Key Card Gerber

Once a convention has been adopted by the majority of players in the bridge community, there are inevitably variations and modifications. The concept of asking for Aces and Kings is one of those conventions where many modifications abound. From the Blackwood convention, there is the variation of Roman Key Card Blackwood, which is an Ace-asking bid and where the King of Trump is counted as the fifth Ace or Key Card.

Principle of the Concept

This principle has also been applied to the Gerber convention, which asks for the number of Aces with a bid of 4 Clubs. The variation, known as Key Card Gerber, uses the same principle as the Roman Key Card Blackwood to ask for five Key Cards, the four Aces and the King of the established and/or implied trump suit.

Note: Locating the Queen of trump is not a feature of this conventional method.

Note: The writing of Key Card Gerber can also be written as Keycard Gerber, as one word. However, it must be noted that the provided definition by the American Heritage Dictionary of the word keycard is: a usually plastic card with a magnetically coded strip that is scanned in order to operate a mechanism such as a door or an automated teller machine. When emphasis is placed only on the word key, then the word is defined as: a vital, crucial element, among the multiple definitions of the word.

Based on certain, non-ambiguous bidding sequences, in which the trump suit has been established and/or implied, the responses of Key Card Gerber are listed below:

Opener   Responder   Meaning
1   3   Limit raise by responder
4       Key Card Gerber.

The possible responses to Key Card Gerber follow below:

4 : Shows 0 or 4 Key Cards.
4 : Shows 1 or 5 Key Cards.
4 : Shows 2 Key Cards.
4 NT: Shows 3 Key Cards.


Dealer: East - Vulnerability: None
South West North   East Meaning
1 Pass 2 NT     North employs Jacoby 2 No Trump in support of partner's suit showing at least a 4-card support and game values..
        Pass The decision to pass by East is significant since East realizes that partner's holding is worthless.
4         Key Card Gerber is initiated.
  Pass 4   Pass North shows possession of 2 Key Cards. Remember that this response is not a sign-of even though the response is in the established trump suit.
6         South bids the small slam knowing that one Key Card is missing.

Note: The reader will notice that North could have splintered with a first response of 4 Diamonds to show support in Spades, game values, and a singleton / void in the Diamond suit. This option is also available to the partnership, especially if the trump suit is a Major suit. By the decision to employ the splinter bid, then South, in this example, would decide to employ a form of the Blackwood convention. The employment of both methods of Ace-asking methods are not mutually exclusive. The partnership can choose to employ either method. It is the bidding sequence, which determines which conventional method will be employed.



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.