The Rule Of 2, 3 and 4

The Rule of 2, 3 and 4 is one of the more advanced topics that you can learn and practice at  It is used when making a pre-emptive opening bid at the three level or higher. If you are still a beginner, make sure you understand vulnerability and the concept of playing duplicate bridge before learning this rule.

In essence a pre-emptive opening bid is used when we have a weak hand.  We don’t necessarily expect to achieve the contract we are bidding for but want to disrupt our opponents bidding.

How closely our bid matches the number of tricks we actually expect to make depends on our own and our opponents vulnerability.  This is where the Rule of 2, 3 and 4 comes in.  We aim for a pre-emptive bid that is within 2, 3 or 4 tricks or our expected tricks.  There are three scenarios for vulnerability:  equally vulnerable (both side vulnerable or both sides non vulnerable), we are vulnerable and opponents aren’t, we are non-vulnerable and opponents are vulnerable.

As the vulnerability affects the final scores we don’t want to take unnecessary risks.  In duplicate bridge all other tables will play the same hand and we are aiming for the best overall outcome for our partnership compared with the other tables in the room.

Join No Fear Bridge UK and you can read a full explanation of this rule and take the associated quiz.