Psychic bid

Psychic bid

Psychic bid (also psych, pronounced to rhyme with like) is a bid in contract bridge, grossly misstating the power and/or suit lengths of one's hand, used deliberately to confuse the opponents. Normally, the psychic bid is done with a weak hand overstating the overall strength, length and strength in a particular suit, or both.


After two successive passes, this hand may open 1 as a psych, trying to stop opponents from reaching a likely slam. Creative psychers may even open 1, to confuse the matters further. Of course, there is always a danger that the partner will double the opponents on the basis of opener's presumed strength, or support the "wrong" suit on a too high level. The partner opens 1 and South can see that the game in notrump is probably the best prospective. He might bid 1 in an attempt to prevent opponents from leading the diamonds, rather than supporting clubs, bidding 2NT, or faking a major response. Right-hand opponent opens 1. Instead of preempting in diamonds, South can bid 1NT to "muddy the watter", running into diamonds if doubled. This type of psych is referred to as "comic notrump".

Some psychic bids are so common, that they are often referred to as "mini-psychs". For example, many would consider a hand such as to be an "automatic" 1♠ bid after partner opens 1 and the right-hand opponent doubles for takeout—it is made in an attempt to talk the opponents out of their likely spade fit, while having a "safe haven" in hearts.


Per rules of the game, a psychic bid should mislead not only the opponents, but also the partner. So, a partnership utilising occasional psychic bids has to be cautious in ensuring full disclosure—not only of their formally agreed bidding system—but also of their habits. If within a certain partnership and under certain circumstances a misleading bid has been made more often, it is no longer considered a true psychic bid, but rather a partnership's habit. The partnership needs to disclose this information to the opponents.

In duplicate bridge, sponsoring organizations often impose a number of restrictions on psychic bids. For example, psychs of strong artificial opening bids (such as strong two clubs) are not allowed by the ACBL. In addition, if the partner is perceived to have bid abnormally due to taking account of a psych, then the score may be adjusted. Also, if the partnership has an agreement about a "check bid" or psychic control, used to verify the psych, such convention is referred to as a brown sticker and may be banned from certain levels of competition.


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