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Rule of 20

A hand with a long suit will normally take more tricks than a balanced hand and you may already be familiar with the concept of adding points for length.

The Rule of 20 combines high card points and length points into an easy method for deciding whether or not to open.

Count your high card points, add the length of your two longest suits. If the total equals 20 you have enough to open the bidding.

On the following hand You have 11 high card points. Your two longest suits are spades, 5, and hearts, 4, which equals 9 long suit points.

rule of 20 in bridge

11 high card points + 9 long suit points = 20. 1♠!

The rule of 20 is only a guideline, of course, and you're free to use your judgement in all cases.

I favor light opening bids. When you're my age, you can never be sure that the bidding will get back around to you again. Oswald Jacoby at 77
Between Hands
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