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:
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 learnbridge.net)