Another Lead/communication question

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Another Lead/communication question

Unread post by zegelekase » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:15 pm

My partner and I were debating this and I am curious what you think.

The up card was (Card_Q-S)

I am in seat #3 with the following...
(Card_A-H) (Card_K-H) (Card_10-H) (Card_10-S) (Card_9-S)

#1 passes, #2 orders the (Card_Q-S) up to his partner.

The first round goes as follows:
My partner leads with (Card_10-D)
#3 plays (Card_A-D)
I throw the (Card_10-S)
Dealer throws (Card_J-D)

At this point, I don't want to lead into trump but I also don't want to throw my ace because holding 3 of that suit I highly doubt it will make it around. So, I throw the (Card_K-H) hoping to signal to my partner to trump it if he can. That is what happened. The next round went like this

I play (Card_K-H)
Dealer plays (Card_Q-H)
Partner plays (Card_K-S) taking the trick
#3 plays (Card_9-H)

My partner was arguing that I should have thrown the Ace. I think that this only makes sense after the hand is played and you know that #3 has a low heart card, which nobody could have known. I suspect he would have played the trump anyhow... he says no. Am I wrong? (we did lose the hand)

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Unread post by Richardb02 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 6:44 pm

Great question! I will give you my answer and hope that others offer their insight.

The generality is to lead the Ah, to communicate to P that the A is boss. You need a good strong reason to ignore the general (80% of the time, as I would say it) rule. Your (reasonable) reason, is that you want P to trump it, if they can. So let’s explore what is more valuable, communicating precise info to P or signaling to P that you want him to play trump, if he can.

Frankly, you tried to play P’s hand, without knowing what P had in his hand! You took away his option of P seeing that he was void in hearts, and throwing off, because the odds were now tilted to S2 having a heart, because P was void! So P had a (reasonable) reason to discuss your play.

P was coerced, by your play to play his Ks(trump). That may have cost your team a trick, by wasting his trump K.

You offered that you lost the hand. I have to assume that you did not have 3rd trick covered. (For complete analysis, that is why, especially on the non-Beginner section of the forum, you would be asked for the details of complete hand). Based on the information provided, you did not have the 3rd trick.

So my conclusion is that P’s reasoning is more compelling than yours. It also ties into the general rule to play the A, so your P understands the situation, as opposed to your conjecture, that he should trump your K.

I offer my experience-based opinion, that against Beginners and even above average players, that you also confuse your P. You not only confuse them on this trick, but on the hand and even the next several hands. I would have lead the A, for those reasons.

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Unread post by zegelekase » Fri Aug 14, 2020 8:58 pm

Thanks Richardb02,

I see what you are saying. Just so I understand the concept though would it have been the right move if I had 3 low trumps thus a higher likelihood of covering a 3rd trick if that one was taken?

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Unread post by Richardb02 » Sun Aug 16, 2020 9:02 am

Great follow up question.

The short answer is that your logic is sound and you are moving in the right direction.

I had provided a detailed response, but there was a glitch and it has disappeared. This is my more succinct response.

What happens, if you add a 3rd trump to your hand, is that you now have power in trump and you have a Doubleton Ah as opposed to a Tripleton Ah.

Leading the Ah is stronger when compared to your OP. So now playing the A is clearly better than playing the King.

IMO, playing your power, 3 trump, is even stronger. I would lead back a trump in order to draw trump. I have good odds that my Ah will be good, as well as my 3rd trump. Plus P may still take a trick. Either way we Euchre O.

My major recommendation, is to play the Ace (and almost all time tested generalities), unless you have a visible, clear cut advantage to overrule the generality. Focus on consistent ordering and playing, by applying the generalities, instead of focusing on the exceptions to the generalities. The generalities are best at least 80% of the time. You need to fully master the 80% before switching your focus to the exceptions, which apply less than 20% of the hands.

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Unread post by zegelekase » Sun Aug 16, 2020 1:04 pm


That is very helpful. I tend to think in terms of systems and so anytime I am looking at a specific example I am trying to connect it to an underlying principal. Your last post helped connect those dots for me even better.

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Unread post by RedDuke » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:23 pm

You were correct in assuming that leading the Kh would signal to your partner that you wanted him to trump it.

Here's another way to look at it. You actually have two low trump here and a tripleton ace. The ace is almost certain to be trumped. One of your opponents will likely do it since presumably they have more trump power than your partner.

What you actually want to happen here is that your partner throws off against your ace and hopefully second seat takes the trick. This will give your partner the opportunity to play last on the next trick and depending on what the opponent does, he could very easily take it.

You have a tripleton heart so it's a sure bet that somebody is void in hearts and it's most likely to be second seat or the dealer. If you throw the ace, that signals to your partner that you want him to save his trump to help the two that you have. What you're hoping is that one of the opponents burns a trump here setting either you or your partner (depending on which opponent plays trump) to play last on the next trick. This might let you take it with the 9 or 10 of trump. You still have the boss heart with the king. Your partner doesn't know that but if one of you can get control then that may become key to winning this hand.

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