What card should I Lead, 4th trick? Pg 1
Why is the fourth lead so important?
Euchre instructional texts place an inordinate emphasis on the first lead of any particular hand. Yet there are many situations where the fourth lead is equally as important.
Why is the fourth lead so important? The first priority in any bid is of course to make a point. But once your point is secure it's time to try for that second point. And the fourth lead often proves pivotal.
One of the most common mistakes is leading trump on fourth trick at the wrong time, an error made by novice and experienced players alike. Did your partner show they had trump on a prior trump lead? If so, you should not lead trump a second time, as a trump lead here may pull your partner's last remaining trump. This could ruin any chance of your team making two points on the hand. In a game where every point counts, one point at the end can be the difference between winning and losing. While there are a couple of situations where trump is the correct play for a fourth lead, they are far and few between (I will cover those in a later article). For the average hand, the rule is 'never lead trump on the fourth trick'.
One last thing. If your partner takes the third trick and leads back a non-boss card, if possible you should trump in. They could very well have another trump for saved the last trick
Look at the following examples, here we'll show what works and what doesn't.
Let's start with this one:
The dealer sits in the South position and has turned up the king of hearts. West passes and North orders their partner to pick it up. The dealer(S) then discards the 9 of diamonds.
West leads the king of spades. North and East follow suit. South takes the trick with the nine of hearts. The bidding team has taken their first trick. 1 trump has been played.
Now South leads the right, East shows void in trump, and the maker(N) plays the queen. West also shows void in trump. Note that both opponents are void in the trump suit. (As the dealer was ordered up by their partner(N), leading the right was the correct play for South.) The bidding team is now two tricks in. 3 trump have been played.
After leading the right, South leads a junk 9 of clubs. West plays the ace of clubs, (showing his partner he has the king). The maker trumps in with the ace and West follows the club lead with the queen. The bidding team now has their third trick and a guaranteed point. 4 trump have now been played.
But now the maker(N) leads the left. This pulls South's remaining trump and destroys their partner's chance to help. Note that after their lead, bidder still holds a low diamond in their hand and that the diamond suit has not yet been lead - not a likely winner. This play costs them an extra point, a point they may need at the end of the game.
Remember: euchre is a partnership game, and your partner is there to help. But that's only if you let them.
Suggested Further Reading: