This convention was created by graduate students at Princeton in the late 1990s and early in the year 2000, but was begun years earlier by the family Miller, according to Mr. Steven Miller.

Background Information

The family members often played Whist, which is a card game related to bridge where the players only bid once (without naming a suit) and no hands are placed face-up. As initiated by Mr. Jeffrey Miller, the method began as a way to goad opposition (or sometimes one's partner!) into bidding high, by making statements such as "John Wayne would bid 5".

The convention was formalized at Princeton University, when new students unfamiliar with the rules of bidding in bridge asked for a simplified convention.

Note: This is, generally speaking, a conventional method for those players who would rather not arm themselves with too many conventional methods, but rather bid and play. This method is not in and of itself a valid and recognized method for the mature player, but rather a brute-force method of playing bridge

It is up to the individual player as to whether any emphasis should be placed on this method. This method can be found at its source.

Bid Meaning
Pass: Forcing and/or invitational to game.
1 : I want to play game in Clubs, Hearts, or Spades.
1 : I want to play game in Diamonds, Hearts, or Spades.
1 : I want to play game in Hearts or Spades.
1 : I want to play game in Spades.
1 NT: Invitational to grand slam, though can sign off at 6 No Trump.
2 NT: Forcing to grand slam.
3 any suit: Forcing to game if partner has 1+ point, otherwise stop at 6.
Double: Any double of an opponent's bid is a take-out double, forcing to game. A double means that you do not have enough points to bid yourself, but you have enough points to support partner at game, regardless of his hand.

There are no Weak Two opening or overcall bids in the John Wayne Convention. All openings on the two level are strong, inviting to slam, but allowing sign-offs at game. There are, however, five weak bids: 3 NT, 4, 4, 5, 5. These bids all mean (approximately): Partner, we do not have a grand slam, so let us play this hand quickly and move on.

Responding to Bids:

It is very easy to respond using the John Wayne convention. All bids mean what they do in the Standard American conventions, with the addition that any bid under game is forcing to game.


All doubles are immediately redoubled. Remember, JOHN WAYNE is never vulnerable.

When to Open:

Any hand with at least 7 cards in the Major suits, or 6 in the Minors, should be opened.

What if Opponents Open the Bidding at the Game Level:

Bid a higher game with more than 5 points, else double (some people play 3 points). This double is forcing to slam for your partner if the sum of (a) his points, (b) the points you promised him with your double, (c) the points he thinks you actually have when you double, (d) the number of points he really deep down in his heart wants you to have, and (d) the number of tricks you went down on the previous hand, exceeds six.  If the sum does not exceed six, he should indicate this to you with a bid of 5 NT. If this is the first hand, for (d) substitute the number of non-honors in your hand.



If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.