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When your opponents open the bidding in a suit and you have a 2-suited hand, you would like to be able to show both suits quickly.  If you show one of your suits with an overcall, the auction may get uncomfortably high before you have the chance to show your 2nd suit.   The Michaels Cue Bid is popular and effective because it allows you to show 2-suited hands by bidding opener's suit (a bid that has little value as a natural bid).  



Problem Solved


Michaels Cue Bid

Typically used when a suit is opened to your right, and you have a 2-suited hand.

Showing 2-suited hands after the opponents open the auction can be difficult.

Bidding opener's suit (a cue bid) shows a 2-suited hand, typically at least 5-5.


When your opponent opens the bidding, there is little value to playing a bid of the opponent's suit as natural.  When holding a 2-suited hand, there may not be time in a competitive auction to comfortably show both suits.  The Michaels Cue Bid allows you to quickly show a 2-suited hand, typically 5-5 or longer.  


Which suits are shown by a Michaels Cue Bid depends on whether a minor suit or a major suit was opened.  

South West North East
1 2    

If a minor suit was opened, a Michaels Cue Bid (2 of the opener's minor) would show 5-5 or longer in the majors.  

South West North East
1 2    

If a major suit was opened, a Michaels Cue Bid  (2 of the opener's major) would show 5-5 or longer in the other major (spades in the auction to the right) and an unspecified minor.  

When are Michaels Cue Bids Available?

Michaels Cue Bids apply when your right-hand-opponent opens the bidding 1-of-a-suit.  It is common to play Michaels Cue Bid in the balancing seat if 1-of-a-suit is passed around.  Michaels Cue Bids can be used by a passed hand.

Some partnerships play Michaels Cue Bids over a preempt

Michaels Cue Bids don't apply when your opponents bid 2 different suits.  It is easy to show the 2 unbid suits with a takeout double or an Unusual Notrump overcall.  If you have length and strength in a suit bid by the opponents, you need a way to bid the suit naturally.  That is why it is standard to play a cue bid as natural when the opponents have bid 2 suits.  


The strength shown by a Michaels Cue Bid varies by level and vulnerability.  A Michaels Cue Bid can be used as a preempt, looking to jam the opponents' auction, or find a profitable sacrifice.  Strong hands can use a Michaels Cue Bid to show their distribution.  A strong hand will take another bid to show their strength.  Some partnerships choose not to use a Michaels Cue Bid with intermediate strength because it can be awkward for either partner to know whether it is safe to make a move towards game.  This makes Michaels Cue Bid auctions easier, but makes it difficult for intermediate strength 2-suited hands to show both their suits.  Discuss this with your partner.  Our recommendation is to include intermediate strength 2-suited hands in your Michaels Cue Bids because overcalling, hoping to show your 2nd suit later, is so awkward in competitive auctions. 

The strength required for a Michaels Cue Bid varies depending on several factors including:

  • the level your forcing your partner to bid
  • the vulnerability
  • whether your honors are working in support of your long suits
  • your suit texture (Tens and Nines help)
  • your distribution, 6-5 hands or longer can be more aggressive