So, here we are, a few days later, and still I'm thinking about Bergen raises, whether to play them, and if not how to replace them. I've talked to a lot of very good and even great players. I've run it over in my head. Here's some of the conclusions that I've reached.
I play bergen because when I was learing bridge the first time I was taught by someone who played Bergen. He said : This is the only way righteous people play and any one who doesn't is a heretic who should be bbqed. G_d fearing folk play Bergen, he said.
So, I played Bergen.
But I didn't want to play something because a million years ago someone I no longer speak to said I should. There should be a better reason.
Some of those reasons include:
Many people play this way, and when you sit down with a stranger it's nice to have common ground.
Most intermediates who play 2/1 play Bergen, and when I'm looking to sit down at a table, it's often an intermediate table.
I think I like the preemptive bid 1M-3M.
Why try something else?
While I like the 1M-3M bid, I'm less excited about the jump raises. I'm not sure if they are descriptive enough to give up bids that reveal a great deal about my hand. For instance invitational jumps which show a 6 card suit, or minisplinters which show a distributional supportive hand.
I'd like to expand my vocabulary. Look at a new idea. Test something against what I'm used to and see which I like better.
I came up with the above all by my self. (Right or wrong I like to come up with an opinion. It makes me feel like I know something.) People have said some interesting things on the subject which I am weighing as well.
Bergen is easy.
The preemptive 1M-3M may not have as much value as I've assigned it, and that auction may be better used for mixed raises.
Inv js are common too, and a lot of people I respect use them.
I don't have to choose. I can play Bergen with some people (random pick up partners and those with whom I don't have detailed agreements) and something else with others.
What I'd like to try is to use 2nt as limit plus, the jump shift as an invitational suit showing bid, and maybe try these mixed raises all the kids are dancing to. Now I just need victims to bid them with me.