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If I have called the suit, and I have the lead and the highest trump card, but not much else, isn’t it the best strategy to lead that card, flushing out my opponents trump? Then lead my next best card hoping for help from my partner. My friend contends that I would be robbing my partner a chance to trump because I would have taken his chance by forcing him to follow suit. Thank you.

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    Is this the opening lead of the hand? Or at some point later in the hand? – LeppyR64 Mar 23 at 19:53
  • This was actually the 2nd lead after taking the first trick, but I didn’t think it matters. – Scotty Mac Mar 24 at 12:10
  • By not much else, do you mean no more trump cards, or are you lacking any more trump cards as well as non-trump aces? – coconn41 Mar 26 at 16:45
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There are many variables and unknowns here. That said, the fact that the initial card was turned over by the dealer and no one had ordered it up provides a great deal of information.

You say you called the suit and have the lead and the right bower... What was the rank of the card turned over? Was it a jack? An Ace? A nine? Now... was the suit you called the same color as what was turned over by the dealer?

If what was turned over wasn't a jack and is the same color as what you bid, then chances are better that the opponents won't have the left bower (as them having it would have increased the likelihood that the dealer would have picked up or been ordered up by their partner) implying there is a slightly increased chance your partner does.

At the same time, noting that no one liked the initial suit well enough to order up or pick up, this implies the non-bowers of that suit are rather well distributed among all four players or are turned down (with the initial card specifically being among those turned down), specifically with slight bias away from the opponents. That is to say, it is very likely your partner has one of the suit turned down in addition to possibly the other bower and it is quite possible that one of your opponents has a void in that suit.

In such a situation, if your strongest notrump kickers are in the suit of the same color as trump, I would personally want to burn trump twice before trying to run the off suit. You say "and not much else" which implies to me one other small trump and middling kickers.

Now... the lead I recommend may be controversial, however I have had great success with it in the past (and was frequently accused of cheating / table-talking as a result) and that would be lead with your smallest trump.

For example: You sit left of the dealer, your hand is Qs,Js,9h,Ah,Kc and Qc was the turned-up card. Four passes occur and Qc is turned over. You bid spades. I would lead with the Qs.

From here, you hope your partner replies with the Jc. If they do and if they are thin on trump, they will likely continue by playing their strongest notrump, hopefully Ad or Kh. In the case of Kh, you actually overplay them with your Ah and then burn a final time with Js, followed by 9h and then Kc. In the case they had a second or third trump, they will instead lead a low trump back to you on the second play. In the case they didn't have Jc, you'll hope to regain control via hearts or clubs, or hope to see your partner take control somehow instead.

The easiest way for you to be set in this scenario is if the person to your left had the left bower and another trump as well as strong diamonds.

Do I get set some times playing this way? Yes, but being in control of the bidding goes a long way, and I win on this bid more than often enough to make up for the occasional setbacks to make it worth it. Especially for tournament style play where risks are more rewarded.


Now... in the event that you are opening bidding on a color different than what is turned over... that is a different story. If your hand was Qs,Js,9h,Ah,Kc and it was a heart that was turned over... I would not have bid at all and would have waited for an opponent to bid black and tried to set them (begin by leading Ah, trumping in on a diamond lead with the Qs or Kc, burning with the Js, and then playing 9h) or let my partner bid diamonds if they were so inclined. (Them knowing me however, that I didn't bid the suit turned over while sitting left of the dealer lets them know that I don't have any help for them in terms of trump in that case)

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