Over the past decade Gavin has made the world championship semi-finals three times with three different partners. All three partners have been very different levels from one another, however the one constant was the system they played. Gavin tries his best to play a very simple, understandable system that requires very little memory work. That doesn't mean he plays no conventions, it just means he limits himself to the ones that are most important and come up a lot. In this advanced series he outlines that system.
In many of these lessons he discusses style as much as does about methods. You can take these classes and get a lot out of them even if you do not adopt the methods described in the lessons. Each lesson comes with a full 90+ minute video replay and thorough notes package.
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.Lesson Notes: 51 pages Video Recording: 101 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 49 pages Video Recording: 101 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 43 pages Video Recording: 103 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 52 pages Video Recording: 99 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 50 pages Video Recording: 111 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 62 pages Video Recording: 105 mins Go To 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.Lesson Notes: 73 pages Video Recording: 94 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 60 pages Video Recording: 112 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 46 pages Video Recording: 92 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 53 pages Video Recording: 108 mins Go To Lesson
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!Lesson Notes: 57 pages Video Recording: 104 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 48 pages Video Recording: 110 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 70 pages Video Recording: 104 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 66 pages Video Recording: 100 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 54 pages Video Recording: 98 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 87 pages Video Recording: 120 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 62 pages Video Recording: 93 mins Go To Lesson
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).Lesson Notes: 69 pages Video Recording: 72 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 85 pages Video Recording: 115 mins Go To Lesson
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.
Lesson Notes: 72 pages
Video Recording: 111 mins
Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 76 pages Video Recording: 95 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 75 pages Video Recording: 110 mins Go To Lesson
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".Lesson Notes: 76 pages Video Recording: 94 mins Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 76 pages Video Recording: 111 mins Go To Lesson
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.
Lesson Notes: 64 pages
Video Recording: 110 mins
Go To Lesson
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.Lesson Notes: 41 pages Video Recording: 124 mins Go To Lesson