Roman Jump Overcalls

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 10/07/2008
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

When your opponents open a weak two?bid do you know what your high-level overcalls show? Here are some important auctions to discuss:

2? 3?




2? 3♠




2? 4 of a minor

First, the easy part:

A jump overcall to 3♠ is natural and intermediate. You cannot preempt a preempt.

Next, the cue-bid:

The most common treatment of the cue-bid (bidding 3 of their suit) is:

Good hand, long running suit, asks partner to bid 3NT with their suit stopped.

Here would be a typical hand for a 3? cue-bid after after they open 2?:

♠K J
?7 6
?A K Q J 7 5 2
♠A 2

So, if you use the cue-bid for this hand type, what do you do with a Michaels bid (other major and a minor)?

A jump to 4-of-a-minor is called a "Roman Jump Overcall." After their 2? you can jump overcall 4♠ with:


♠A Q J 5 4
?7 2
♠A K J 7 2

(This shows clubs and the other major and is forcing to at least game.)

You would jump-overcall 4? with:

♠K Q J 5 4
?A K Q 7 5 2

These jumps are alertable, promise at least 5-5, and are FORCING. Partner cannot leave you in 4-of-a-minor since you might have game in your own hand. Unlike Michaels Bids, these jumps are not "preemptive" in nature. They show very good hands. Some players refer to "Roman Jump Overcalls" as "Leaping Michaels."

Roman Jumps are also on in balancing seat (2?--Pass—Pass--4♠, for example).

Note: If the opening bid is 2?, a weak two in diamonds, then a jump to 4♠ shows clubs and either major (follow-ups require further discussion/study).


A cue-bid after their 2? (or 3?) opener is not asking for a stopper. That cue-bid is played as showing at least 5-5 in the majors.



They open 2?:

3?=Asking for a stopper for 3NT
4♠/4? = That suit and spades, forcing

They open 2♠:

3♠=Asking for a stopper for 3NT
4♠/4? = That suit and hearts, forcing

They open 2?:

4♠=Clubs and either major, forcing.

Most experts today use this convention. My suggestion: Only play this Roman-jump convention if you think you (and partner) can remember it! Whether or not you play Roman jumps, make sure you discuss with partner what the cue-bid means (some players use it as a Michaels Bid—especially if not using Roman jumps).

Note: Even rarer (but popular among many expert pairs) is to use Roman Jump Overcalls after the opponents Bid and Raise a Major.  For example, (1♠) Pass (2♠)  4♠ = 5-5 or better in diamonds and hearts.  In that case, 3♠ would ask for a stopper for 3NT.  As usual, this is dangerous stuff unless thoroughly discussed and remembered. Without discussion, the jump overcall would just be preemptive and natural.



updated: June 2012 and March 2018