This variation of regular Stayman is used by the partner of a notrump bidder to locate not only a 4-card major with the notrumper, but also a 5-card major.
I like to use 1NT-3 as Puppet. So, I use it only with enough values for game (10+ points for responder). The Puppet Stayman user is looking for a 5-3 major-suit fit. So, he will either have a 3-card major or (maybe a 3-card major and a 4-card major). Never use Puppet Stayman with a 5-card major.The responses and follow-ups are shown below.
I don't recommend Puppet Stayman on the 2-level (1NT-2), because I prefer Garbage/Crawling Stayman -- whereby responder can use 2 with all junky major-suit hands. I like responder to be able to respond 2 with, say, 87647652J8765--. Whatever opener bids, responder passes. (In Puppet Stayman, this doesn't quite work).
I also don't like Puppet Stayman after a 2NT opener. It doesn't work well when responder is 5-4 in the majors. However, many players don't mind that problem, so they do use Puppet after 2NT. Just make sure you agree with your partner if 2NT-3 is Puppet Stayman or not.
There are several variations/methods of Puppet Stayman. Here is one of the original methods (after 1NT-3):
3=One (or two) 4-card majors
3/3=5 cards there
3NT=No 4- or 5-card major
After 1NT-3-3, responder, with 4-3 in the majors, bids the 4-card major he doesn't have and opener acts accordingly.
Example: 1NT-3-3-3=4 spades
Puppet is never used with 4-4 in the majors.
New and Improved Puppet
Here is a variation that is an improvement to original Puppet Stayman (and is part of LC Standard):
3=No 5-card major
3/3=5 cards there
3NT=Does not exist
Followups to the newer variation:
3/3=4 cards in the other major
3NT=No 4-card major
For either variation, lots of study, practice and concentration are required. If just reading this makes your head spin, then it probably isn't for you. For 99% of my readers, students, I suggest ignoring this section.
Puppet Stayman should be used normally when looking for a 5-card major (seeking a 5-3 fit). Responder should not use Puppet Stayman with 4-4 in the majors, nor with 4-3-3-3 shape. Usually, responder has 3 cards in one major and a doubleton or singleton somewhere. Here are hands with which I would respond 3 (Puppet) to 1NT:
K J 2
A Q 8 7
J 7 6 5
(After 3, bid 4, otherwise head to 3NT)
Q 8 7 6
A Q 2
K J 7 6
(After 3M raise; after 3 bid 3 to look for a 4-4 spade fit)
Updated: June, 2012