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Psyching In Theory

In the bidding there are two kind of bids:

  • descriptive bids, and
  • instructional bids.

Descriptive bids have a range. They describe the hand a player is holding so his partner can eventually use such information to his benefit, reevaluating his holding (and/or the combined holdings) and choosing his next move.

A couple of examples:

  • 1 – a descriptive opening bid showing 5+ and ~11-21 HCP.
  • 1 4 – a descriptive splinter bid showing 4+, 0-1 and ~10-13 HCP.
  • 1 (2) 2 – a descriptive forcing bid showing 5+ and at least invitational values.

Instructional bids don't have a range. They don't state explicitly anything about the hand they are bid on (although the bridge logic and players' tendencies suggest on what kind of hands such bids would usually be bid on). Essentially, they only instruct partner what to do next.

A couple of examples:

  • 1NT 2 – meaning: "Please partner, tell me if you have a 4-carder major suit".
  • 1 4NT – meaning: "Please partner, tell me how many aces do you have".
  • 1NT 3NT – meaning: "Please partner, pass, I want you to play 3NT".

The definition of a psych is: "A deliberate and gross misstatement of honour strength and/or of suit length", apparently referring to the range some bid is representing.

In your opinion, can an instructional bid be psyched?

Yes – any bid can be psyched, no matter what kind of bid is that
No – a bid that doesn't show a range cannot be psyched by definition
Interesting question, I'm not sure what the right answer is

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