The takeout double is a double that asks partner to bid one of the unbid suits. The double usually shows 11+ points and 3+ cards in each unbid suit. Some basic examples:

A532
HKQJ5
DAT93
C7
West    
Pass
North    
Pass
East     
1C
South    
Double 1


(1) Takeout double, asking partner to bid diamonds, hearts or spades -- whichever suit he has the greatest length and strength in.


AQ32
HK4
DAT973
C72
West     
1C
North    
Pass
East     
1H
South    
Double 1


(1) Takeout double, asking partner to bid diamonds or spades.


A532
HKJT5
D6
CKQT3
West     
1D
North    
Pass
East     
1NT
South    
Double 1


(1) Not for penalty; asks partner to bid clubs, hearts or spades.


Takeout doubles can also be made with strong one-suited hands (16+ points):

AKQ32
HA4
DKQ3
C72
West     
1C
Pass
North    
Pass
1H
East    
Pass
Pass
South    
Double 1
1S 2


(1) Takeout double.
(2) A new suit by the doubler shows a strong one-suited hand. However, this is not forcing.


Responses to a Takeout Double

After hearing a takeout double from partner, the following actions are available:

Pass Converts the takeout double into a penalty double.

At the one- and two-levels of bidding, Pass shows a very strong trump holding, general values, and no biddable suit. A low-level Pass should never be made on a weak hand that wants to be excused from bidding. It especially should not be made on a weak hand with a handful of little trumps.

At higher levels, the Pass can be based more on points and/or flat shape.

A "cheapest-level" suit response

Natural, 3+ cards (usually 4+ cards) and 0-8 points.

A jump shift in a suit

Natural, 4+ cards and 8+ points, forcing.

A double jump shift in a suit

Natural, 5+ cards, 13+ points, forcing.

A "cheapest-level"
no-trump bid

Balanced with a stopper in the opponents' suit(s) and 8-11 points.

A jump shift in no-trumps

Balanced with a stopper in the opponents' suit(s) and 11-13 points.

3NT

Balanced with a stopper in the opponents' suit(s), signoff.

Cue-bid

10+ points, artificial and forcing. Typically unbalanced without a better alternative bid. Doubler's rebids are natural.


Responses After Interference

If your right-hand opponent bids over partner's double, then any "free" bid shows 6+ points and at least a 4-card suit. If the takeout double is redoubled, all bids are natural but jump suit bids become preemptive, showing at least 5 cards and 0-8 points.

How high to play takeout doubles is a matter of partnership agreement. Many partnerships play takeout doubles through the 3-level and "optional" or penalty doubles higher.

See also

  • Equal Level Conversion
    A method of showing certain 4-5 hands after a takeout double.

  • Lightner Double
    A lead-directing double of an enemy slam contract.

  • Negative Double
    A conventional double used by responder after opener starts the bidding with one-of-a-suit and the next player makes a suit overcall.

  • Optional Double
    A conventional double made after an opponent has opened the bidding with a preempt.

  • Responsive Double
    A conventional double used when partner makes a takeout double and the next player raises his partner's suit.

  • Snapdragon Double
    A conventional double by fourth seat after the first three players bid three different suits.

  • SOS Redouble
    A conventional redouble that asks partner to bid a new suit.

  • Stripe-Tailed Ape Double
    A double of an enemy game contract, in hopes of stopping the opponents from continuing on to slam.

  • Support Double
    A conventional double used by opener after partner makes a suit response and the next player overcalls.

  • Thrump Double
    A double of a 3-level preempt asking partner to bid 3NT with a stopper.

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