ACTION Overcall Double

Problem: An overcall at the one level can show a hand of 8 points or 18 points - - it’s among the most ambiguous bids in bridge. After overcalling at the 1- or 2-level, if you have only one 5-card suit, how do you show a strong hand in competition?  Do you rebid your 5-card suit? That’s never a good idea. 

: The Action Overcall Double. It shows a good hand without being forced to rebid a 5-card suit. (There’s also a Action Double by opener – see above.).

: [1§ – 1© – 2§ – P     P – Dbl . . . ]  An Action overcall double, showing opening hand strength (12+) but lacking a 6th Heart card or another biddable suit. 


Your partner then knows it’s safe to compete. Perhaps she can leave the double in for penalty, or bid NoTrump, or bid her suit knowing you have opening hand strength and cards in unbid suits. 


Many times, she will then raise your suit with just two trumps.  She would have raised in the first round with almost any 3 cards, playing all raises in competition are weak, but not with two.  In this example, opponents tried to stop in 2§, so the balance of power may belong your way.


Strength: When overcalling at the one level, about an opening hand (12+).  At the 2 level, about a strong NT opening range (15+) [1© (opponent) – 2¨ (you) – 2© – P     P – Dbl . . .]

Negative Implications: When partner doesn’t Action Overcall Double when she might have, she has an average or minimum hand for her overcall. This information is valuable to partner during the bidding and the subsequent defense, and is the mark of an especially good convention - - it conveys useful information when it’s not used, just as it does when it is used.

Example Action Overcall Double Sequences:  


 [1§ – 1ª1NT – P           PDblP – 2ª…]  West can raise Spades with just 2 trumps

§ – 1ª1NT – P            PDblP – 2¨…]  West bids her Diamonds, knowing East has some

¨ – 1©3¨  P            PDblP – P . . .]      West leaves the double in for penalty

© – 1ª3©   P             PDbl – P – 3ª...]  Waiting for the Action Double to compete

© – 1ª2©2ª            3©P – P – P…]   East didn’t Action Double, so West knows to pass

© 2§2© – 3§            3©Dbl – P – 3NT. . .]  West knows East has about a NT opener

©2§2© – 3§            3©Dbl – P – 4§ . . . ]    West knows East has about a NT opener