I see that some players start by playing all their Aces in the first opportunity. By doing so the Ace usually beats low cards. By letting some one else leading the suit, the ace can beat higher cards (maybe even the King).

Is it usually a bad practice to lead an Ace?
When leading an ace is a good move? Maybe if you got A,K / A,K,Q ?

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It depends on a lot of context whether leading an Ace is a good idea.

When to lead an Ace:

Leading an ace when you have strong control of the suit is good. For example, leading from A-K or a bare Ace is good. Since you can win any follow up, you don't really lose much if your opponents playing low. And it can also give your partner an idea of the strength you have in that suit.

You also may consider leading an Ace when your partner has bid nil. This gives your partner an opportunity to get rid of problematic cards in that suit.

If you think your team underbid, you may also want to lead the Ace to actively weaken your hand to avoid getting too many bags.

When to lead another suit:

Leading an ace is not usually a good idea in the early part of the hand when other players are unlikely to be void in suits. Assuming you don't also have the king, your opponents are twice as likely to have the newly promoted winner instead of your partner.

You can still play the Ace the first time the suit is lead if you're paranoid about the risks of voids, but you'll get extra value from your opponents playing ahead of you. And you might even be able to win an extra trick due just to your positioning.

If your suit is long but weak like A-T-x-x-x-x-x you probably want to hold suit control instead of leading the Ace. It's too risky to lead this Ace and then have your opponents get valuable discards while also winning tricks.

Additionally, if you can get trump control, you can run these lengthy side suits, so saving the ace to win important tricks can be very helpful. Leading the suit outright negates this advantage.

Do not underlead your Ace:

There is almost no reason to underlead an Ace. You put your Ace at risk of being trumped while also giving up the positional advantage to your opponents.

Leading an ace is almost always a good idea.

  • It keeps you in control of the next lead.
  • It takes a trick with your ace before someone is likely to have voided that suit and be able to trump it.

More subtle plays are possible (trying to hold your ace to trap the opponent's king), but because you can't see your partner's hand like you can in bridge, they are harder to pull off. Trying to transfer the lead to another player so that you can hope to play the ace over an opponent's king is likely to lose you more tricks than it will gain.

  • Playing other suits doesn't reduce the number of cards in this suit. So the chance for an opponent being void does not change. I agree that not playing the Ace in the first trick that suit is played increase chances to get trumped. – Cohensius Aug 13 at 14:00
  • If you lead an Ace because you don't know what to do, you will likely win the trick, and still not know what to do, but now you've spent your Ace without hurting your opponent much. – swbarnes2 Aug 15 at 20:05
  • Ideally you should never "not know what to do". You should have a plan of where all your tricks are going to come from. Then you should lead the ace if you are counting on it, unless you need to save it in order to regain the lead or to finesse a trick. – bwarner Aug 15 at 22:00

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