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Not too many Bridge players are consciously aware of this. In Bridge, there are 2 distinctively different kinds of notrump hands: NTT (No Trump Trick) hands and regular balance hands. (Notice that the “hands” are in the plural form.) As a better player, we should/need to know these because of the way we play, defends, even bid it, are very different.

A Balance Hands in No Trump

Let us start with a balanced hand. In this context, we are not talking about a specific (4333), (4432) or (5332) distribution in one hand, but we are talking about both hands in dummy and declarer.

This first type of No Trump contract play is where both dummy and declarer are balanced. Imagine both hands have (4333) distribution. When a balanced hand meet another balanced hand, the only way we can make the contract is to have the High Card Point. In other words, in a balance-hands- No Trump, HCP plays a very important role if not the only thing that matter,

So, in order to have all 13 tricks, we will need to have at least 37 point of them to be sure. Why 37? Because, if our side has 37 points, there is no way opponent can have even a single Ace. (Which just can be lead as opening lead and defeat the contract immediately)

Therefore, balanced-hands notrump is structured in what we called “Quantitative Structure” in Bridge. You can read further about quantitative here: Quantitative in Bridge: The Balanced Hands

NTT (No Trump Trick) Hands in No Trump

An NTT Hands are basically combinations of hands where one hand in dummy has a solid one-suiter and the other hand in declarer has the stoppers in the others suit. And both hand can communicate with each other (have bridge or entry). The idea is to have a running suit that gives you 5, 6 or more tricks from a single suit.

With an NTT hands, you do not need 37 HCP to collect all 13 tricks. For example, you only need AKQJTxxx (8-carder 1-suiter, 10 HCP) , 3 Aces (12 HCP) and 1 King-Queen in a suit (5 HCP) for a total of 27 HCP only.

So, you can see that NTT hands are significantly different compare if you have a balanced hand. The bidding, the hand evaluation, the judgement and the final decision will have different consideration than the normal balanced hand.

To read further about NTT, please read: NTT (No Trump Trick) Hands in Bridge