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Michaels Cue Bid

The Michaels cuebid is an overcaller's cuebid in opponent's opening suit and is normally used to show a two-suited hand with at least five cards in each suit and eight or more points.

After the opponents have opened at the one-level, the overcaller bids the same suit at the two-level; the two normal cases are:
  • Over an opponent's minor opening, a cuebid shows both majors. For example, 1♣ – 2♣ shows hearts and spades.
  • Over an opponent's major opening, a cuebid shows the other major and a minor suit. For example, 1♠ – 2♠ shows hearts and either clubs or diamonds. Partner can make a 2NT relay bid to request partner to bid his minor suit.
Partnerships who have incorporated Michaels cuebid amongst their agreements usually also play the unusual notrump convention.


Point count requirements vary and are a matter of partnership agreement. It is commonly agreed that a Michaels cuebid is constructive and should be made on hands that hold the prospect of winning the auction; hand emphasis is on trick-taking capability suggesting for suits containing most of the HCP and having good texture, particularly at unfavourable vulnerability.

With less than 8 points, Michaels is not recommended - the chances of winning the auction are small and gives the opponents too much information. Bidders expecting to make or sacrifice can use basic Michaels at all point ranges with 8 or more. In a common variant, known as Mini-Maxi Michaels, candidate hands are classed into three ranges and Michaels is applied more selectively:
  • Weak - 8 to 12 points: use Michaels
  • Intermediate - 13 to 15 points: do not use Michaels, bid the higher suit followed by the lower
  • Strong - 16 or more points: use Michaels

Responses to Michaels

Initially, partner should assume a weak hand by the Michaels bidder; with a strong hand, the Michaels bidder will follow with a second non-forced call. Responses to the Michaels cuebid include:

  • A preference bid
  • A jump preference bid (usually preemptive)
  • A cuebid of opener's suit, which is a game or slam try
  • A new suit, non-forcing
  • 2NT. When the cuebid is in a major suit, asks partner to name his minor suit
  • 3NT is to play
  • 4 serves the same purpose as 2NT in competitive auctions when 2NT is no longer available. 4NT serves the same purpose as 2NT when 2NT and 4 are not available.

Rebids by the Michaels bidder
  • With 12 or less, pass or raise. Raise is not invitational, it shows 6/5 or better and is optional and preemptive
  • With 16 or more, bid a new suit inviting game
SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors. "Michaels cuebid." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 Mar. 2013. Web. 3 Apr. 2013.