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Balanced Hand in Bridge 4

This is an important definition.  If you are opening the bidding, knowing whether your hand is balanced or unbalanced can be key to deciding your opening bid.

What is a Balanced Hand in bridge?

There are four suits in a pack of cards – spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs.

A balanced hand WILL contain cards in all four suits (so your hand will contain cards in each of the suits – spaces, hearts, diamonds AND clubs)

A balanced hand will NOT contain a void (no cards in a suit)

A balanced hand will NOT contain a singleton -(just one card in a suit)

A balanced hand CAN contain only ONE doubleton

A balanced hand CAN contain a 5 card suit

The patterns for a balanced hand are:  4 3 3 3 , 4 4 3 2, 5 3 3 2.  All other patterns are unbalanced hands.

Here are some examples of balanced hands:

Balanced Hand Shapes

Examples of a balanced hand in bridge

If you are considering opening the bidding with a No Trumps bid then you will need to hold a balanced hand – so it is vital that you understand what makes a balanced hand in bridge.

In Acol bridge you open the bidding with a bid of 1NT if you hold a balanced hand with 12 – 14 high card points and  you don’t hold a 5 card major suit.

(In American standard bridge you open the bidding with 1NT if you hold a balanced hand and 15 – 17 high card points – regardless of whether or not your hand has a 5 card major suit.  You can read more about learning American standard bridge at

4 thoughts on “Balanced Hand in Bridge

  1. Reply susan Feb 9,2011 8:17 pm

    In 1 no trump can you have a 5 card major?

  2. Reply tdn Feb 28,2011 6:23 pm

    Does a Balanced Hand need to have an evenish distribution on points for a bid of 1NT. ie Say my 12 points were all in two suits ?

  3. Reply admin Feb 28,2011 6:36 pm

    @ Susan – with a five card major, it’s better to open with a 1 of the suit bid.

  4. Reply admin Feb 28,2011 6:37 pm

    @ tdn – it doesn’t matter which suits the points are in, so long as you have a balanced hand and 12 – 14 points – if you are making the opening bid.

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