Gambling Three No Trump



Everyone loves to gamble. Bridge is a gambling game, although it is considered unmannered to play for money. To take guessing out of the equation and the auction, conventions and logical treatments, etc. have been invented, devised and created. However, the Gambling Three No Trump Convention is used to obstruct the opponents because it takes up so much bidding space. This conventional method is part of the British System. This feature is also used by bridge players using Precision. The Gambling Three No Trump bid is also a feature of the Acol System and has been adopted by bridge players using the Two Clubs Strong Artificial Opening bid.

The Gambling Three No Trump bid is an opening bid based on a long, solid Minor Suit, with at least one, preferably two, outside stoppers. The general consensus is that the Minor suit contain at least seven cards, which are solid in honors from the top Ace down to generally the Jack. This guideline, however, has been relaxed to include holdings which contain only five Losing Tricks and a 7-card Minor suit. However, the requirement that an outside stopper should be included continues to be valid for both views.

The so-called Classical Version of this concept requires that the opener have stoppers in two side suits in addition to the solid 7-card Minor suit. This version is sometimes referred to as the Strong, Gambling 3 No Trump Opening.

The second version is referred to as the Modified Version, devised by Mr. Terence Reese. In this version the Minor suit is still the solid to semi-solid 7-card Minor suit with the difference being that only one outside King or Queen be present. This version is sometimes referred to as the Weak, Gambling No Trump Opening.

The following illustrations of the Classical versus the Modified Versions should clarify this concept of Mr. Terence Reese.

With either of these holdings the opener should open the auction with 3 No Trump.
Responder has the following options:

  • Pass: To play.
  • Shows weakness and indicates a desire to play in opener’s long suit.
  • An artificial bid, asking for a singleton.

1. If opener has a singleton in a Major suit, the opener bids that suit. A 4 rebid shows a singleton in Hearts and a 4 rebid shows a singleton in Spades.

2. If opener bids 4NT, this shows a singleton in either of the Minor suits.

3. If opener bids 5 or 5, then opener has a singleton in other Minor suit and the bid establishes the long, solid Minor suit.

These two bids are natural and indicate a self-sufficient 6-card suit or better. The opener is required to pass.

This is a conventional bid. Opener has already shown an Ace, and therefore the responses are downgraded.

This bid shows a desire to play in the Minor suit of the opener. This can be a possible Preempt.

This bid is natural. With a high honor in Clubs, the responder has reasoned that the suit of the opener is Diamonds. The opener should pass.

A forcing response asking opener to bid a grand slam if opener has additional values such as an 8-card Minor suit, or King/Queen in a side suit.

Shows a desire to play a Minor suit slam. The opener can correct to Diamonds is Diamonds is the long, solid Minor suit.

Defense mechanisms are solely based on the partnership agreement. Following are several suggestions.

In general any defense mechanism is decided by the individual partnership. Possible defense methods are presented below, but they are not to be considered etched in stone. The following bids generally apply to the immediate seat after a Gambling 3 No Trump opening, but may also apply if the partner of the opener passes in rotation.

Double: Double is for penalty.

If the suit of the opponent bidding the Gambling 3 No Trump can be deduced, then:

Promises specifically Hearts and (to partner) an unknown Minor suit. This overcall is similar to the Astro convention and/or possible variations.

Promises specifically Spades and an unknown Minor suit. 4NT by partner asks for the Minor suit.

As the defense must bid on the four level, the defense is generally a concept of simplicity. This applies to all other bids, which are deemed natural and are non-forcing in nature. As an alternative method, a bid of 4 in this defense mechanism may be employed by the partnership as wished, even natural if not the suit of the opponent.

Another alternative is that this variation can also be varied so that the overcaller may actually bid the deduced suit of the player bidding the Gambling 3 No Trump in order to be obstructive to the partner of the No Trump bidder. The variation would be to actually bid the suit of the No Trump bidder to show shortage in this suit, length in the other Minor suit and promise Hearts or Spades according to the partnership agreement.

Another possible defense mechanism is based on the Ripstra conventional method, which is as follows. The overcaller is showing:

1. both Major suits

2. minimum 4-4 distribution in both Major suits

3. the stronger of the Minor suits

In both instances, the overcaller is showing at least 8 card distribution in both Major suits. The overcall must base the decision on the assumption of adequate values based on high card points, sufficient distributional values defined by shape of the holding, and the expectancy of partner holding at least one or more winning tricks. Therefore, the bid of four of the better Minor suit is Takeout for the Major suits, which also gives the partnership the added advantage of providing the partnership with additional bidding space to find its best suit and best fit.

There are several other variations of established first responses to an opening of a Gambling 3 No Trump. One variation is presented below, which employs the so-called Rescue Bid. The origin is unknown.

A Rescue Response asking partner to 1. Pass with Clubs or 2. correct to 4 with Diamonds.

A Rescue Response asking partner to 1. Pass with Diamonds or 2. correct to 5 with Clubs.

Promises a good 6-card suit or longer, but denies any outside Ace. This first response is generally considered to be non-forcing in nature.

An Asking Bid for trump quality.

The general view is that the opener bids:

  • 1. 5 Clubs when holding the equivalent of: AKQxxxx. This bid shows lower quality and normal length.
  • 2. 5 Diamonds when holding the equivalent of: AKQJxxx. This bid shows higher quality and normal length.
  • 3. 5 Hearts when holding the equivalent of: AKJxxxxx. This bid shows lower quality and additional length.
  • 4. 5 Spades when holding the equivalent of: AKQxxxxx. This bid shows higher quality and additional length.

5 Clubs To play in the Minor suit of the opener. If the suit is Diamonds, then the opener corrects.