The Rule of twenty is only used during the opening round of bidding. If your had contains fewer than 13 total points you can use the rule to help you decide whether your hand is suitable for opening the bidding, or whether you should just pass.
Using the Rule of 20
It’s a simple rule to use. Add the number of high card points in your hand to the length of your longest two suits. If the answer is 20 or more, then your hand is suitable for opening the bidding.
Here are some examples to help you:
S: A K 10 8 5
H: 9 4 3
D: A 7 3 2
This hand has a total of 12 points. 11 HCPs and one length point. Length points are not used for the Rule of 20. The two longest suits (Spades and Diamonds) have 5 and 4 cards. Adding these together (5 + 4 + 11) gives us a total of 20. The hand is suitable for opening the bidding.
S: 7 2
H: A K 9 8 3
D: Q J 7 4 2
This hand also has a total of 12 points. There are 10 HCPs and 2 length points. The two longest suits both contain 5 points – a total of 10 points. Adding this to the number of HCPs gives us a total of 20, so we can open with a bid of 1H.
S: K J 5
H: A 7
D: 10 8 4
C: Q J 9 5 2
This hand has a total of 12 points. It has 11 HCPs and one length point. However, its two longest suits contain 5 and 3 cards – a total of 8. Adding this to the HCPs gives use a total of just 19. This hand does not satisfy the Rule of 20 and you should pass.
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