at a brisk pace to keep it to just over 90 minutes.
In the second part of this two part series on dealing with overcalls the wolperts continue to go step by step through extremely common everyday problems. The problems we discuss in this almost 2 hour lesson are quite difficult, but cover details that every intermediate bridge player must understand in order to get to the next level.
When opener has more than a minimum opening bid, they use their rebid to convey their strength to partner. Hazel begins by reviewing what to open with strong hands and then she breaks down the different types of rebids one by one. This lesson covers 18-19 balanced, showing a fit, strong one suited hands, strong jump shifts and reverses.
Gavin outlines the response structure he plays with his expert partners after a 1 of a major opening bid. He discusses his opening bid style and then dives into his entire system including: constructive raises, invitational jump shifts, mixed raises, two tiered splinters and more. Learn useful new tools that are commonly played among advanced and expert players.
Modern overcalls are getting lighter and lighter every day. It is critical that we have a firm understanding of what our bids mean in order not to let overcalls push you around. This class takes a step-by-step approach to discussing the various positions we find ourselves in after the opponents overcall. There is a lot of very useful review that covers many common mistakes.
Gavin discusses the expert standard way of handling the very uncomfortable reverse auctions. The class covers the range for reverses, how to slow the auction down, what bids are forcing and what aren’t. Learn how to handle reverse auctions once and for all.
When opener is balanced, they must try to describe their point count to partner. Our point ranges are split into many point ranges: 12-14, 15-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-24. This class discusses what to open with your balanced hands and how to respond
Bidding the opponents suit is an effective way to make a forcing bid. Some cuebids show fits, others are just a forcing bid, often looking for partner to bid NT with a stopper. Join Gavin and Hazel as they discuss all different types of cue-bids.
When we are too strong to open at the one level, we use our strong, artificial and forcing 2C Opening Bid. This class discusses the hand types we open 2C, what our responses mean and how to proceed
The redouble is a very useful tool to show partner you have a good hand. Redouble puts the opponents on notice that they could be in trouble. When is redouble for penalty and when is it “get me out of here”. Join Gavin and Hazel for a thorough discussion all about the redouble.
Gavin outlines the NT Structure he plays with most of his regular partners. He talks about 4 Way Transfers with Range ask, Puppet Stayman, how to handle hands with both minors and more. Learn useful new tools that are commonly played among advanced and expert players.
Part of being a tough opponent is taking away your opponents bidding room. Having a good long suit gives us the safety to do so. This class discusses the requirements for opening weak two bids and 3 level preempts. Hazel talks about how to respond to weak two bids as well as when to stay out of trouble.
One of the most common mistakes in the game is opener taking an unnecessary free bid. We talk about what the difference is between being forced to bid and freely choosing to bid. Sometimes the differences are subtle, but important to recognize. This class talks about a wide range of free bid situations and helps you understand not to tell the same story twice.
The final part of this 3-part advanced 2/1 series covers hands where you do not have an immediate fit after 2/1. We talk about game forcing principles and how to scramble to try to find 3NT, and start discussing how and when to fall back on 7 card major suit fits as a possible game contract. Understanding how to handle these auctions is a major part of becoming an expert player. The game forcing principles learned here can be applied to all types of game forcing auctions.
The takeout doubler has given a message to their partner with the initial double. This class discusses how the takeout doubler should continue at their next turn. We discuss the Power double (Super Duper Double) along with a lot of discussion about respecting partner’s range.
Balancing is another necessary part of being a tough opponent. We must be aggressive to fight for the part score and our partner needs to understand that and give us leeway. This class discusses the difference between the direct and balancing chair and how it affects the meanings of our bids.
Major suit slam bidding after 2/1 should be bread and butter auctions. Serious 3NT is a tool used by advanced/expert players to solve the problem of two unlimited hands control bidding with one another, not knowing why. This covers Serious 3NT, Control Bidding, Last Train, Supporting at the 2 level vs the 3 level and more. This is part 2 of a 3 part series.
In this critical subject, we continue discussing how to deal with the opponents overcalls. The negative double was a way for responder to get involved in the auction, now it is opener’s responsibility to react. This class discusses what opener should do with a fit and without a fit.
This class covers a wide variety of situations with two suited hands. We talk about which suit to open the bidding, which suit to rebid, when to be more aggressive and when to back off. We review Michaels and Unusual 2NT, along with quite a lot of discussion about how aggressively to respond to those conventions. This class is over 2 hours long.
This lesson covers the 2/1 structure that Gavin plays with his more advanced partners. It discusses the initial 2/1 response and all of opener’s rebids. Gavin explains why he likes to play a rebid of opener’s major promises 6 and what that means for the rest of opener’s rebids. This is part 1 of a 3 part series and lays the groundwork for the next two classes.
Perhaps the most important and common convention in bridge. When the opponents overcall we need a good way to uncover major suit fits. Negative doubles are that tool. Every bridge player needs to play negative doubles. This class discusses what the requirements are for the negative double and how they change by level.
Unlike overcalls, takeout doubles do not have a long suit to fall back on for tricks. We need to have a full opening hand to enter the opponents auction with a takeout double. This class discusses the range and distributions required along with how to react to partner’s takeout double.
Declarer is on a mission. The sooner we can identify declarer’s plan, the sooner we can start to foil it. This class discusses how to recognize what declarer is planning and how to stop them from achieving their goals. After the discussion we do a wide variety of defensive practice hands which utilize the 3 types of defensive signals.
Aggressive overcalling is a big part of being a tough opponent. There is a major difference between one level overcalls and two level overcalls. This class discusses those differences along with how our reactions to overcalls differ from our reactions to opening bids.
Discarding is one of the hardest parts of the game. On one hand, we use our discards to help our partner know where we have our strength. On the other hand we have to worry about what suits we need to keep to stop declarer. This class discusses how to navigate the incredibly difficult process of discarding. After the discussion we do a wide variety of defensive practice hands which utilize the 3 types of defensive signals.
When responder has an opening hand, they need to make sure they reach game. Fourth Suit Game Forcing is a tool which gives responder the flexibility to take the bidding slowly and find the right final contract. This class talks all about responder’s responsibilities and how opener should react to the fourth suit
Knowing when to cover an honor is an art form. The most important thing is to understand how it can help. This class discusses why we might need to cover an honor and discusses the thought process you should have to decide. After the discussion we do a wide variety of defensive practice hands which utilize the 3 types of defensive signals.
When Opener rebids 1NT they are denying a 4 card fit for responder’s major and showing 12-14 points. When Responder is interested in game, they may need a way to ask opener for more information. New minor forcing is the way. This class teaches you another necessary convention to add to your convention card.
Lesson 3’s video starts with 15 minutes of reviewing the homework from lesson 2 "Leads against Suit Contracts". We then discuss some spots where we must lead aggressively against suit contracts. This lesson summarizes everything we have discussed over the series and brings it all together
Suit Preference Signals are the third and final defensive signal. We use suit preference when we do not need attitude or count. This is the rarest but also potentially the most useful signal when it comes up. This class will explain the many different situations that suit preference can be useful.
Jacoby Transfers are a partner in crime with Stayman. We use Jacoby when we have 5+ cards in a major. Transfers allow responder to escape from 1NT with a weak hand as well as show their major on their way towards game. This class talks about how to use Jacoby Transfers and how to follow up after using it.
Lesson 2 of this series digs in to Gavin’s concept of trying not to blow tricks against suit contracts. We discuss how dangerous it is to lead from all the different honors. We talk about how to figure out what the safest lead will be and that it often will be a trump lead.
Count signals are the second priority signal. We give count when declarer or dummy leads a suit and we are following. We tell our partner if we have an even or odd number of cards. This class talks about how and when to give count and how the signals can be useful. There was a powerpoint malfunction and so this class is entirely produced on a whiteboard.
This is our introduction to conventional bidding. Stayman is a tool we use to discover 4-4 major suit fits after NT. This class discusses how to use stayman, how to respond to stayman and how to react to opener’s response
In lesson one of this series we discuss the differences between leading at matchpoints vs imps. Gavin discusses how boring leads are good leads against NT. He breaks down how the bidding can affect our leads against NT.
Attitude signals are the first and most important part of defensive signalling. We give attitude signals on our partner’s lead and when we discard. This class teaches standard attitude signals. It discusses the importance of giving strong signals and how to react to those signals. We finish the class by playing some practice deals.
3rd and low leads against suits are commonly played by advanced and expert players. They choose to use their spot cards to convey how many they have, rather than how good the suit is they are leading from. This class tells you everything you need to know to start playing 3rd and low leads against suit contracts.