Openers at the Two Level and Higher
Each bid should tell a story, and many of the bids at the two level are highly descriptive. Most of them are meant primarily to annoy the opponents. Here is the menu:
2 ♣: Your big bid, describing a powerful hand with 22 or more high-card points if balanced. If unbalanced, it is a hand with lots of tricks, usually from a long, powerful suit.
2 ♦, 2 ♥, 2 ♠: What is known as a weak two-bid, usually describing a six-card suit and 5–10 high-card points (the range can be different if you and partner prefer).
2NT: A balanced hand with 20–21 high-card points (you can have a different range if you prefer).
3 ♣, 3 ♦, 3 ♥, 3 ♠: Weak hand (circumstances can dictate extreme weakness) with a long suit, usually at least seven cards.
3NT: A balanced hand even stronger than a 2NT opener (perhaps 24–25). Some players agree that it shows a long minor suit of at least seven cards headed by the AKQ.
4 ♣, 4 ♦, 4 ♥, 4 ♠: In the minors, bids at the four level usually show eight-card suits. The majors are similar, but for tactical reasons 4 ♥ or 4 ♠ can sometimes be bid on a seven-card suit.
5 ♣, 5 ♦: More pre-emption (the removal of bidding space). These are usually based on eight-or nine-card suits.
5 ♥, 5 ♠: Bids carrying a specific message: Bid six of my suit if you have one of the top three honors, bid seven if you have two. This is not a weak bid.
Most pre-emptive bids are weak, and there is some risk in starting the bidding at a high level with a weak hand, but the rewards can more than compensate. Robbed of bidding space by your pre-emption, the opponents will often have to guess what to do. In such cases, they will guess wrong a certain percentage of the time.
As pointed out earlier, experienced players guess correctly more often than newcomers, but even top players are not impervious to the havoc that can be wreaked by an opening bid of, say, 5 ♦.
Bridge is a bidder's game, and if you give the opponents an unimpeded shot at finding their best contract, they will do so most of the time. That's bad news for you.