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The “Almost” Bid Out of Turn, Touching Before Thinking, and Three Passes to End an Auction
It is common that a player begins to bid when it is not his turn to do so. It is also common that a player will begin to withdraw a pass card, replace it, finger or begin to withdraw a bid, returning it to the bid box, etc.
Duplicate Decisions provides the following information in relation to Law 18:
Utterances such as “one …” and “I am about to make a skip bid …” do not constitute bids, or even calls. Law 16, Unauthorized Information, is used to deal with this type of situation.
In no case should the Director ever require that the defender name a denomination or otherwise complete his “call” — unless it is obvious what the player intended to bid (e.g., “One spuh …”).
When using bidding boxes, a call is considered made when a bid (or a card designating a call) has been held face up, touching or nearly touching the table, or maintained in such a position as to indicate that it has been played. If a call is withdrawn from the box but not “played,” treat it as unauthorized information under Law 16. It is important to remember that the use of the STOP card does not constitute a bid or call.
Note: A director should caution the partner that he possesses Unauthorized Information and should take great care to make his bids based upon the cards he holds and the actual bids on the table. Further the director should encourage the non-offending side to call him back if they feel the partner may have chosen a bid or play suggested by the Unauthorized Information.
From time-to-time a player will draw an inadvertent bid card from his bidding box, a “slip of the finger.” Such calls should be deemed inadvertent. See Law 25A.
Three Passes to End an Auction:
It is all too frequent that players get in the habit of tapping the table to indicate a pass, or scooping up their previous bidding cards to indicate a pass, or even tapping on a previous double to indicate they are repeating the double. Such habits can create distinct problems in auctions.
In ACBL’s guidelines for use of Bidding Boxes:
When a player picks up his bidding cards from the table when he knows he has a turn coming and he INTENDS for that to be interpreted as a pass, then he has passed (otherwise Law 25B could come into play).
When a player picks up his bidding cards because he thinks the auction is already over and he has no turn coming, he has not passed. He gets to do whatever he wants without penalty. UI issues may be involved.