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Hello system overcalls

#1 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2018-February-22, 06:37

Partner and I use 'Hello' over opponents strong 1NT or 2NT openings, strong 1C systems and strong 2C openings in the direct seat.....

For those that don't know Hello, over 1NT, the bids are: 2C is a transfer to Diamonds showing either long Diamonds OR at least 5-5 in both a Major and a Minor.....2D is a transfer to Hearts.....2H shows at least 5-5 in the Majors.....2S shows long Spades...2NT shows long Clubs.....3C shows both Minors . Thus the Hello bidder can show any single suited hand or any combination of a 2 suited hand. If Opponents are playing a strong Club system, we make a few adjustments and we relax the at least 5-5 requirement to at least 5-4 if at the one-level

My first question is why is 'Hello' used only against strong hands.....could it also be used effectively against artificial 1C ('could be short) and artificial 1D openings or even natural 1H or 1S openings?

My second question is more generally...How do you deal with opponent's opening bids of 1C (or 1D) 'could be short' ? My partner and I currently just treat the 'could be short 1C (or 1D) as natural and make our normal overcalling or doubling bids......not sure if this is the best way to deal with short Club and Diamond bids....

Thank you
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#2 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2018-February-22, 21:23

In his pamphlet on Hello, Jerry Helms recommends Mathť at the one level and Hello at the two level over a strong club. He doesn't mention artificial not-strong club openings as far as I recall, but I don't see any reason it wouldn't work. As the ACBL considers that some (at least) "could be short" 1 openings are natural, you might want to check the appropriate convention charts to confirm the method would be legal.
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#3 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2018-February-23, 07:36

View Postblackshoe, on 2018-February-22, 21:23, said:

In his pamphlet on Hello, Jerry Helms recommends Mathé at the one level and Hello at the two level over a strong club. He doesn't mention artificial not-strong club openings as far as I recall, but I don't see any reason it wouldn't work. As the ACBL considers that some (at least) "could be short" 1 openings are natural, you might want to check the appropriate convention charts to confirm the method would be legal.


Thanks for the reply.....are you thinking 'Hello' would not be legal in ACBL world in some circumstance ?

Secondly, I am curious how people bid if RHO opens a Club (could be short) and you are, say strong with a long Club suit OR say, weak but 6-5 in the Minors ?
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#4 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2018-February-23, 09:36

Iím not a fan of HELLO, but Iíll leave that aside for now. On the more general question of whether to use your strong notrump defense against a 1C or 1D open:

1. You have a lot more bids available, so some of the hands that you need a call for over 1nt can just bid 1M (for example). At the same time, you have no bid for a one suited hand with clubs, which might be useful to show especially since you can take up a lot of space over 1m.
2. These ambiguous bids that force are not great in general (canít find your fit if opponents raise or preempt, give opponents more options via passing, etc). This is part of why I donít like HELLO, but in any case itís more excusable when you are cramped by the 1nt opening with a lot of shapes to squeeze in and less so over 1m.

Usually what I do is treat these bids as natural if they are 2+; if they can be shorter then the cue is natural and double is just for majors (but nothing else changes).

It is probably good to also play Raptor against these (1nt for 5 other minor plus a 4M) and plan to pass and double later with a strong notrump (people treat their short minor opens as basically forcing even when its limited so you often get a chance to double their weak NT rebid when they bid on air). But this seems like too much work when we donít otherwise play Raptor so I usually donít bother.
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#5 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2018-February-24, 06:36

View Postawm, on 2018-February-23, 09:36, said:

Iím not a fan of HELLO, but Iíll leave that aside for now. On the more general question of whether to use your strong notrump defense against a 1C or 1D open:

1. You have a lot more bids available, so some of the hands that you need a call for over 1nt can just bid 1M (for example). At the same time, you have no bid for a one suited hand with clubs, which might be useful to show especially since you can take up a lot of space over 1m.
2. These ambiguous bids that force are not great in general (canít find your fit if opponents raise or preempt, give opponents more options via passing, etc). This is part of why I donít like HELLO, but in any case itís more excusable when you are cramped by the 1nt opening with a lot of shapes to squeeze in and less so over 1m.

Usually what I do is treat these bids as natural if they are 2+; if they can be shorter then the cue is natural and double is just for majors (but nothing else changes).

It is probably good to also play Raptor against these (1nt for 5 other minor plus a 4M) and plan to pass and double later with a strong notrump (people treat their short minor opens as basically forcing even when its limited so you often get a chance to double their weak NT rebid when they bid on air). But this seems like too much work when we donít otherwise play Raptor so I usually donít bother.



Thanks AWM...Can you advise how you might bid in 2nd seat :" I am curious how people bid if RHO opens a Club (could be short) and you are, say strong with a long Club suit OR say, weak but 6-5 in the Minors ? " assume favorable vulnerability, matchpoint scoring
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#6 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2018-February-24, 08:35

Itís pretty safe to pass with long clubs; opponents arenít going to play 1C, so you can always act later. In fact you fairly often get 1M from responder and 1NT from opener and can double for penalty!

Weak with both minors doesnít come up much, because openerís ďshortĒ club usually has length in a minor. But you have 1D and 2D and 3C all available. I suspect the H+D two suiter is both more common and more valuable to show.
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#7 User is offline   Shugart23 

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Posted 2018-February-26, 06:07

View Postawm, on 2018-February-24, 08:35, said:

Itís pretty safe to pass with long clubs; opponents arenít going to play 1C, so you can always act later. In fact you fairly often get 1M from responder and 1NT from opener and can double for penalty!

Weak with both minors doesnít come up much, because openerís ďshortĒ club usually has length in a minor. But you have 1D and 2D and 3C all available. I suspect the H+D two suiter is both more common and more valuable to show.


Curious : Do you think Raptor is better with IMP scoring and a natural NT overcall is better with Matchpoint scoring , or do you not make any distinction in your bidding style?....Partner and I have a handful of different methods depending upon the type of scoring....(Maybe this question should be posed as a different topic as I am curious if the advanced/expert players modify any of their agreements depending upon the type of scoring, and if so, how.)
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#8 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2018-February-26, 07:38

I donít think form of scoring is a big factor here. There are a few cases to consider:

1. Strong hand with length in the suit opponents opened, not really the right shape for a natural 1NT (say 3163 and they open a precision diamond). Here I think it is better to pass than bid. If responder passes, partner probably has short diamonds and will balance. If responder bids, opener will not be rebidding his diamonds, and he might bid 1nt which you can double or in any case you can bid diamonds now and itís natural.
2. Strong notrump hand, but not a huge stack in openers suit and not really the right shape for takeout double. Say you are 2434 and they open a diamond. Doubling leads to many problems when partner tries to bid spades. Passing might lead to 1D-Pass-Pass, and expecting partner to balance with diamond length and some 8-10 count (and say no 5-major) creates too many problems.

However, if their precision 1D is FORCING it becomes much safer to pass with a strong notrump, since partner wonít be in the balancing situation. So basically I like Raptor if they never (or almost never) pass their 1m opening and natural 1NT if they often pass when weak.

The obvious case for Raptor is something like over Polish Club (they never pass) or Fantunes or something. But I find that in practice, people who open 1D ďcould be zeroĒ like in MP precision or who open 1C ďcould be any balanced handĒ especially when combined with a weak notrump open... these people almost never pass the opening even though they wonít describe it as forcing. So it might be right to play Raptor there too. But I donít really believe in Raptor over a natural 1m that gets passed pretty often.
Adam W. Meyerson
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