The Gambling 3NT
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The Gambling 3NT


As I have said on numerous occasions in the news-sheets (and see Benjamin twos, Multi 2 or Kokish Relays) it is obviously very silly to use the 3NT opening as a very strong balanced hand, so what is the best use? Undoubtedly it's the ‘gambling' 3NT.


There are various treatments but the best is a completely solid minor suit AKQxxxx(x) and absolutely no outside ace or king. Playing this treatment partner knows exactly what you have and will only pass when he has stoppers in 3 suits.


If responder does not want to play in 3NT (because a suit is wide open) then he bids 4 (pass or correct).


Of course the gambling 3NT is not a weak hand and there may be slam. If responder is interested in slam he can bid 4 which asks opener to show his singleton (or void).


Responses to the 4 shape ask are:

4 = shortage
4 = shortage
4NT = no shortage (2227 or 2272)
5 = shortage in the other minor (responder should be able to work out which one!).

Defense to the Gambling 3 No Trumps


You can use your normal defence to 1NT but two levels higher. My preferred defence is Multi Landy, thus: -

dbl = penalties  
4 = both majors  
4 = a long major suit  
4 = 's and a minor * * Note that advancer will normally know
4 = 's and a minor * . .which minor partner has.

The problem with the Gambling 3NT


The only real drawback of the Gambling 3NT is that the wrong hand is declarer in a 3NT contract. There are a couple of solutions: -


Play transfer pre-empts; 2NT = 's, 3 = 's etc. and then 3 = the Gambling 3NT.

  Responder can then happily bid 3NT with stoppers such as Kx. All other responses are the same. The drawback is that you lose your normal 2NT bid.

Play an opening 3 bid as either 's or 's. Of course this may lead to confusion, but it's just as likely to be the opponents who get in a mess.

  There is a good example of the pre-emptive effect of the gambling 3NT in news-sheet 215.  
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