With apologies to the Eagles:

All alone at the end of the evening
And the bright lights have faded to
blue
I was thinking ’bout a major-suit
contract
I misbid and blew
You know I’ve always been a bridge
nut
(Wake up to play the game)
And it’s so hard to change
(Still looking for bridge fame)
But the hands I’ve lost lately
Keep on turning out and burning out
And turning out the same

So put me in a bridge game
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit (raise) one
more time

What is a limit raise? Let’s stick to the major suits, since most of these bids apply to them. After your partner opens 1♠ or 1♥, go to the three level with four-card support in the suit and 10-12 support points. Let’s say you hold:

♠ 8 3
♥ J 6 5 4
♦ A J 10
♣ A J 8 6

The bidding has proceeded as follows:

1♥            Pass            ?

What do you bid?

3 ♥. In addition, there are ways to show those 10-12 support points with three hearts. Let’s turn the ♥4 into the ♠4.

♠ 8 4 3
♥ J 6 5
♦ A J 10
♣ A J 8 6

Now you should respond to 1♥ by bidding a forcing 2♣ , then raise whatever partner bids to 3♥. (If you play the 2-over-1 game-forcing system, bid a forcing 1NT first.)

There are also are ways to make a forcing bid over competition that shows a limit raise or better. You hold the original hand:

♠ 8 3
♥ J 6 5 4
♦ A J 10
♣ A J 8 5

Again partner opens 1♥. This time your right-hand bidder throws in a takeout double. You should bid 2NT, the Jordan convention showing four-card support and at least 10 support points. Now partner will either bid 3♥ with a minimum opener, or 4♥ with extra values. If you had three hearts and similar support points, you should redouble, then bid 3♥.

Yet another way to show a limit raise or better is to cuebid opponent’s suit. Sitting South, with North dealing and North-South vulnerable, you hold:

♠ Q 5
♥ J 8 4 2
♦ K Q
♣ A J 10 4 2

The bidding has proceeded as follows:

North          East           South
1♥               2 ♣            ?

What do you bid?

3♣. I would make this bid even with three hearts, since there might not be time to show heart support if the bidding goes much higher. No matter what partner bids, make sure you get to game.

You can also make a limit raise + in response to an overcall. Let’s say you’ve got the same hand sitting South, with West dealing and no one vulnerable.

♠ Q 5
♥ J 8 4 2
♦ K Q
♣ A J 10 4 2

The bidding has proceeded as follows:

West           North           East           South
1♣              1♥               Pass            ?

What do you bid?

2♣. You’re giving a partner with minimum overcall values the opportunity to end the auction by rebidding 2 ♥ .

So put me in a bridge game
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit (raise) one more
time.