Opening Bid:   Three Notrump - Method 1

How often do you hold an Unusual Notrump hand?  You know...  the opponent on your right opens a major and you have at least 5-5 in the minors?  We seem to get that hand on a regular basis, right?  What do you do with that same hand if you are in first seat?  All of the strong club systems use an opening bid of 2NT to describe it, but I recommend that you use 2NT to show both majors and use 3NT to show 5-5 in the minors.

How many points?  At least 10, and if you only have 10 they should all be in the two minor suits.  This hand, for example.

   T 8
   K Q 9 6 2
   A J 8 5 4

The bid is not only descriptive for your partner but it is also preemptive for the opponents.  If you open 1 hoping to rebid some number of clubs later in the auction, you will give your enemy plenty of room to find a major suit fit.  By the time the bidding returns to you, you might be reluctant to show that other minor.

Finally, If you find a misfit and your partner holds the majors at least you will get to play the hand.

Little Known Agreement
The above is commmon to all Forcing Club systems whether they use 2NT or 3NT to descibe a 5-5 hand with minors, but here is a little known agreement that you should consider with either treatment:

Jump to Four Notrump
Nope, it's not Blackwood.  Responder is asking this question:
    "Partner, are you interested in slam if you know that I have a good hand?
    Please bid 6 if you are, but I may correct to 6"
Finally, you are probably asking, "What's the upper point-count range?"
Although the minimum point-count is 10 points, there is no upper limit.  As a guide, though, use this rule to help you with big hands...
  • If your partner simply responds with either 4 or 4 bid game
  • If your partner responds with either 5 or 5 bid a slam