Jacoby or Texas

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 04/08/2006
Level: Intermediate

Jacoby or Texas with a 6-card major?

Jacoby transfers are on the 2-level, Texas transfers are on the 4-level. 

A Jacoby transfer guarantees only five—but could be made with a longer suit.

A Texas transfer is "always" at least a 6-card suit.

A Jacoby transfer could be made with 0 points!

A Texas transfer means the responder has enough for at least game.

If you have only a 5-card major, you will never use Texas.


Jacoby (2??2?; 2??2?) Texas (4??4?; 4??4?)
5+ cards 6+ cards
0+ HCP "enough for game" HCP

Suppose your partner opens 1NT (15-17) and you have a six-card (or longer) major. Such hands are easy to bid. You will "always" want to play in your major—you know your side has at least an 8-card trump fit. Let's look at responding hands with 6-card majors:

What level?

1) With a weak hand, you Jacoby transfer and pass—playing on the 2-level.

Oswald Jacoby Inventor of Jacoby Transfers


?K J 9 7 6 5
?5 4
?4 3 2
?5 4

1NT –- 2?

2? -- Pass

(You would do this even without the king or jack. With six little spades and a 0-count, you would Jacoby into 2? and then pass).

2) With an invitational hand, you Jacoby transfer and raise (invitational).


?K J 9 7 6 5
?K 4
?4 3 2
?5 4


1NT – 2?
2? – 3? (Game invitational, 6 ?)


3) With a game hand (no slam interest), you Texas transfer and then Pass.


?K J 9 7 6 5
?K 4
?K 3 2
?5 4

1NT – 4?

4? – Pass (No slam interest)

4) With slam interest, you Jacoby transfer, then jump to Game.


?K J 9 7 6 5
?K 4
?A 3 2
?K 4

1NT – 2?

2? – 4? (Slam invitational)


1) The sign-off and invite obviously have to start with Jacoby – this is easy to remember

2) The way to remember whether Texas or "Jacoby-then-jump" is the sign-off is as follows: With the stronger hand (slam interest), go slower (Jacoby) – maybe the 1NT opener can show a sign of life by jumping after the Jacoby transfer. You always want to leave more space in slam auctions. (This also applies after 2NT openings.)

Take the slow (snail-like) route with slam interest.

 But, if you want to be only in game, you take the direct route (Texas).

Jump (like a rabbit) directly to 4 to play there.

3) By starting slam hands with Jacoby, you have other tools available. You can Jacoby transfer then jump in a new suit. This is a splinter bid, showing slam interest. For example, 1NT-2?-2?-4? shows something like:

?A Q J 6 4 2
?K 7 5
?K 5 3
Accordingly, Jacoby followed by a jump to game, should be a balanced hand (6-3-2-2 type).

4) More experienced players will want to define what 4NT means after a transfer. I suggest that Jacoby followed by 4NT is Quantitative (Invitational). Meanwhile, Texas followed by 4NT should be RKC (or, if you don't use Keycard, play it as regular Blackwood).


1NT-2?-2?-4NT:?A K J 5 4
?A 3 2
?10 9 3
?K 5
(invitational, NF)

1NT-4?-4?-4NT:?A Q 10 9 7 6 5
?K Q 2
?K 6
(asks for Key Cards)

Jacoby and Texas Transfers are announced (by the 1NT bidder).

Last updated: June 2012