The Gambling Three No Trump Convention for Duplicate Bridge Players

Pre-emptive bidding is a popular method of disrupting opponents auction. It can, however, be a two edged sword. One difficulty arises when one partner opens with a pre-emptive three bid in a minor. Let's look at two sample hands:1. S: xx H: x D: AKOxxxx C: xxx
2. S: xx H: x D: AKxxxxx C: xxx

Each of the above could be opened three diamonds. The problem is that hand 1 will usually produce seven tricks, even opposite a singleton, whether the hand is played in diamonds or no trump. Responder needs just a smattering of stoppers to have a play for game. Hand two, on the other hand, will not produce a plethora of tricks in no trump opposite a singleton.

The problem here is obvious. How is responder to know which type of hand opener has? How can the chances for a game in no trump be evaluated?

The solution is the gambling three no trump. which effectively creates a second form of minor suit pre-empt for opener. The original meaning of three no trump, 25-27 high card points and a balanced hand, is a true rarity and can be handled by other methods. A gambling three no trump opening bid shows the type one hand: the solid suit pre-empt.

Now when opener bids three of a minor responder knows the suit will not run independently. He is now in a position to make an informed guess as to what action to take.

In addition a bidding structure can be used for those times when responder realizes the three no trump has no play or may have a slam oriented hand opposite the gambling three no trump bidder. Here are the responses to a gambling three no trump:
4 clubs: a buyout to opener's minor. opener passes or bids 4 diamonds.
4 diamonds: A slam try, requesting opener to show a singleton.
4 hearts: to play.
4 spades: to play.
4nt: requests opener to bid 5 of his minor.

If responder uses the four diamond slam try opener answers as follows:
4 hearts: a singleton heart
4 spades: a singleton spade
4 nt: a singleton in the other minor
5 of a minor. no singleton, a signoff in opener's suit.