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5-card weak twos suit quality

#1 User is offline   shevek 

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Posted 2020-October-05, 22:13

The trend is to open a weak two on a 5-card suit, when not vulnerable in 1st & 3rd seats.
What are good guidelines? Something like

KQJTx x JTxx xxx

seems fine but you will wait a while for that. The other day I had

AK9xx xxx xx xxx

which did not go well. -500 vs their 430.

Any tips would be appreciated!
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#2 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-05, 22:36

Muiderberg two's?
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#3 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2020-October-05, 23:56

View Postshevek, on 2020-October-05, 22:13, said:

Any tips would be appreciated!

5 card weak 2's are like any other preempt, but they are skewed towards higher risk. As with other preempts, you will sometimes get caught. Your first one is obvious as you say (it probably wouldn't surprise you to hear I would open it even if it showed 6). Your second one has more negatives - balanced hand, defensive cards, poor intermediates - but it still has a fair chance of working. Sometimes the opponents simply have no bid, sometimes they can't untangle their fit, and sometimes you simply win the constructive partscore battle. My feel is that it's a good style, particularly under the conditions you mention, but I have no solid data to back that up.

As for requirements, pick something your partnership is happy with. It's most important to have an agreed style so partner knows what to expect. I tend to look mostly for good intermediates or spot cards first. Then I look at how well it would play in other suits. Top honours and random unsupported side cards are slight negatives, but only slight for me.

We regularly play against one pair who happily open Jxxxx and not much else. It certainly increases the variance, but they are probably ahead on balance.
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#4 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 01:39

I like 54xy weak preempts because the frequency of 5431 (13.1%) and 5422 (10.6%) + 5440 (1.2%) is so much more common than 6xyz hands (~13% total). Giving you a much greater range of opportunity to be annoying.

They are also popular with the robots over 1NT openings and excellent value when RHO opens 2C or 1C precision. I find this particularly so as an intermediate vs stronger players because it gives me a chance to get in the way of their delicate auctions.
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#5 User is online   Tramticket 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 01:44

View Postshevek, on 2020-October-05, 22:13, said:

The other day I had

AK9xx xxx xx xxx

which did not go well.



This hand is 5332 shape - a balanced hand. A good start would be to never open a weak two with a balanced hand!

How many tricks do you expect your hand to be worth in a spade contract? Give partners a couple of spades and you can probably make three tricks. But two of those tricks will be certain tricks in defence. You should be prreempting when you have lots of playing strength and little defence.
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#6 User is online   DavidKok 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 02:47

At NV against V I have made the agreement with my partner to not open these with a weak 2, but instead with 3. This requires partnership agreement, needs to be alerted and is deliberately risky. At nobody vulnerable I would open 2 with the first hand, and pass with the second (there will be ample opportunity to show spades later).

Andrew Gumperz wrote an (in my opinion very good) sequence on preempts, keeping in mind the vulnerability and position. Here is the first article and a search query (mind the order, read the articles in the order they were posted!) that will give the whole sequence. I personally don't view this as a full guide to preempting, but instead as a good starting point for partnership discussion.

As two final remarks I'd like to add that one poor result (at IMPs, -500 versus -420 is not a big deal, at MP's different standards apply) is hardly enough to overhaul your preempting philosophy. Preempting always tries to hit some balance between high risk and high reward, since you are bidding a contract that likely cannot be made. Secondly my partner and I love opening weak 2's on 5-card suits, so not only is our 2NT asking bid neither Ogust or feature-showing, but instead asks length (5 or 6) and strength (min or max), but also our other cheap responses are NF (based on Larry Cohen's strong recommendation). I think the latter is smart regardless of preemptive style, but it especially shines if you habitually open 5-baggers.
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#7 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 03:00

View PostTramticket, on 2020-October-06, 01:44, said:

This hand is 5332 shape - a balanced hand. A good start would be to never open a weak two with a balanced hand!

How many tricks do you expect your hand to be worth in a spade contract? Give partners a couple of spades and you can probably make three tricks. But two of those tricks will be certain tricks in defence. You should be prreempting when you have lots of playing strength and little defence.


This is all very well, but we have a suit we want led, it's entirely possible we have 2 tricks v 3N, but 4 tricks if we bid and partner leads one from xx(x).

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

We have unusual agreements here in that we treat first seat as a seat where there are 3 people you can mess up, and you have 2:1 odds, so we preempt like mad. We actually play 4 card 0+ point weak 2s and they've generated more and bigger numbers in the + column than the -. First silly one we opened was Jxxx, xxx, xx, Jxxx I opened 2, next hand bid 3 and partner looked at his 2N opener with AQ10x and knew what to do next, this was 4 figures. You get caught sometimes, but I don't think we've gone for more than 800. You have to have a mentality where you can brush off disasters and not let them haunt you if you play this style. The main gains are actually when LHO overcalls and they play there ... in the wrong suit.

The main disadvantage is where partner actually holds a classical weak 2 and you can't raise it as aggressively. You also have to adjust your response structure, change of suit non forcing but highly encouraging becomes a better option the wider the range of your weak 2.

You also give opponents issues they're not used to, what do you do in the passout seat with AQ109xx of opener's spade suit and a 14 count ? This one went a long way towards winning a trophy, as they collected 250 while team mates collected the same 10 tricks for 620.

Another is what do you do with a 2434 hand over a weak 2 if you have say 15 points and no diamond stop.
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#8 User is offline   Huibertus 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 06:07

Two guidelines;

1. Have a mechanism to describe you hand when partner asks. For instance, in case you want to keep it simple
2M - 2NT, 3 Extra length (discuss what subsequent bidding would mean)
2M - 2NT, 3 Extra strength
2M - 2NT, 3M Neither
2M - 2NT, 3OM, Both
2M - 2NT, 3NT AKQXXX

2. Don't get mad. 5card balanced might be OK NV-vs-VUL 3rd seat, but accept that sometimes it costs too...
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#9 User is offline   mkkisiel 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 10:56

Should it be alerted when you do this?
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#10 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 11:02

View Postmkkisiel, on 2020-October-06, 10:56, said:

Should it be alerted when you do this?


Depends where you are, here in England you don't alert can be 5 (just announce as weak), you do alert can be 4.
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#11 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 11:43

If asked about your preempt style, or about "weak", of course, you explain your agreements on 5-card suits. Doing anything else (including 'just weak'), would be wrong (and, when it comes to 'forgetting to mention' information that reduces the risk of your risky play, unethical).

In partnerships where our style includes "5-card weak 2s", I tend to avoid 5332s, they tend to lose the critical trick more often than not. But if I have a reason to mention my suit, I'll still do it.

In my current main partnerships, one is "classic disciplined, at least in 1st and 2nd" - but that partnership includes one of the best card players and defenders in the city, so reducing variance/risk is a plus (as is the 2-4 calls bid to make that others either can't afford to try for, or need to go through some sort of ask which might give away information, in 4 or in 3); the other is "6 cards, but we open anything we think the vulnerability looks like we can get away with" (so white on red in first chair, J8xxxx is close to, but not at, a minimum; red on white in second, I would claim KQTxxx is a "bad suit"). We think we're ahead on balance, too, over having to defend the hands they bid uninterrupted (neither of us being "one of the best card players in the city", though I'd like to think I'm close). Plus, it's fun not passing.

I would reiterate David's comment about "one bad result". If you open aggressively, whether it's 5-card weak 2s that aren't AKQT8 or 6-card suits like JTxxxx or 'limit raise in the other major', or whatever, you will get bad results. Whenever you gamble, you sometimes lose. Preempts are a gamble, and preempts that are "weaker than normal" are riskier than normal. My comment on DONT is "if you've never gone -800 playing DONT, you're not DONTing enough. If you can't stomach seeing -800, or if your partner is going to yell at you for going -800, don't play DONT, play a system that doesn't penalize a less risky attitude as much." Same argument applies to aggressive preempts. In fact, when making a change like this, you should agree to stick to it for a month no matter what results you get, and review it after to see. It might turn out to be right in balance, but that one night where it all goes wrong could be the first night! Of course, you might decide in the post-mortem after the month that while it is a plus in balance, the variance is too high for you, and you'd rather take that expected third place every session than win some events and be below average other sessions, that no skill in card play could change.
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#12 User is offline   dsLawsd 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 13:53

I used to play "electronic twos" with a suit of any texture (but within the ACBL guidelines of HCP so that you can have systemic responses else not) in the 80s. We found that they were
good enough at Matchpoints- so so at IMPs.

Look at what the many expert partnerships are playing and emulate the one style you like consistently.
I always liked disciplined in 1 and 2 seats- about anything in 3rd and strong in 4th. But in the crapshoots of today it seems lighter can help.

And of course Polish might be the best of all showing 5-5s BUT in ACBL many events did not allow 2 Multi which can be essential in certain positions.

If you read the old The Bridge World issues you can see Edgar Kaplan talking about the poor results from the US team being all over the map costing big IMPs.
And Howard Schenken lectured about the dangers of an improper weak two.

Be true to your partnership, actively alert unusual understanding and expect some wins and losses. But have firm understandings and stick with them...
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#13 User is offline   miamijd 

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Posted 2020-October-06, 22:35

You can open 5-card weak 2s NV if you like, provided (A) your suit is decent; (B) you don't have outside defense; and © you aren't 5332.

If you elect to do this, I would suggest a convention known both as Robinson (after Steve Robinson) and Meckwell Ogust (Jeff Meckstroth's version of modified Ogust). No one really knows who came up with it first (sort of like Truscott and Jordan).

After a weak 2, 2NT asks. Then:
3C: the five-bagger
3D: in the lowest third in overall strength
3H: in the middle third in overall strength
3S: in the upper third in overall strength

After 3C, 3D asks:
3H: bad hand
3S: good hand (maybe AKQxx or AKJTx and out)
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#14 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 00:03

I just created a bunch of hands similar to yours to try out on the teaching table.
Here's a typical one that I now always open 2 at this vulnerability IRL and especially against robots.
The teaching table GIB misplays it.
It's hard to say on a teaching table because there's nothing to compare it with, but it seems to work well.
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#15 User is online   DavidKok 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 01:02

That is a terrible 2 bid. If the opponents continue (for example to 4) partner will have no clue that you have so much defence, and is likely to pointlessly sacrifice.
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#16 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 01:07

Well, that explains a lot! Thanks. I'll get back to work.Posted Image
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#17 User is offline   miamijd 

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Posted 2020-October-07, 16:36

View Postshevek, on 2020-October-05, 22:13, said:

The trend is to open a weak two on a 5-card suit, when not vulnerable in 1st & 3rd seats.
What are good guidelines? Something like

KQJTx x JTxx xxx

seems fine but you will wait a while for that. The other day I had

AK9xx xxx xx xxx

which did not go well. -500 vs their 430.

Any tips would be appreciated!


In general, avoid bidding a 5-card weak 2 when you are 5332. Save it for unbalanced hands.

Cheers,
Mike
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#18 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-October-08, 04:34

Like this one (in practice with robots Posted Image) https://tinyurl.com/yxghmbbr
Lot's of fun!
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#19 User is online   DavidKok 

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Posted 2020-October-08, 05:11

In that auction East was the only one who acted sensibly, and even then they missed a good opportunity to find the best red-suit fit when North made that silly (lead-directing?) double.

The South hand is unsuitable for a 2 opening since the chance that you belong in hearts instead is quite high. Red versus white is not a position to stunt, and second hand least of all.
West should realise after the 2 opening that despite 18 points in the hand partner will likely pull to hearts on a double. The two possible courses of action are a direct 3, or a double followed by 3 (ignoring partner's call even if it is Lebensohl). With the more than likely wasted king of hearts I would bid 3 myself, although 2NT (for me showing 16-19 and the spades well stopped) is a distant second possibility.
After the questionable double East did well to break out the Lebensohl, but West should have declined the transfer to show a big hand with diamonds (and in the process no longer promising hearts).
North's double of 3 is just stupid. You don't particularly want a club lead, the opponents seem to have talked themselves into a mess. Don't give them room to wiggle out, by informing them of which suit to play. Above all things, double increases the bidding space for the opposing side, don't give them extra room.
After the kind double by North East really should have offered West the chance to play in either red suit (presumably by redoubling, with pass meaning to play). By insisting on the empty heart suit East made the final mistake.

All in all there were no innocent people (or algorithms) at this table.
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#20 User is offline   haka9 

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Posted 2020-October-18, 11:01

View Postshevek, on 2020-October-05, 22:13, said:

The trend is to open a weak two on a 5-card suit, when not vulnerable in 1st & 3rd seats.
What are good guidelines?
Any tips would be appreciated!


A friend of mine, a very good player played in his own words: "mini multi". That was 1 opening: 5 cards major, less than opening hand.
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