Gambling 3NT is an opening bid of 3NT based on a long (7+ card) solid (headed by AKQ) minor suit. There are three main variations of gambling 3NT: strong, medium, and weak.

Strong gambling 3NT Edit

This opening is also known as Acol 3NT. The original requirement for a gambling 3NT opening was 2 stoppers in outside suits in addition to the long solid minor.

Medium gambling 3NT Edit

This opening is very rarely used, but has some effectiveness in 3rd or 4th seat. The requirement for a long solid minor still exists, but the Gambling 3NT bidder has an outside entry, either an Ace, King-Queen in the same suit, or even King-Jack-10 in the same suit if the partnership agrees on it.

Weak gambling 3NT Edit

More recently, people have begun opening 3NT preemptively without any outside suit stoppers, as a pre-emptive type bid to obstruct the opponents. In this case, the recommended treatment is that the opener must have no outside king or ace. Obviously this treatment puts the burden on partner to respond if the outside suits are not stopped.

Responses Edit

  • Pass --- sign off: for the weak variant, responder should have stoppers in all other suits or at least 2 Aces. Note: many partnerships now pass even with only 2 side suits stopped, making a gamble that the defenders don't find the unstopped suit to lead.
  • 4
    • weak variant: escape --- responder has no stoppers in side suits (pass or correct)
    • strong variant: slam interest
  • 4 --- ask for voids or singletons --- indicates slam interest
    • 4/4 --- shortage in the suit mentioned
    • 4NT --- no voids or singletons
    • 5/5 --- shortage in the other minor
  • 4/4 --- sign off
  • 4NT --- I can count 11 tricks, bid 6NT if your minor is 8 cards.
  • 5/6/7 --- sign off in minor suit game/slam (pass or correct)
  • 5/6/7 --- sign off in minor suit game/slam

Defences Edit

When gambling 3NT is played, the best lead is often an ace (even when unsupported!) or a king, in order to see the dummy. Usually defenders need to get the 5 tricks before the declarer can run the minor.

Recovering the natural 3NT opening Edit

If Gambling 3NT is used, a strong 2 - 2X - 3NT shows a balanced hand with 25-27 HCPs. Stayman and transfers are typically used after this sequence.

When gambling 3NT is doubled Edit

This article needs better treatment of interference. You can help out by editing it. See Category:Stubs (interference) for more.

Drawbacks Edit

In the weak variant, the 3NT contract is always played from the wrong side of the table. 3NT might also be played from the wrong side of the table using the medium variant. With the strong variant, the ideal contract might be 6 of the long minor rather than 3NT, but it is near impossible to find it after opening 3NT.

Alternatives Edit

A natural non-forcing preemptive bid (e.g. 4) may be used instead.

Gambling 2NT Edit

2NT opening can also be played as a preempt in a fashion similar to 3NT opening, but shows a weaker hand (i.e. if the strong variant of 3NT is used, 2NT is the medium variant). The usage of this convention existed from the auction bridge era.[1]

Responses Edit

  • 3: escape (correctable to 3)
  • 3: stopper ask, 3NT interest
    • 3/3: stopper in the named suit
    • 3NT: stopper in the other minor

After that, responder bids either 3NT or 4 (correctable to 4).


  1. Page 27, Auction of Today (1913)

See Also Edit