Takeout Double

A takeout double is a bid used to communicate to your partner the shape and value of your hand.  Your partner is required to respond with their 4+ card major, or barring that, their best minor suit.  When partner bids, he/she is ‘taking out’ the penalty double you bid.  This bid allows you to enter the bidding with light opening points; communicate that whatever suit partner is strongest, you can support; and it takes up no bidding space to accomplish the task.


Bidding situation:

  • Your opponents have opened the bidding
  • You are three suited, NOT in your opponents suit
    • Optimal Hand:  4 card major + 10 HCP + Singleton in Opp’s suit
    • Tip: the shorter you are in the opponents suit, the fewer HCPs you need to open.
    •  Minimums:
      • At least 3+ cards in the unbid major
      • At least an unwasted honor doubleton in an unbid minor
  • When you have 8 (optimally shaped hand) to 12+ points.
  • Can be used at first and second level bidding
  • Double at the 2 level with a 5-card major, especially if weak suit.



  • If you have a 5-card major and less than 16 HCPs – bid the suit at the 1 level.
  • With 15-17 HCPs use 1 NT – this gives better info
  • Doubletons must have useful honors!
  • Primary consideration on borderline hands is length in unbid major suit.


Partners response:

  • If Opponent bids between double and response, partner is not required to respond.  
    • It is recommended that partner does respond to help partnership come to the right bid.  This situation is called a free bid.
  • Forced to respond, even with 0 points.
  • With a 4+ card major, give bidding preference to it, even over a 5-card minor
    • With two majors available for response, bid 1 (2 4-card majors); 1 (2 5-card majors)
    • Reply other major at the 2 level if necessary to identify fit.  Remember, doubler will have the suit covered.
  • Jumping:
    • 10 – 12 HCPs and a 4-card suit
    • 9 – 11 HCPs and a 5-card suit
    • 8 – 11 HCPs and a 5-card suit and a balanced hand



  • Consider vulnerability.
  • A takeout double does NOT promise a 4-card major.
  • Partner may have 0 points!
  • Safer to double early, to test the waters with your partner.  If your opponents have powerhouse hands, they will likely overcall.