ACBL Bidding Box Regulations
Revised: May 1998
Use of Bidding Boxes
1. Bidding boxes will be used in all events
except Intermediate/Newcomer events (0-200). Their use will be optional in I/N events.
2. Units and Districts are encouraged to use bidding boxes in their games.
3. Handicapped players requiring bidding boxes will have preference when availability
4. Non-handicapped players may use bidding boxes, if available, in games in which
such use is not mandated as long as no player at the table objects.
Note: Any player has the right to use bidding
boxes (assuming they are available) for any ACBL event in which they play, if they
are needed because of a hearing impairment. As a policy, we do not question players
as to the details of a handicap when they state that one exists.
When bidding boxes are in use for this reason,
no player has the right to refuse to play with them. Players who have a handicap
which preclude their use will have a distinctive card. The card will be displayed
on the table and read, "due to a physical or visual handicap, we are not using
Choosing a Call Using Bidding Boxes
A player is obligated to choose a call
before touching any card in the box. Deliberation while touching the bidding box
cards may subject the offending side to the adjustment provisions of Law 16. A call
is considered made when a bidding box card has been taken out of the box with apparent
intent. Until the card has been completely removed from the box, the director will
treat the situation as unauthorized information.
A call may be changed without penalty, under
the provisions of Law 25, only if a player has inadvertently taken out the wrong
bidding box card, and the player corrects, or attempts to correct, without pause
for thought, and partner has not subsequently called.
If the Director is reasonably certain that
the original call was a mechanical problem, they should be liberal in judging pause
for thought. It is difficult, however, to justify pulling a bid in place of a pass,
double or redouble as a mechanical error. Calls from different pockets should rarely,
if at all, be judged as inadvertent. One understandable exception is placing the
double card out followed shortly with a bid card that skips the bidding. This appears
clear that the double card was placed inadvertently on the table.
The STOP Card
Players should protect their rights and
the opponent's by announcing, prior to making any subsequent bid that skips one or
more levels of bidding.
Place the stop card so that LHO sees it (the
skip bidder is responsible for gaining LHO's attention). The skip bid is made. The
stop card is replaced in the bidding box.
NOTE: If a player forgets to replace the
stop card there is no penalty. It is each player's responsibility to maintain appropriate
tempo including after a skip bid.
If the stop card is placed on the table and
a skip bid is not made, the director may judge that the bid card was played inadvertently
or not. If the judgment is that the card was played after a "slip of the mind"
therefore with intent, then the situation is a Law 16 (Unauthorized Information)
situation, not an insufficient bid - assuming that the player does not want to make
(or did make) a purposeful correction under Law 25 B.2. An example of this situation
is: 1H - 2D - (after the stop card is displayed) 2S.
Except when screens are in use, a player
must say "Alert" out loud when tapping the alert strip of the bidding box.
Bidding Box Mechanics and Etiquette
The following is excerpts taken from an
article written in the ACBL Bulletin July, 1995.
... Bidding boxes are now mandatory at all NABCs
- except in the I/N events where their use is optional - and their use is spreading
to regional and sectional tournaments as well as local clubs.
Here are some advantages to using them:
1. Auctions can no longer be overheard at other
2. No extraneous information is exchanged through a remark or the tone in which a
call is made.
3. The need for reviews during the auction is virtually eliminated.
4. Bids out of turn are rare.
5. The noise level in the playing area is dramatically reduced.
Here are some suggestions to help you become
familiar with the mechanics and etiquette of using bid boxes:
1. Make up your mind what you going to bid
before you reach into the bid box. This eliminates shuffling through the bid cards
as if you were still debating which to place on the table. This gives unauthorized
information that you werenft sure about your final choice.
2. Develop the habit of placing your thumb over the bid you select as you pull the
bid card out. Look at the bid card before you place it on the table. This insures
that youfve got the card you want.
3. Place the bid cards on the table without special emphasis. "Building"
your auction from left to right enables you to display and recover you bid cards
most effectively. The bids should overlap so that the entire auction is visible.
This includes pass, double and redouble.
4. The red STOP card is used during the auction as a skip bid warning. As with verbal
bidding, either you should always make a skip bid warning when a skip bid comes up
or you should never use the warning.
Place the stop card so that LHO sees it (the skip bidder is responsible for gaining LHOfs attention). The skip bid is made. The stop card is replaced in the bidding box.
NOTE: LHO is entitled to 10 seconds even if the STOP card is picked up immediately.
5. A player must say "Alert" out loud while touching the alert flag on his bidding box. When using screens, silent alerts are mandatory.
Even with practice and familiarity, accidents
will happen and the "OOPS" rule applies to inadvertent calls or
For example: You mean to bid 1 Spade but accidentally play the 1 Heart card on the table. The director is authorized to permit you to change your call if it was inadvertent.
In such a case, some immediate indication is
necessary before partner has called. The director should be liberal in judging whether
there was pause for thought.
If partner has already taken some action you
now have an obligation, just as with verbal bidding, to continue bidding as though
no irregularity had occurred.
Revised Edition states:
I. BIDDING BOXES
1, A player is obligated to choose a call before
touching any card in the box. Deliberation while touching the bidding box cards,
removing bidding cards prior to the call being considered "made," etc.,
may subject the offending side to the adjustment provisions of Law 16. A call is
considered made when a bidding card is removed from the bidding box and held touching
or nearly touching the table or maintained in such a position to indicate that the
call has been made. Until a call is considered made, the director will treat the
situation as unauthorized information and apply Law 16. After a call is considered
made, the director will apply Law 25.
2. A call, once made, may be changed without penalty under the provisions of Law 25 only if a player has inadvertently taken out the wrong bidding card, and the player corrects, or attempts to correct without pause for thought, and LHO has not taken action (picking up the bidding cards after the auction is over constitutes taking action).
3. The skip-bid warning is given using bidding boxes by displaying the stop card, making a call and then replacing the stop card in the bidding box. LHO is obligated to wait 10 seconds (while giving the appearance of studying his hand) before making a call.