Standard Bidding with SAYC - $19.95 USD - ISBN: 978-1-897106-03-7 - from Master Point Press, the Bridge Publisher
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Standard Bidding with SAYC

Available for download in an eBook Edition

by: Ned Downey      Ellen Pomer ("Caitlin")

Related Product: The Pocket Guide to SAYC (978-1-897106-62-4)

192pp | Paperback | ISBN 978-1-897106-03-7

Cost in Canadian Dollars  $24.95        Cost in Cost in US Dollars  $19.95        Cost in Cost in UK Pounds  £15.95

Categories: Bidding | Intermediate | Novice | Canadian Authors

About the AuthorABOUT THE AUTHOR         Critics’ ViewpointCRITICS’ VIEWPOINT         Reader’s ReviewsREADER’s REVIEWS

What is Standard Bidding?

This is an increasingly hard question to answer, but the proliferation of bridge on the Internet in pickup partnerships makes it imperative that someone does so. Perhaps the most popular natural system for the hundreds of thousands of online players worldwide is the Standard American Yellow Card, or SAYC. In this book, for the first time, SAYC is fully described and explained. This will be an invaluable to aid to anyone wanting to learn and understand SAYC, or anyone who simply knows the basics and is eager to fill in the missing pieces in their repertoire.

Ned Downey

Ned Downey is the owner/operator of the Maui Bridge Club, in Kihei, Hawaii and an ACBL accredited Star teacher. He teaches regularly in his club and on board cruise ships.


Ellen Pomer ("Caitlin")

Ellen Pomer, better known as 'Caitlin' online, is founder of Bridge Forum International ( the largest online bridge school featuring [prominent expert affiliates and teachers from around the world. Ellen, who lives in Toronto, Canada, has contributed to many online publications, as well as to The Bridge Teacher and The Bridge Bulletin.


A gorgeous book; first at all pedagogically (being a retired teacher I have a couple of ideas about what is and what is not) it\'s a precious jewel. Even the historical notes are so well put that they help you understanding what follows. Then the comments of the great players; I much appreciate those by Marty Bergen (whose system I played for a couple of years) and I have learnt still a couple of things: that great 1NT with a major, which gives the importance it deserves to the ninth trump). The example hands (I like particularly Mike Lawrence\'s examples) show perfectly the delicate points and establish quite neat frontiers with other hands. The book shows how much can be achieved with a (relatively) simple system if used judiciously. It\'s a perfect book to initiate a partnership, easy to implement. So, thank you very very much for such an artistic production. It is in the top of my bridge library (some thirty volumes).

— Miquel Dalmau (Barcelona)    Date: 2014-05-28

"This book shows precisely what are the SAYC methods; there are a lot of example hands, and much intelligent discussion as to the reasons for (and sometimes against) a particular practice. If you are looking for a lingua franca for bridge, this could be it."

— BRIDGE Magazine

"The most popular system for hundreds of thousands of online players is the "Standard American Yellow Card." First developed in the mid-80s by the American Contract Bridge League, the system has never been developed in book form - until now. The authors' aim was to describe the system as it is played today.

Along the way, however, they discovered that even in areas where you would think the system was well-defined, there was room for discussion. They consulted a number of bridge authorities to come up with an expert consensus on what SAYC really is. The chapters in the book follow the layout of a convention card, starting with a discussion of responses to notrump openings and ending with an examination of defensive carding.

Wherever possible, the authors have used example hands to illustrate their ideas. I particularly liked their discussion of third-seat openings. This was more a primer on sensible bidding than an illustration of bidding peculiar to the SAYC."

— Belleville Intelligencer

"If you play on the internet, you must have noticed that SAYC has established itself as the default on-line system. But what exactly is SAYC? Like Acol and other systems, it has spawned a number of variations over the years. Which unfortunately means that, virtually or otherwise, if you agree SAYC, you are not proof against silly bidding misunderstandings even though you are supposed to be playing the same system. The authors of this book say 'We hope that, after reading this book . . . you will have a much clearer idea of what you have just agreed to play.' And I am happy to be able to report that they are correct: I do. In fact, this is much more than just a book about SAYC. It is stuffed full of sound bridge advice which is valid whatever system you play."

— Bridge Plus Magazine

"This very readable and useful book does an excellent job of documenting the current "standard" bidding system. The popularity of on-line bridge and the potential for playing with a partner who is a complete stranger makes the need for a standard definition that much more relevant."

— Celveland Plain Dealer

"Do you ever wonder exactly what standard bidding is? When we present new material that is not covered in a basic lesson series, it is often difficult to know exactly what to teach. I have several books on my bookshelf that I use to research the answers before I decide exactly how to teach the meaning of a specific bid. I have just added a book that I expect to refer to frequently. Standard Bidding with SAYC by Ned Downey and Ellen Pomer is a wonderful resource for bidding according to the Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC) system. Standard Bidding with SAYC provides much more than the summary you'll get from the ACBL website. Twenty chapters cover topics including Notrump Opening Bids, Responding to 1NT, Responding to One of A Major (including Jacoby 2NT), Reverses, Fourth Suit Forcing, Overcalls, Doubles, the Negative Double, Slam Bidding, and even Leads and Carding. Numerous examples are discussed in a manner that makes it clear that judgment can be a factor in your choice of action. While I don't expect to be teaching SAYC any time soon, Standard Bidding with SAYC provides me with information on standard bidding that fits into my basic lessons nicely. SAYC... is the accepted bidding system for online play and also a very good start for duplicate bridge players. As well as providing great reference material, the book can be used as a text for a course (or - more likely - courses) in SAYC."

— Pat Harrington, American Bridge Teachers' Association

"A few months ago someone asked me to recommend a good, up-to-date book on standard American bidding. I couldn't think of one and so asked my American friends to do so. After much head scratching the best that anyone could come up with was a Kaplan classic - written 40 years ago! This book fills therefore not a gap in the market but a gaping hole.

The marketing literature suggests that the book will particularly interest Online bridge players. I suggest that tournament players will seek it out as well. The authors cover all aspects of bidding - competitive, constructive - as well as a short piece on opening leads. They have broken down the material into 20 easily digestible chunks, with chapter headings such as 'notrump openings', 'responding to one of a major', 'fourth suit forcing' and 'the negative double'. Their style is clear and diplomatic and they take care to point out where there are common variations to SAYC. The quality and quantity of the names on the acknowledgements page demonstrate how determined the authors are to ensure that they present the very best book possible on the subject.

I found the text helpful in explaining each concept and the examples in support of the text well chosen. The authors conclude each chapter with a summary. This is a good idea in my view as it helps you to remember what has just been covered. The authors have - again correctly in my opinion - resisted the urge to have a quiz accompany each chapter. By so doing they have kept the size of the book down to a manageable and readable 174 pages. There is no index at the end, but the chapter headings are sufficiently clear that you should be able to find whatever you may be looking for without one."

— Julian Pottage

Have something to say about this book? Submit your own review.

5heart rating

Great book for beginners and intermediate players who want to learn SAYC.

Reviewer: Larry (llande) Lande    Date: 2008-12-16

5heart rating

Standard Bidding with SAYC is easy reading and with a large quantity of comprehensive examples of the issues, it is an essential book. It most definitely should be part of the libraries of those,like me, who are fans of Standard American.

Reviewer: Ricardo Zampino    Date: 2008-12-16

5heart rating

SAYC-a standardized,universally agreed bidding system-is a great idea, and nowadays with the proliferation of online bridge and frequent pickup parternships, it's potentially more useful than ever. Unfortunately (and amazingly) there hasn't until now been a single, definitive 'SAYC' text. The authors have made a splendid job of remedying this.They work systematically through constructive,defensive, and competitive bidding, as well as leads and carding, in a friendly, approachable style, lightened by frequent humourous asides and historical tidbits. All the major bugbears are addressed(is Jacoby 2NT now 'standard'? Is 1C-2NT forcing? Is 1C-1D 1H-1S natural or fourth suit?) and whenever there's a choice of ways to play, they always give the 'official' position, while always making the reader aware of the alternatives. Basically, any two players who have read this book should be able to agree to 'SAYC' and, without further discussion, start playing-which is what SAYC was all about in the first place.

Reviewer: Bill (athene) Frisby    Date: 2008-12-16

5heart rating

As a professional player and teacher of the game, I am delighted that at long last there is a book which encapsulates standard bidding in these days of online bridge. Indeed SAYC has really become the modern day Standard American system. This book is the SAYC bible with all the bidding methods and conventions intended to be part of the system and part of bridge.

Reviewer: Cindy (cindym) Marshall    Date: 2008-12-16

5heart rating

The book provides more than just SAYC reference - it explains the thinking and logic behind hundreds of bidding sequences in clear, concise language, and it supports those explanations with many sample hands. Standard Bidding with SAYC is a great book both for teachers and students of this widely-used system. I reccommend it highly!

Reviewer: Mitch Edelman    Date: 2008-12-16

5heart rating

As a student of SAYC, I find this book is really helpful as the many sample hands address questions I have had. The material is very clear and for me, especially on reverses which I now well understand. My partner and I play on OKbridge and we are studying the book, chapter by chapter, as we discuss details and the principles of bidding. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I am!

Reviewer: Julie Beatty    Date: 2008-12-16

5heart rating

As an online bridge teacher and expert player, I urge all current and aspiring SAYC players to purchase this book NOW.

Reviewer: Yoram Gur Bavli    Date: 2008-12-16

5heart rating

This book is just right for a person like me who is making the transition from social bridge to playing on the internet. The book has a great balance between principles and examples, depth and breadth, and the just use of judgement vs. sticking to the rules. Add in some nice history, good use of humor, and a clear writing style, and you have a great tutorial and reference book.

Reviewer: Paul F. Dubois (potts)    Date: 2008-12-16

5heart rating

Online bridge is here to stay, as is the Standard American Yellow Card (SAYC). Acclaimed teachers Ellen Caitlin Pomer and Ned Downey do a great job of explaining what SAYC is all about.

Reviewer: Marty Bergen, 10-time National Champion and popular author    Date: 2008-12-16

5heart rating

As a Bridge Forum teacher who has the pleasure of working with Caitlin and Ned, I heartily endorse their book. I work with many clients online, often teaching SAYC. I know that not only my students, but anyone wanting to know what SAYC really is will benefit from their comprehensive, easy to read book. I also enjoy their historical anecdotes as they explain the evolution of SAYC and the many conventions which are part of the system.

Reviewer: Mike Moss, California    Date: 2008-12-16

5heart rating

As co-creator of the Roth Stone system, I am aware how important bidding agreements are. I also watch Caitlin teach SAYC and she is a great teacher! I know that this book will provide a great source of information for all SAYC players and I congratulate the authors, Caitlin and Ned.

Reviewer: Al Roth    Date: 2008-12-16



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