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In a game of Spades I played recently, on the first trick of the round, South was first to play and I was second (West).

South lead Q♥ and I had K,3♥.

I Played the 3♥, since I was afraid to play the K♥ and let North to take it with the A♥. What happened is that South won the first trick with the Q♥, then lead his A♥ and won the second trick. Bids were 3,2,4,2 (S,W,N,E).

In what situations I should play the King over the queen when the Ace is still out there?

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    Why not force the ace to be played? You have 2 spades so what are the chances you won't lose the king to the ace anyway? – Joe W Apr 30 at 22:44
  • In this particular hand you are right. Should I cover the queen with the king in most situations? If I have another ♥ or two, should I still cover the queen? When should I cover and when should I duck? – Cohensius May 1 at 6:14
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You got had! Nice play by your opponent (South).

Terminology:

  • A finesse is the play of a lower card than the highest held - in an attempt to create an extra trick - by the third hand playing to the trick.

  • South on this hand employed a ruse to create the extra trick by leading the lower card (Queen from holding topped by just Ace-Queen).

There are Game Theoretic issues with a second-hand holding such as your holding here of Kx - where it is important to not be predictable. I suspect that you, and possibly North as well, have become predictable in your play with short Spade holdings.


Comments being ephemeral, and all that, two comments of mine from below are saved here:

  • I cannot imagine any strong, or better, Contract Bridge player not regularly leading top of an interior sequence, or second lowest, to see how many errors can be induced by the opponents. I do it regularly. South in this case seems to have a similar low regard for the card skill of his opponents. (Bridge players are snobs about the card skill of Spades, Hearts, and Euchre players - for very good reason.) If you are serious about improving your card play at Spades, and other trick-taking games, learn and study Contract Bridge and its associated play.

  • A good starting resource is the web site run by multiple National ACBL Championship winner Richard Pavlicek and his son: rpbridge.net/rppt.htm

  • So you say I should adopt a mix strategy: with probability p cover with the K, and with probability 1-p duck. Do you know about a good source that calculate this p for different scenarios? – Cohensius May 3 at 14:52
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    @Cohensius: I cannot imagine any strong, or better, Contract Bridge player not regularly leading top of an interior sequence, or second lowest, to see how many errors can be induced by the opponents. I do it regularly. South in this case seems to have a similar low regard for the card skill of his opponents. (Bridge players are snobs about the card skill of Spades, Hearts, and Euchre players - for very good reason.) If you are serious about improving your card play at Spades, and other trick-taking games, learn and study Contract Bridge and its associated play. – Forget I was ever here May 4 at 2:41
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    A good starting resource is the web site run by multiple National ACBL Championship winner Richard Pavlicek and his son: rpbridge.net/rppt.htm – Forget I was ever here May 4 at 2:44

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