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This happened during a play online. Why does my partner lead with a trump when I call name suit? I rely on my partner to take a trick but he leads with a trump, drawing mine, and leaves me short.

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    Most games of Euchre I have played I would be happy with my partner leading my trump into me, since I normally want to flush out the trump from the other partnership hand. Any chance of knowing some more information about the hand this happened in? – Styxsksu Jan 18 at 15:05
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Your partner should ALWAYS lead trump to your call in third chair. The failure of so many online players to do this reflects a lack of understanding of the game.

If you called it with the Right, then their low trump effectively gives the maker the lead and control of the hand.

If you called without the Right, then your partner is helping flush the top trump cards out of your opponents' hands.

If your partner leads high trump then he's helpfully showing you where it is so you know your cards are boss.

*IF YOU CALL TRUMP IN THIRD CHAIR THEN YOU SHOULD BE LEADING IT, and you should probably be leading it in every other chair too. So many hands are misplayed for failure to do this, so many times you get euchred when you could have dropped both of your opponents' bauers on trick one with a small Trump lead.

For more, read this column by the respected Natty Bumppo.

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I can see two clear situations where a trump lead appeals:

  • Holding a stiff Ace or Bower; or

  • Holding length (3 or more) I would lead my smallest.

The first case should allow the partnership to play the remaining 4 tricks more effectively, with partner possibly still on lead to develop a possible side trick in his own hand.

The second case is one where any opposing high trumps are likely to crash either together, or under any high trump in your hand. It also reduces the possibility of any defensive ruffing trick.

In any other situation I would be attacking a side suit where I might develop a trick.


I'm going to expand on the above a bit:

Any Maker's partner leading a small trump at trick 1 because they don't now what else to do might e better off playing Go Fish. Maker needs to have an understanding of what the lead might mean in order to make a sensible play. The above scheme signals, respectively, to Maker:

  • Play low - I hope knowing the location of this card is valuable to you.

  • Play high - We possess a lot of trumps.

  • I would disagree, if my partner didn't lead trump back to me on my bid I would assume that he has a void in trump. I support the trump lead since it pulls it out of the other partnership hand and normally ends in the bidder getting the lead. – Styxsksu Jan 18 at 15:52
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    @Styxsksu: I suspect that I make more aggressively than you - I want to see an indication of partner's strength, and frequently make on a 2-card trump holding with outside strength (though not in pone position I admit). I don't want my trump pulled just because partner is at a loss for leading ideas. – Forget I was ever here Jan 18 at 16:00
  • @Styxsksu: Frankly, if partner is void in trumps I could care less - I don't want Defenders to know because that is probably enough info to them to generate the setting trick. – Forget I was ever here Jan 18 at 16:04
  • Playing online I would expect people to do the standard plays and not have an aggressive partner. Most place I have looked suggest leading trump into your partners is the bidder. – Styxsksu Jan 18 at 16:09
  • @Styxsksu: Of course; the anonymous expert "Most Places". You couldn't pay me enough to play online euchre with random people. – Forget I was ever here Jan 18 at 16:11
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From here:

It is common knowledge that third seat is one of the weakest positions to make a successful call. It typically requires having two or more sure tricks in the maker's hand. The thing seldom talked about is the partner's role in accomplishing the task. One of the essential requirements for a third seat call is the maker's ability to control trump. To do so, the maker is looking for a trump lead from their partner.

Many inexperienced players will lead an ace, or other off-suit while saving their trump for later in the hand. By ordering the dealer, one has to realize they are putting an extra trump in the dealer's hand. This gives them the opportunity to discard and create a void. There is a high probability this void will be in the suit led.

A trump lead by first gives the maker the best chance of making a point. Not leading trump tells the maker that their partner they have none.

When a player names trump from the third seat, you have to assume they know what they are doing. They have a plan. Most times this includes a way to control trump. It is up to the partner to help with the plan, not try to create his own 'better' plan.

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You must make the assumption your partner made trumps because he holds the higher trumps in his hand, and that you and your partner together have a majority of the trumps. So, you lead trumps to take advantage of this. If your partner has the right, that's good because you remove trumps from your opponents' hands, and get the trick. Now it's more likely an ace will take a trick.

If your partner has the left and not the right (and you do not have the right), this is also good because the right is going to take a trick anywhere in the play, so get it out early so that your partner and you can play low trumps. I don't how many times I've been relieved to see my partner lead a trump, and an opponent plays the right. I now know where it is, I know that opponent highly likely does not have any more trumps, and my higher trumps are now good.

If you have the right, it is also good to lead it to show your partner that you have it. It is also good to lead the left if you have it because

  1. either your partner will have the right with other trumps since he made so he uses a lower trump, and now knows his left is worth one trick and
  2. it flushes out the right from an opponent, leaving the higher trumps in your partners hand good.

The only time it can be bad to lead a trump is when your partner called trumps with both bowers and no other trump. That can get your partner in trouble because there are 5 other trumps out there, making aces useless. If you happen to have, say three trumps, then it is safe to lead one of them when your partner calls on both bowers.

BOTTOM LINE: The vast majority of the time is better to lead a trump when your partner has ordered it up.

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