The purpose of the opening bid is to describe the contents of your hand to your partner.
Set your hand. Organize your hand by suit, with the ace of each suit as the highest card and the two as the lowest.
Count the points in your hand. (See Tips, below.)
Determine whether you have a No Trump hand.
Look for your longest suit. Make sure it is at least five cards in length.
Bid in the first round if you have 13 to 21 points in your hand.
Open with one of your major suits if it's five cards in length.
Bid one of your major suits if you hold a major and a minor each five cards in length.
Bid one spade if you hold two five-card majors.
Bid two of your major suit if you have 22 or more points and it's at least five cards in length.
Bid pre-emptively at the three level if you hold less than 13 points and are long in one suit, but have few high-card points.
Bid no trump if the suit distribution of your hand warrants it. Note that you should not have a five-card run of any suit.
Bid one No Trump if you have 16 to 18 points in high cards only.
Bid two No Trump if you have 22 to 24 points in high-card points.
Bid three No Trump if you have 25 to 27 points in high-card points.
Have at least 33 points between you and your partner to bid a small slam (12 tricks).
Have at least 37 points between you and your partner to bid a grand slam (13 points).
Suits are ranked from highest to lowest as No Trump, Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. Spades and Hearts are major suits; Diamonds and Clubs, minor suits. In high-card points, each ace is worth four points; each king, three points; each queen, two points; and each jack, one point. In distribution points, each void is worth three points; each singleton, two points; and each doubleton, one point. Pre-emptive bidding is used to disrupt the oppositions bidding dialogue. Game bids are bids of three No Trump (9 tricks), four Hearts (10 tricks), four Spades (10 tricks), five Clubs (11 tricks) and five Diamonds (11 tricks).
Your partner will take these opening bids into account when bidding on his or her own hand. Your partner is bidding for the two of you using the information you supplied in your opening bid.