Hand Evaluation


Distribution Points (for trump contracts only)

Count only high-card pts. for short suits with "unprotected" honors (K, Qx).
Count full distribution points for short suits with quick tricks (A, Ax, Kx, AK).
DON'T add in your distribution points until you know you have a trump fit.


Suit Length & Strength

Your hand goes "up" in value if you have:

Honor Combinations and Positions

The ultimate value of your honors will depend on the "fillers" partner has. In general, though, you'll win more tricks with hands that have:

When evaluating your hand for a suit contract, don't give full value to your lower honors (queens & jacks) if they're in the opponent's bid suit. Holdings like Qxx, Jxxx and QJx aren't likely to help partner and may take tricks only if you're defending the opponents' contract.


AT THE TABLE

You open 1D and partner responds 1H. What is your rebid?

  AK54   Q862   AQJ103   Void
4H. A "normal" 16-pt. hand would be worth only a raise to 3H, but you have a strong side suit and good  distributional values here. Adding in 3 pts. for the void,  your hand is worth 19 pts. in support of hearts, so be sure you raise partner to game in his suit immediately.
  AQJ   4   AJ7652   KJ3
2D. Your choice is between 2D, showing 13-15 pts., and 3D, showing 16-18 pts. With your poor suit and a singleton in partner's suit, your best choice is probably the underbid of 2D. If partner invites game, you can accept -- and be happy to contribute more than promised instead of less.
  Void   J106   AK1074   AKQ93
3C. Your good suits and 3-card support for partner make this hand worth a jump-shift to force to game. You may be able to raise hearts later if partner shows more than 4. If he had instead bid 1S, you should rebid only 2C to keep the bidding low until you find a fit.

You open 1S and partner responds 2S. What is your rebid?

  KJ10943   6   AJ92   A4
3D. This hand has minimum point-count, but once you find the spade fit, it's worth 17 pts. -- 13 pts. in high cards, plus 2 pts. for the singleton, 1 pt. for the doubleton and 1 pt. for the extra trump (partner promised at least 3-card support, so you know you have at least 9 trumps). Your 3D bid is a game-try bid that shows your second suit and invites partner to bid 4S if he has help in diamonds.
  KJ1094   K6   KQ4   AJ9
2NT. You need general high-card strength from partner to make 4S, so show your balanced hand with a game-try of 2NT. Partner will return to 3S with a minimum response or bid 4S with a maximum 8-9 pts.

Partner opens 1C, you respond 1H and partner raises to 2H. What is your rebid?

  KJ5   Q642   KJ3   J54
Pass. With most 11-point hands, you would want to invite game, but this one has such poor trick-taking potential that your best choice is pass. The weak trumps, no aces and flat distribution all make your hand drop in value.
  7  KQ1054   1092   A975
4H. You could invite game by bidding only 3H (or making a game-try bid of 3C), but partner will pass with many minimum hands that could easily take 10 tricks. Your extra trump and the singleton make this hand worth at least 12 pts., and the fit in partner's club suit makes it even more powerful. 

©  Karen Walker