Insufficient Bids

What to do when there is an insufficient bid

A very common error. There are three options and it can be a bit confusing to know which one to choose when the Director is standing over you, expecting a quick decision. It's easier to learn about the options available to you beforehand. This will help when you are faced with this situation either as an offender or the non-offender. Do not make your own ruling. Always call the Director.

The options are:

  • The LHO (left hand opponent) may accept the bid. In this case there is no further penalty.
  • The offender may make their bid good by the lowest sufficient bid in that suit. There is no further penalty, so long as the new bid does not then become a conventional bid.
  • The offender may bid anything else (including a pass), but the penalty is that their partner is now excluded from bidding for the rest of the auction.
  • Option 1 is the first step and the offender cannot proceed to Option 2 before their LHO decides on rights. This is a common mistake also. Many offenders go "oh I'll make it good" when in fact the LHO may want to accept it. If you are the LHO, please consider your options carefully. In most cases it is prudent to not accept the insufficient bid. Make it more difficult for the sinner, is what I say. However, there may be an occasion where you think accepting the bid will let you get a bid in to convey something to your partner, that you may not be able to do if the offender made their bid good at a level that is too high for you. In other words, the non-offender can quite legitimately look for an opportunity to take advantage of the situation.

    Offenders please note: If the LHO does not accept your insufficient bid, think very carefully before you choose your options. Option 2 is usually the best. For Option 3, remember that your partner can no longer bid, so you should now bid to the level you are prepared to play it in (in case everyone else passes). This could well mean you are taking a big punt and it can go horribly wrong or extremely right (much to the consternation of the opposition).