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Let's say that we have a scenario where the dealer has declined a ♠J.

You are sitting to the dealer's left, with ♥A, ♣K, ♣9, ♢Q, ♢10.

The advice I read at this site says that calling clubs is a reasonable call as it is likely the dealer was strong in red. My own experience and skill level agrees with this.

The article also notes that a poor lead would be ♥A, as any spare club could pick up the trick (again agreed).

What seems to be the best lead from this position?

My thought would be to lead ♢10 and give my partner a chance to jump, but is there a better general strategy? Leading ♢Q improves the odds of picking up the first trick myself, but to my mind, only marginally.

My general line of thought is that since I am void in spades, I'm best to become void in diamonds to increase my chances of using my trump on off suit leads by my opponents.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I'm not a Eucre expert by any means, but in my opinion, not leading the ♡A is foolish advice.

If that's the only heart in your hand, then the odds are greater that your opponents will also have hearts. As you say, the dealer is likely strong in red. The best chance you have of winning the trick is on the opening lead. Why would you lead a suit which relies on your partner having an ace or being void in diamonds?

The worst case scenario: they will have to trump your ace, and since you only have two trump, neither top, and one bower is turned down, it is good to force your opponents to use their trump in that situation rather than, say, using their trump to overtrump yours.

Secondly, and more importantly, after you lead the Ace you will be void in hearts, and able to trump any further heart tricks. You're already void in Spades and can trump any of those tricks your partner can't take. You can slough off your diamonds on spades or hearts if your partner takes those tricks.

My general line of thought is that since I am void in spades, I'm best to become void in diamonds to increase my chances of using my trump on off suit leads by my opponents.

Why lead a suit that you have two cards in when you can void hearts immediately?

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While the dealer is likely strong in red and probably has a heart to follow a lead of ♡A, it's completely unknown what their partner has. The off ace becomes valuable once everyone is void in trump, here we know where 3 are, 4 to find. If the partner trumps my diamond, it gives my partner a chance to trump the trick with the dealer likely having to follow diamond. –  Stephen Aug 16 '11 at 10:56
    
IOW, leading ♡A opens my parter to trumping the trick. Leading either diamond does the same thing, but leaves me with an off ace in reserve. –  Stephen Aug 16 '11 at 12:39
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I don't understand this logic. Why do you need to keep it in reserve? A trick's a trick. You don't have any other high cards to play, so you don't need the lead later. Your best odds of taking the trick with ♡A are by leading it. If you lead diamonds, you only give your opponents a chance to slough hearts on them to trump your ace later. –  ghoppe Aug 16 '11 at 14:47
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I agree with this lead. Clubs are too risky; you have no winners and worst case is that opponent on your left has J-A, sucking up your 9 and one of partner's on the same trick, leading to another club trick and then a spade or diamond for euchre. Diamonds are risky as well, knowing that you're almost certainly not winning that yourself. If your ace is trumped, it's likely with a card you wouldn't have taken anyway. –  Dave DuPlantis Aug 16 '11 at 16:07
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@Stephen OK, I understand the sequence and logic, but don't agree with the risk/odds calculation. It's more likely your Ace will take a trick than your partner will take diamonds. Also, you mention that if your partner leads an off suit ace later and is trumped that's another trump out of play. Well, it's the same result if someone trumps your Ace, so… you may as well lead it. –  ghoppe Aug 16 '11 at 16:35

Oh, my.

I finally digested the site you referenced. It reminded me that creating a website doesn't require a degree or certification.

There is an awful lot of discussion on this particular thread which takes for granted this site offered sound advice.

It absolutely does not. In fact, there are six pages' worth of advice which will quickly make you a mediocre player.

For the situation referenced, I can not think of a hand where I would call trump of the opposite bower. I would not call anything whatsoever.

One quick aside about advice from that site which was touched on here: I have always played by the rule that, unless you have one card of a particular suit, you may not call that as trump. Violating this is considered a form of cheating, which incurs terms agreed upon by house rules.

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Personally I would only call clubs there if you need the point. If you are in the lead or close then you are taking a risk. The JAQ10 are out there and could be in your opponents hand. That is a good club hand but if you have no other spades its tough to call op a bower when you have a loner hand in the off suit.

Second when you do call clubs you need some help. Quite a bit of help actually. You lead ace is really the only point you can count. Being short spades is good and should lead to another but that is not for sure. If you lead diamonds you will lose the lead and you can not be certian that hearts will be lead back. And by the time it does one of your opponents may have had a chance to throw off their lone heart meaning they can trump your ace.

If an opponent has JA of clubs and you lose the first trick to an ace you are certian of going set. Your partner may be able to throw off a card that is doing him no good with your ace. That may short suit him in diamonds letting you lead diamonds back and he gets a point you desperately need.

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But if dealer has a loner in clubs, then you're better off calling it yourself and giving them two as opposed to the four they'd otherwise get. I agree about the ace of diamonds being a huge problem, though. –  Dave DuPlantis Aug 16 '11 at 17:25
    
@Dave - That is never getting back to the dealer. No one calling up the spade and the dealer having most of the clubs. You could be causing your partner to lose his loner. You may be able to keep the loner to 1 but you cost 2 if you go set. If you need the point (you are down and your opponent could go out) then its a good call. Ill take my chances otherwise and give my partner a chance to make a good call. –  Chad Aug 16 '11 at 17:30
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@Dave I agree that it is a defensive call. And I prefer to be an offensive player. I prefer to give my partner an opportunity to call a stronger hand. Granted if i can obviously see the guy next to me chomping at the bit for my pass I would make the call too. –  Chad Aug 16 '11 at 17:44
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@stephen That is true of the dealer but not of his partner. As I said if the dealer has a loner in clubs someone else has a suit to call trump in. And in this case it is not you. –  Chad Aug 16 '11 at 17:46
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@Stephen, what I meant to convey is that I think it is worthwhile to call clubs in the first place (addressing Chad's first point). If there is opposing strength in clubs, there's a little risk in calling it yourself, but not as much as if opponents have (as the article suggests) strength in another suit and you do not call anything. –  Dave DuPlantis Aug 16 '11 at 17:49

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