Summary of Signals

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 12/03/2009
Level: Beginner to Intermediate


The key to good defense is good signaling tools.There are 3 major kinds of defensive signals:

1) CountCount is given when declarer (or dummy) leads the suit.(Sometimes we give count when partner leads a high one and we want a ruff). In “standard” hi-lo shows an even number of cards in the suit (2,4 or 6).

2) Suit PreferenceThis signal is used usually to indicate a re-entry to give a ruff. A high card says you prefer the highest ranking side suit. There are other applications, but only for very experienced players. For most players, this signal causes more confusion than gain.3) Attitude This is a far more important signal than the two above.

Attitude is given when :

A) partner leads a suit (at any point in the hand)--the size of our small (spot) card signals our attitude.

B) we make a discard for the first time--discarding a low spade means we don't like spades; a higher spade would mean we like the suit.

In “standard” (in America, anyway) a high card says you like it and low discourages.

Honestly, "upside-down" which is played in many countries is a slightly better method, but it is a headache to switch.