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I was wondering if any starting hands exist that allow a player to guarantee they can shoot the moon in a passing round. (This is obviously possible in a non-passing round, e.g. having all the clubs). In this scenario, we have to account for any any possible set of cards being passed to us.

For example, say my hand is: AKQ♠️, AKQJT98♥️, 432♣️

  • I can pass my 432♣️, but maybe I get passed 432♦️, and someone might break hearts on diamonds and deny the moon, despite me having the cards otherwise

I feel the answer is "no". Mostly because I think without AKQ♠️ and AKQJT98♥️, my opponents might have the cards for me to lose the Q or a heart. This is 10 cards, so my remaining three cards are decided by the passing player, and so a situation like above can happen.

But maybe I am missing something, or maybe a clever solution that relies on passing in a particular direction.

So, does such a starting hand exist?

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  • Interesting, so we think on a hand that takes 10 tricks + 3 worst cards. The question is if we can force out all Hearts and QS in those 10 tricks that we sure win.
    – Cohensius
    Feb 21 at 8:07
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    Yes, and we also now have the power to decide three of the cards of a particular player of your choice (probably the player to the right, if any) Feb 21 at 18:28
  • Right, and we also know that on the first trick no hearts or the QS will be played, so we can either place the AC in our hand in order to take the lead or decide to have no clubs so it will allow us to discard one of the 3 "bad" cards
    – Cohensius
    Feb 21 at 20:58
  • @Cohensius It's not a hand that guarantees taking 10 tricks though. Someone has to lead a suit you can start taking, at which point you pretty much take every trick, but it's conceivably possible that you will have gone through half the game before a suit you can take a trick on is lead when you have winning cards in only 2 suits, particularly with one of them being hearts.
    – Andrew
    Feb 26 at 2:31
  • @Andrew, you are absolutely right, this is the reason that in my answer I added the AC and passed the 2C, so I could take the first trick so I can lead and win the next 9 tricks. The problem in that hand is that you can not force hearts break (QS do not break hearts).
    – Cohensius
    Feb 26 at 6:12

2 Answers 2

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No, there are no pre pass hands that will guarantee a shooting the moon. As you suggest it is possible to get a low card in a suit that will prevent you from taking that trick and either keep you from getting a point or preventing you from taking a trick again.

In your example,

  • your hand is AKQ♠️, AKQJT98♥️ and you are passing the 432♣️,

So if you get the 765 of hearts in the pass but the first 4 tricks are clubs/diamonds with at least 1 point in them you will not be able to shoot the moon.

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I think that Joe W is right, there are no pre-pass hands that can guarantee a shooting the moon. However I think there are hands that guarantees shooting the moon unless the distribution of hearts is extreme AND a villain is passing cards in a very unlikely way. However I still did not think of such a hand.

First try:

This hand guarantee to shooting the moon for:

  1. The 7 other hearts are not held by a single villain
  2. Uses the non-official house rule that QS also break Hearts.

Hand: A2♣️, AKQ♠️, AKQJT932♥️, and you pass the 32♥️,2♣️ and get passed some XYZ

so post-pass the hand is: A♣️, AKQ♠️, AKQJT9♥️, XYZ

  • Trick 1: some villain leads the 2♣️ and you grab the lead with A♣️.
  • Trick 2-4: lead A♠️ then K♠️, and Q♠️ which break hearts.
  • Trick 5-10 lead AKQJT9♥️ and hope that no one holds all the other 7 hearts.
  • Trick 11-13: X,Y,Z

This hand does not guarantee to shot the moon only if a single villain pre-passing held 87654♥️, did not pass any heart and got your passed 32♥️.

Two thoughts:

  1. We are missing a single heart in order to guarantee the moon.
  2. How likely a player holding 87654♥️ to pass some of his hearts?
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  • I would be very unlikely to pass any of those hearts as there are only 2 lower hearts which means I would be unlikely to actually take any heart tricks and I would be better off passing other cards.
    – Joe W
    Feb 23 at 0:33
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    Normally, Q♠️ doesn't break hearts - also, thank you for the symbol edits :) looks much nicer Feb 23 at 1:26
  • @SiddSingal, right, now i see that QS breaking hearts is a not the common variant.
    – Cohensius
    Feb 23 at 10:54
  • @JoeW, you right, however I think we can use this line of thinking about what a reasonable player would do and build her hand to. Say we pass across the table, so the one we pass to passes to us
    – Cohensius
    Feb 23 at 10:57
  • I would argue that a reasonable player would keep all 5 of those hearts and work to short suit them selves in another suit as with those 5 hearts they are in a good position to not take any hearts at all.
    – Joe W
    Feb 23 at 13:25

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