~Losing Trick Count

The maximum number of losers in a suit of three cards or more is three. A void is zero, a low singleton is one, a low doubleton is 2, and three low cards in a suit is 3. Count a Q as a winner if it is supported by the J of the suit; otherwise, count an unsupported Q as ½ a winner.
A2 = 1 loser
K2 = 1 loser
Q2 = 2 losers
KQ = 1 loser
AQ = 1 loser
AQ6 = 1 loser
J432 = 3 losers
Q765 = 2 1/2 losers
QJ65 = 2 losers
A654 = 2 losers
AKQ32 = 0 losers

Some expectations as to losing trick count of hands:

~A minimum opening bid = 7-                       

~ An opening 1NT (15-17 HCP) = 6-7             
~A simple suit raise = 9-10                                 
~A limit raise = 8-9                                                
~A 1-lvl overcall = 7-8  or less                          
~A 2-lvl overcall = 6-8                           
~A jump shift = 4 or less                                    
~A 2C opener = 4 or less                                     
~ A double of a 1-bid = 8 or less                  
~A double of a 2-bid = 7 or less                       
~A double of a 3-bid = 6 or less.                      
The loser count hand evaluation (or hand re-evaluation) works best for unbalanced hands. Loser Count is seldom used to evaluate whether a hand should be opened.           

Using the losing trick count, one counts his own losers and counts partner’s losers based on previous bids. The sum of losers in the two hands is subtracted from 24. The difference is the number of tricks the two hands should take based on statistics. For example, a minimum opener is expected to have 7-8 losers. If you have support for partner’s major suit opening and you have 7 losers, you have 14-15 losers and you should make 9-10 tricks.

Some examples:
S KQ654        S A832
H K8               H 63
D 764             D 9
C A83             C K97654

Opener has 7 losers and opens 1S. Responder has 7 losers. The hand should have a good play for game if a fit can be found. Note that you need either the A of hearts onside, a 2-2 split in clubs, or the chance to set the club suit up for stuffs before the opposition takes 2 hearts and a diamond to make the contract–a reasonable play for game. The responder should not stop short of a game in spades and, due to a lack of defense, should bid 4S on his second bid. Loser count, in theory, properly evaluates controls and shape in its computation and here says game is close–but with 4 trumps, a splinter, and a long suit, game is worth the risk.

S 8                           S 7542
H KQ943                  H A762
D AQ876                  D K54
C QT                        C 32

Opener has 5 losers and opens 1H. Responder has 4 trump support and 9 losers and bids 2H. Opener considers responder as having 9-10 losers and computes 14-15 losers, leaving 9-10 winners. Therefore, opener makes a game try by bidding 3D. Responder, with only 9 losers and a control in diamonds, bids 4H. Note that changing the responder hand to

S J542
H A762
D J54
C J2

Gives the hand the same HCP total of 7 and the same point count (8) for a Constructive Raise. However, responder would overcall 3D with 3H and the partnership would play a partial.

S AQ9753              S K864
H A6                       H K4
D 2                          DAT83
C AK62                   C 754

Opener has 4 losers and opens 1S. Responder has 4 trump and 8 losers and bids 3S showing the Limit Raise. Opener considers that 4 + 8-9 puts the hand in possible slam territory (24 – 12-13 = 11-12). Opener could make a slam try by cue-bidding the club ace. Responder would sign off in 4S with a poor 9-loser count but encourages here with 4D. Opener bids 6S and makes the contract through a dummy reversal, trumping 3 diamonds in hand.

S A5                         S KT7
H AQJ9875              H K4
D 9                           D AKQ87
C 876                       C K93

Opener has 6 losers and opens 1H. Responder has 5 losers and bids 2D. Opener rebids 2H (opener would jump to 3H with 5 or less losers and a suit of 6+ cards.  Opener’s 6 losers plus responder’s maximum of 8 losers (maybe less) puts them in the area of slam (11+ tricks). A slam should be bid if responder has anything extra. A simple bid of 3H is  fine if playing 2/1 (the 2D bid would be a game force in 2/1) to see if responder signs off at 3NT or 4H.  Playing SA, East would likely bid 4NT at this point.

S AJT6                     S K8
H AKQ54                  H 3
D K4                         D985
C KQ                        C A986542

Here, South bids 3D and West doubles, showing a 6-loser or better hand. East has 7 losers and a known club fit of 9+ cards (partner would not double with a singleton or void in clubs). The partnership has a maximum of 13 losers (hence, 11 winners); responder should make a slam try. Opener might correct to 6NT.

One Response to “~Losing Trick Count”

  1. Shrayn Daly Says:

    Nice to meet you yesterday. Thank you for the information. Sharyn and Sharon

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