Penalty Doubles in Bridge

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Penalty Doubles

Double has two meanings, take-out and penalty. Below is the criteria to tell you which is which:

  • If partner has passed or not yet bid, then double is for take-out
  • If partner has bid (ie 1♥ ) then double is for penalties

Double of an Opening Bid of 1NT

However there is one exception to the above and that is if a player opens 1NT. Then a double by either overcaller is for penalties. To double a 1NT opening bid you need:

  • 16+ points
  • Any shape

As this is a penalty double, partner will pass and you will most often collect a handsome penalty.

The Penalty Double of a Suit Bid

When partner has made a positive bid (ie 1♥), an opponent has overcalled and you double, then this is a penalty double and partner should pass. Make a penalty double if:

  • You think the opponents have overbid or stolen your contract
  • You have honours and length in the opponents suit (and good points) and think you could defeat their contract by at least two tricks
  • An opponent opens 1NT (you would need 16+ points)
Lesson tags: bidding, double, penalty double
Back to: Take-out, Penalty, Further Uses, & Protective Doubles in Bridge – Free Lessons

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