A skip bid occurs when a player makes a bid that skips a level of bidding. Jump overcalls, for instance, are skip bids, as are double raises and splinters. The problem with skip bids, however, is that they can have an adverse effect on the opponents' tempo. For example, imagine an auction that begins:


With a bad hand you would be tempted to just pass without a second's thought. If you happen to have a good hand, though, you need some time to think about what to bid. If you finally decide to pass, you will have (unlawfully) shown some values in your hand through the slowness of your pass. Now partner, depending on whether or not you made a slow or fast pass, may decide to take another bid.

This is why, in duplicate bridge, skip bid warnings are often used to tell one's opponents that a skip bid is about to be made. In every bidding box there is a red card that says Stop. To make a skip bid warning:

  1. Pull out the Stop card and place it on the table
  2. Say "Skip bid"
  3. Pull out the desired bid from the bidding box and place it on the table
  4. Put the Stop card back in the bidding box

The next player must then wait for 10 seconds before making his call, even if he has a lousy hand and has nothing to think about. The 10 second wait is supposed to prevent the unlawful conveyance of information by requiring players to make all their bids after the same time delay.

Do's and Don'ts

  1. You are not required to use skip bid warnings in duplicate bridge. However, should you decide to adopt the practice, you are supposed to always use warnings when about to make skip bids. In short, use them always or never.
  2. When your RHO has made a skip bid warning, count ten seconds off in your head, not out loud.
  3. Even if your RHO does not make a warning before a skip bid, it is usually best to wait a few seconds anyway.
  4. Not all skip bids were created equal. There are some skip bid auctions where your opponents will not really expect you to wait ten seconds because you will rarely have anything to think about, and there are some skip bid auctions where your opponents really will expect you to wait the full ten seconds. Some examples of auctions where you usually can just pass quickly:


99% of uncontested game auctions end with three passes, so no one expects you to pause here before passing.



Some examples of auctions where you are really expected to pause:

PassPass2H 1?

1 Weak.

You are always expected to wait after a preempt.

1DDbl 13D 2?

1 Takeout.
2 Weak.

Similarly, you are always expected to pause after a weak skip bid by your RHO.