This bid is used after an opening bid of 2NT showing 20-22 points where it can contain a 5 card major. It’s used to find a 5-3 or 4-4 fit in the majors and also to get the strong hand to play out the contract.

After reading these notes…take a look at the muppet stayman video to further reinforce your understanding of the subject (19 hands included).

3♣ is muppet Stayman with the following responses.

BidMeaning
3I have at least one 4 card major
3I don’t have a 4 or 5 card major
3♠I have a 5 card spade suit
3NTI have a 5 card heart suit

So this is the interesting thing about Muppet stayman – the 3 and 3NT bid are switched around.

Continuation after 3

The responses are similar to puppet stayman.

BidMeaning
3Asks how many spades
3♠I have a 4 card heart suit
3NTTo play
4♣Both majors with slam interest
4Both majors no slam interest
4Slam interest in clubs
4♠Slam interest in diamonds

The 3 is an ask just in case partner had started with 5 spades and 3 hearts. Rather than transfer to spades and give up on finding a 5-3 heart you will go through muppet stayman.

BidMeaning
3♠I have a 3 card spade suit
3NTI have a 2 card spade suit
4♣I have 4 spades and potential slam interest
4♠4 spades no slam interest

After 4♣, suit bids are cue bids apart from 4 which is a relay to 4♠ and 4NT is RKCB…5 and 6 would be further relays to spades if need be.

Continuation after 3 (showing no 4/5 card major)

BidMeaning
3♠Relay to 3NT
3NTShows a 5 card spade suit (very easy to forget!)
4♣5-5 Both majors slam interest
45-5 Both majors no slam interest
4Slam interest in clubs (6+ card suit)
4♠Slam interest in diamonds (6+ card suit)

Continuations after 4♣ (5/5 Majors slam interest)

So after 2NT – 3♣ – 3 – 4♣ or 2NT – 3♣ – 3 – 4♣

BidMeaning
4RKCB in hearts
4To play – bottom end of your hand
4♠To play – bottom end of your hand
4NTRKCB in spades

Continuations after opener bids 3NT (showing 5 hearts)

BidMeaning
PassTo Play
4♣Undisclosed minor (or diamonds?)
4Puppet to 4 then 4NT is RKCB
4? Could be used as a slam try in clubs
4♠Cue Bid
4NTQuantitative no hearts

Because 4 is a puppet you cannot bid that to show diamonds.

Continuations after opener bid 3♠ (has a 5 card spade suit)

BidMeaning
3NTTo play
4♣Constructive natural (could show diamonds)
4Constructive natural (could show clubs)
4Slam try in spades
4♠To Play
4NTQuantitative

After a 3NT relay response

So after 2NT – 3♣ – 3 – 3♠ – 3NT – ?

BidMeaning
4♣Natural Slam try in Diamonds (5 card suit)
4Natural Slam try in Clubs (5 card suit)

By playing it this way opener can play a slam in diamonds which might be more advantageous.

Opener bids 4NT to sign off or bids the next suit up to agree a slam in the agreed minor.

It’s really critical you discuss this as a lot of people play this the wrong way and as soon as they here 4NT they start answering RKCB…you shouldn’t play it this way in the minors…use a suit bid to agree a minor slam interest.

Next suit up can then be RKCB (4130) or you can cue bid. Again make sure you agree.

After 4 to show slam interest in clubs

So after 2NT – 3♣ – 3 – 4

BidMeaning
4♠RKCB agreeing clubs (4130)
4NTTo play

After 4♠ to show slam interest in diamonds

So after 2NT – 3♣ – 3 – 4♠

BidMeaning
4NTTo play
5♣RKCB in diamonds (3041)

Muppet Transfers

So if you have 5 spades and 4 hearts you can bid 3♣ where you can find a major fit – don’t use transfers with this holding like you normally would.

But! When you hold 5 hearts and 4 spades transfer to hearts first and then bid 3NT to show this hand.

Another thing I do is if opener has 5233 shape for example and partner transfers to hearts I then break the transfer and bid 3♠…partner can bid 4 as a further transfer to hearts showing 6+ hearts.

4♣ would be a slam try in any minor as 4 is a re-transfer and 4 is now a good raise in spades and 4♠ would be natural to play. After 4♣…you can bid 4 to agree a slam try in diamonds and 4♠ to agree clubs this time! 4 can be used to show a good 2 card suit AQ AJ etc.

If you find muppet stayman too difficult (understandable) for you…or you think you might forget it then take a look at puppet stayman instead.