1NT Opening Bid

You should usually open the bidding with 1NT if you hold 15 – 17 High Card Points (HCPs) AND have a balanced hand.

What is a balanced hand?

A balanced hand contains:

  • No singleton (one card in a suit)
  • No void (no card in a suit)
  • Not more than ONE doubleton (two cards in a suit)
Balanced hand shapes can be:
4 4 3 2, 5 3 3 2, 4 3 3 3
All other shapes are unbalanced.
Opening 1NT with a five card major

Imagine that you hold this hand:

S:  K J 4
H: A K 7 6 5
D:  A Q 8
C:  3 2

At first glance you might want to open with 1 H.  But this is a balanced hand (it has the 5 3 3 2 shape shown above) and has 17 High Card Points (HCPs)

If you open with a bid of 1 H you will find yourself in difficulty when you come to rebid.  A rebid of 1NT shows a weaker hand – 12-14 points.

An opening bid of 1NT doesn’t promise partner that you have a stopper in each suit.  It just describes your hand’s shape and point level.

Opening 1 NT with a five card minor

Now imagine that you hold this hand

S:  A Q 4
H: 6 5
D: K 9 8
C: A K 7 3 2
It could be tempting to open with a bid of 1 Club.  But, as above, this could create difficulty in rebidding.  A rebid of 1NT shows fewer points than you have.   A jump to 2NT would show more points than you have.
In Summary

Open with a bid  1NT for ALL balanced hands containing 15-17 points.  This includes balanced hands with a 5 card suit, either major or minor.

Opening the bidding with 1NT is one of the beginner’s topics you will find if you take your four week trial membership of No Fear Bridge.  Click Here to get started right away.