Only one player at the Bridge table can Open the bidding.
But when the other side beats you to it it doesn't mean you have to stay quiet.
Bidding a suit of your own (or Notrump) after they have opened is an OVERCALL.
There are 3 excellent reasons for you to Overcall.
- to try to find a contract for your side to play
- to interfere with the opponent's bidding when the hand belongs to them
- to indicate a good suit for partner to play when he is on lead.
- a GOOD suit, at least 5 cards in length
- 9-16 points to Overcall at the 1-level
- 11-16 points to Overcall at the 2-level
- 0-9 points : you may pass since you know there is no game
- 6-9 points : raise partner's suit with at least 3 cards
- 10-15 points : jump raise partner's suit with at least 3 cards
- bid a new suit at your own risk; partner is not forced to bid again
- 15-18 points : bid 1NT ONLY if you have a good stopper in Opener's suit
- partner of the 1NT Overcaller responds the same as for a 1NT Opening