Slam Bidding in Bridge

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What is Slam Bidding?

There are two kinds of slam in a game of bridge:  a grand slam and a small slam.

What is a grand slam in bridge?

Achieving a grand slam means that your partnership has bid for and won all 13 tricks in a game.

What is a small slam in bridge?

Making a small slam means that your partnership bid for and won 12 of the 13 tricks.

Do you have enough points?

Bidding for a slam is risky.  If you achieve your bid you will score a lot of extra points.  However, if you don’t make your bid you will give these points to the opposition.

So, before bidding for a slam, you will want to be as certain as you can be that your partnership has the right number of points and the right cards to achieve the slam.

Points needed for a slam

To bid for a small slam, you will want to be sure you hold:

  • 31+ for a suit contract 
  • 33+ for a No Trumps contract

To bid for a grand slam, you will want to hold

  • 35+ points for a suit contract 
  • 37+ points for a No Trumps contract

Do you have enough aces and kings?

Remember, there are 40 points in total, with 4 points per ace, 3 per king, 2 per queen and 1 per jack.  It’s possible to hold enough points for a small slam and still be missing 2 aces.  It is also possible to hold enough points for a suit contract grand slam and be missing one of the aces.

For a small slam you need up to 34 points – this leaves a total of 8 points in the opposition’s hands.  It’s possible that they could hold 2 aces, meaning you would be unlikely to make your slam.

For a grand slam in a suit contract you could hold 35/36 points and still be missing one of the aces.

You need a way of making sure that your and your partner have enough aces and kings to ensure the contract.

There are two bridge bidding conventions that you can use in this situation.  Blackwood and Gerber. You can read more about Blackwood here.  The Gerber convention is similar to Blackwood but uses club bids instead of No Trumps bids.

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