Jxx sidesuit holding what to lead

What do you lead from Jxx (sidesuit holding) when forced

I lead the J
I lead the middle x
No votes
I lead the lowest x
Ive never thought about it, i dont know
Total votes: 19

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Post by dustin7609 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 4:37 pm

Some great comments by Manic, Cogdis, and openshut in regards to the advantage of passive leads.

It's nice to finally have some intelligent contributors to this game. Spades lacked that 5 years ago.

The concept of passive leads is probably the most neglected aspect of spades theory.

We read a lot about offensive leads and defensive leads. But passive leads? Very little material on it unless you open a bridge book.

I've always loved passive leads, and it always bothered me how often players would choose a defensive lead over a passive one (i.e.from a Qxx holding rather than an empty holding). You would be astonished how often the Qxx lead truly costs you. I once tracked this over 50 games and was amazed.

Passive leads are very often the best leads when we're discussing trick maximization.

In general terms, your goal when making a "shot in the dark" opening lead is:

A) find where you and partner are strong


B) Find where you and partner are both weak, and won't give anything away.

The intention of a passive lead is that you're hoping partner is also either empty in the suit, or if you're fortunate -- very strong in the suit. You really hope he doesn't hold the K or Q and that East can capture one of these.

Truth be told, passive leads really are not that risky. Unless your RHO has a very strong bid. The odds of you leading into partner's king are only 1/3. And the odds that the ace is unfavorably placed is also only 1/3. So there is only a 1/9 chance that your lead will cause partner's king to get captured. (not taking bids into consideration). Then of course if East holds both the A and Q, there was not much you could do anyway (as someone already mentioned) except maybe hope that East will eventually be forced to lead from the suit.

In other words, a passive lead is really only "disastrous" 10-15% of the time.

But it gains in many instances by putting the opponents on lead, and by not giving anything away.

Most sets that are missed are missed because the team gave away a trick by choosing a poor early lead (non-passive).

The other nice thing about leading passive? If the opponents take the lead, very rarely will they return that suit (which is what you're hoping). After all, most "average players" automatically assume that returning the same suit is a bad idea.

Passive leads are a great lead choice in many cases. And I greatly prefer them to underleading an honor if I can help it.

Side note: I read a comment on here about how one should play very "conservatively" with a great score advantage. The example was if partner leads a queen, you should automatically go up with the ace when you have a considerable score advantage as there is no reason to risk anything.

I strongly disagree with this particular scenario. It might seem counter intuitve, but such a play here actually puts you at more risk than playing low. That is, by playing the ace, you are greatly reducing your trick potential and thus now there is a very real chance of getting set.

Certainly when you have a nice score advantage, it is no time to be bidding risky nils, or making extremely risky plays. But sound card play should not be surrendered such as in the case above. While it might seem the conservative action, it actually isn't.

- D

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Post by Galt » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:02 pm

This is where we differ for sure.

I am not real excited about starting as many as 1 out 0f 7 games with a disaster (using your terms and your estimate)... and in my experience I see a greater percentage of games go south as a result of this kind of lead than that.

I am also not a real fan of taking "shot in the dark' leads, or trying to maximize tricks on every hand. This approach to the game, as a general teaching approach, has failed miserably (you should see my emails).

On the other hand, I certainly admit that I view Spades more from a strategic standpoint than almost all others who teach the game, and players certainly have the opportunity to choose the approach that they find to be the most effective for them and their pards.

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Post by dustin7609 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:59 pm

Hey Galt,

By "shot in the dark", I was actually referring to any opening lead. Whatever lead we choose to make, is actually a "shot in the dark" as we have almost no information about partner's or the opponents' holdings yet other than the bids made.

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Post by TrashCanCharlie » Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:35 am

After re-examining manics examples I noticed the 12 table bid........considering it is a new game, 12 bid, unknown pard, unknown opss, etc...............

This is the info we have in our view and the info to make our lead decision from..............

Making a lead, making any lead is not cookbook...........we have no recipe for leads that is an exact recipe...............even I taste it before adding or modifying the recipe.

To blindly post examples and say, "what do you lead with each of these exampes" is tough when each presents the exact same shape, the exact same bids, same opps, etc.

The 4-3-3-3- pattern is the same, all that differs is tenaces in various suits.

The discussion has turned "passive and attacking" now and more theory advancing............It seems I read something about this topic somewhere but it was prior to five years ago Dustin LOL

The best work ever written on leads, passive and attacking defenses whiile leading etc and precentage as well as reading card locations via bidding was written by Robert Ewen called "Opening Leads."

That was a staple/icon in Opening Lead theory at the card table........It is till the BIBLE on the subject!!!!!

The real issue if ya want to crack the nut here folks is not some much what has been discussed here but instead what has not?

Basically what it stated if ya read close enough here is this!!!

Is leading from JXX Passive or Attacking LOL?



I won't give the show away folks but when the panel of esteemed experts figures this little tidbit out..............rest assured..............the rest is easy...............

Now with that said.................let's revert back to an answer I gave......................the middle card, not the Jack and not the low............hmmmmmmmmmmmm? Why all the confusion with such a hinky dinky lead? Why dupe my pard.............why is a 2club bid over a one diamond bid by partner in the bridge world of a 2/1 system the achilles heel of the entire system?

Answer..........................each convention, and leading folks by definition is a convention................leading has flaws.........

Top of nothing leading give info to pard and opps.....they are passive but very informative

leading small from an honor..................honor being qxx is attacjking and much safer than leading from jxx because it cannot run any risk of losing the entire suit when pard holds the king empty in the same suit....

The jxx lead can give the entire suit away no matter which card is led and or selected when pard has king empty................NOW>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>is your lead REALLY PASSIVE?????????????????????????????????????????????????

HECK NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.............it has destroyed a trick bid on by pard and while you were so busy making what ya thought was such a brilliant passive lead crushed your side because pard pushed his three bid........

Your side was always safe in this suit holding Jxx in one hand and Kxx in the other as long as ya did not break the suit...............but guess what? This so called "Passive lead" was really an attacking one because ya had honors on both sides of the oppsssssssssssssss...........duhhhhhhhhhh.

The real issue here and one I have personally addressed in many classes taught at bridge tables is this............

Nothing really is in print about whether Jxx is passive or jxx is attacking, however, the answer is bothhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I lead and many experts do select the mid card in these scenarios, not to confuse pard so much, not to confuse the opps so much, mainly because we are in limbo ourselves as to whether we want to remain passive or active on our defense in this hand and just how fast we want to make a move.............the middle card is basically a "deliberate stall." It hands the opps info that could not be possibly useful........since we lead top of nada, we also lead small from an honor..............blah..........so now they see a mid card................pard plays the king and it loses.......yuck.....................................now the suit is led later........................is an opp going to hook your jack now? He will if by conventional agreement ya always LEAD TOP of NADA and YA always lead x from jxx...............

To bridge the problem..................Jays personal solution is to modify this creton of a problem and smkescreen it for a bit while not giving or taking much at trick one...........

I am going to temp dupe pard and the opps by leading that mid card here in most of the examples manic gave...........i would however be on both sides of the fence regarding the best lead on one ex provided.........the one that had a kq together in one side suit.............in that example the king could easily be the right lead and I might be prone to favor that lead versus the confusing mid card..........me thinks it a lesser of three evils on that example hand...........


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Post by Dust In The Wind » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:33 am

Card leads and predictions of how the hand will play out are never set in stone. Yes with a 12 bid on the table you have to max. your position to not only get your bid but looking at a set also. If I lead into an unknown pard (and probally unknown opts. also) I have to "TEST THE WATER" and see how the players react to certain leads and "LEARN" from that so I can make an adjustment if necessary. We can talk all we want about how "BEST" to lead but if our pard does not react in a manner that makes logic sense then we are doomed (at least this hand) until we can get them to see the logic of leads.

If I lead x from a Jxx will my pard assume I have an honor and testing the waters. How many rounds will that suit go if even one if the opts are void on said suit and would they play a spade in this case with a x lead and take a potential honor from their pard? Will my pard use their king if EAST plays a queen in the chance that WEST has ace and must use it to take the trick making my potential honor high card.

I contend from any example we may see here or at the tables there are many variables that can be played out depending on the situations of each players hand, their experience in the game, their intentions with that hand, their actual cards and what is played before them. Each card layed may change the situation. If EAST goes under my X does it tell the table they have the king they are not willing to sacrifice or that they do not have a card higher than X and may be out of said suit? If they beat X with a higher X but not honor what does that tell you and how does that effect an unknown pards reaction.

I know once I know a pard and we have played a few games I can see how they think for the most part, not all but general thought pattern. IE: do they max. on a high total bid and go for the set or do they just play for their bid, do they tend to bag or under bid, do they understand a finesse do they understand basic spades or a lot more. Most of the time you can't tell unless you spend some time with that pard and "Talk" about the different hands and have a common ground on how to play them.

I like working with pards in a tutorial game or 2 where we can see all the cards and compare notes on play and bids and goals of each hand. I then like to play bots to test the "same page theory" and then go to the real games. Most of the time when I play spades I am not out for blood but a good game and it's like "boy I feel like playing a game of spades" and that's where I begin. IF I find a pard I have played with before I will go that route rather than random because I know their play and can adapt. IF I playing for money you can be sure I want to maximize my potential to win so I do look for a pard that can hold their own and we are on the same page. We don't play for money here.... so I don't worry about it.

As someone said and it can be said in all games it isn't how well you played but more than likely whom makes the fewest mistakes that win the game. You can pay the rest of the game for one costly mistake if they don't return the favor.

I can see the points made in this post about the different leads and how one benefits over another in a given situation and IF each players can see it the same way.... but if that's the case and I know how your playing your cards and what you expect from your play would I not see that and counter your move with unorthodox move to set a trap to say. Games would become predictable with each distribution of the cards and everything would become routine.... I got this, I bid this, I play this and this is the result.


PS - I can tell you one thing I will play my cards in the situation and as it changes throughout the hand to the best of my ability using every tool I own to our advantage and the opts. disadvantage (force a mistake). I will take a risk if a risk is deemed necessary at the time to WIN the game otherwise why would I take an unnecessary risk.

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Post by _S_X_Eian_ » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:48 am

I have to agree with Galt that I am not a huge fan of passive leads and find it hurts you more then it helps. If forced to play one that is a different story. I have seen more hands go set on passive leads then sets gained. It can allow the opponents to set up their hand and dump useless cards on doubletons when their partners K is eaten and opponents are in complete control of the suit. This then weakens one of your strong suits by allowing the opps to trump one of these suits later on in the hand. I can see the points made for the given situations and if forced to lead due to having nothing better as was stated at the beginning of the post then you might be forced to lead passive. If I have no help for partner and I cause them to lose their counted K then we go set. If I have backup such as a 5-5 distribution in 2 suits then I might set up partner to intentionally sacrifice their K to help set up my hand and since I have backup the 1 trick that they lose might be 2 or 3 that our side gains on the hand. If I am bidding 1 then I want to minimize the chance of my partner losing a trick since I have no backup to help them if they do.


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Post by Galt » Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:18 am

I just want to add one thing that affects my thinking, and it certainly does not mean that I am correct here, but I think that it is something that lots of players don't consider when looking at the relative values of various plays.

On any given play (let's say a passive lead), even though we may not know exactly what the value is, there is a concrete statistical value to that play if used over time.

However, this is not the actual value of that play to any given team in any given game.

Specifically, the greater your overall playing ability, or expectation of winning any given game against a given set of opps, the greater is the risk from play that involves risk, and the less is your possible benefit of any given play that has potential benefit.

A passive lead that has nice potential reward and some risk as well, if used by the better team at the table, may be giving the opps a shot that is more to their benefit than yours, even if the specific numbers of the play might suggest otherwise.

I sort of touched on this in my earlier post... the idea of picking spots. I tend to try to look for more of what I would refer to as 'no lose" or "little lose" opportunities, especially when I think that my team would be expected to win the game all else being equal.

I look to be more aggressive or look for possibles when the game is more even or less than even.

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Post by Manic » Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:20 am

When i analyze the game of spades i always consider my opps to play at a high level... best defense as it were... Even though in reality as dustin mentions a lot our opps will not be at such a level... When we are talking theory though, it would be neglectful not to consider the best line of defense. As such i assume the following:

1. I have a regular partner i discuss theory with
2. The opps are at a high level
3. The score is relatively even, or first hand usually is suffice
4. We are trying to maximize tricks

So we have a relatively controlled environment to discuss leads.

When discussing LEADS i think its important to know how the opps will play in relative positions in response to certain leads.

I like to work from a simplistic position with my partners.

I like to be able to lead any suit that can be returned.
I ENCOURAGE my partners to return my leads as much as possible, when appropriate. Sometimes in order for them to protect their honors its not suitable to return a lead...

Charlie mentioned the Jxx holding and potentially losing all 3 tricks in the suit when one partner sits opposite Jxx with Kxx... true enough

However he also suggested that its somewhat better to lead from Qxx...
I think they are both just as bad... however i would have leaned toward leading from Jxx in preference to Qxx.

If you have Qxx opposite Kxx with ur partner, then if one of you lead this suit, you stand to lose a trick - you really want to take 2/3 tricks in this suit.

Similarly when u hold Qxx opposite your partner's Axx the same idea applies. If you lead from Qxx, then u stand to get endplayed out of the Q when that suit is returned to you. Its very possible to win 3 tricks in the suit if partner has ATx, and the King is on ur left provided u dont open the suit.

If we take what Dustin mentioned in a previous post about playing less adept opps, then West may play Ace in 2nd seat, which promotes ur Qx and Kx, such that u can make two tricks without problem.
Unfortunately against moderate to good players they wont rise so quickly with the Ace in 2nd.

The whole reasoning with leading from the passive suit with three grunts, xxx, is that this is a suit u have no control over...
If your partner has Kxx, the K is on a hook or its not... Usually the player holding the Ace wont lead is, is very reluctant, and its unusual for them to be forced to lead from the Ace holding...As such the King is dead in the water, and besides no one ever considers Kxx as a guaranteed trick anyway. However just like the K the Q is always factored into the bidding or should be... as an overall hand's potential... so both honors are critical

Such that we can just about ACCEPT this unfortunate situation as beyond our control, if we know its going to be taken anyway, this is a good suit to lead from, because we can inflect less damage to the other suits, we do have control over... EG: Qxx Kxx Axx etc...

If we take the standpoint that we are worried about killing our pard's king which will enevitably be captured anyway... and lead from Qxx and endplay ourselves in a second suit we have done ourselves DOUBLE the damage...

Which is why we should avoid more disaster and accept the passive lead.
The great thing about the passive lead is that its a great lead to be returned. It cannot damage you by a return.

The good thing about Top of nothing leads with Txx or 9xx as also mentioned by dustin, is that it communicates to partner the situation...What you HAVENT got... The lead of a T or 9 should tell partner u have got 9x doubleton or a 9xx passive holding... It denies possession of the AKQJ and T. its useful information, and allows your partner to finesse the 9 lead with Kxx. or Axx. etc..

The good thing about leading the low x from Jxx is that even if partner has Kxx and rose in 3rd, and is captured, ur Jx is now up against Qx so the position of the Queen will make or break whether you win 1 trick in the suit. IF you lead J and is covered, East can still win the Q and have your partner's K may still be on a hook, and theres no way to make a trick in the suit...

It appeared Charlie indicated that he preferred to lead from Qxx than he would Jxx... Did i infer correct?
I believe the Qxx stands to lose more than Jxx... but id like to hear your thoughts and convince me otherwise...

I would also be curious as to the position of most players in terms of relative honor holdings...

Ranking the order of preference of Axx, Kxx, Qxx, and Jxx

Would u be more inclined to lead from Axx over Jxx? or vice versa?

Most would consider Kxx the worst suit to lead from

i would like to know where the Jxx stacks up against Qxx and Axx.

Currently id lead them in this order... 1 being my preferred lead over the others... remember though i consider all these holdings, to be FORCED leads and that if i had a sequence, passive holding, or shortage or length pertinent to my trump holding id consider those of course.

1. Jxx
2. Axx
3. Qxx
4. Kxx

The recent post by Galt and i quote:
Specifically, the greater your overall playing ability, or expectation of winning any given game against a given set of opps, the greater is the risk from play that involves risk, and the less is your possible benefit of any given play that has potential benefit.
I believe this is quite valid, and this reasoning actually SUPPORTS not leading from Qxx... There is too much risk involved, u stand to lose far too much from doing so, and the passive suit xxx is one of the most useful and advantageous leads which stands to LOSE the least in comparison... If you were less adept than your adversaries id be inclined to take a stab at the Qxx lead lol simply i was behind the 8 ball from the beginning...

The same reasoning applies to nilling with a healthy lead, or nilling in general when u know you can out bag or out set your opponents generally.

So when we are faced a 12 bid especially or any setting hand, where maxmizing tricks is priority then one should not lead from Qxx or any unsupported honor or tenace to AVOID disaster.
Rather chose a sequence or defensive lead such a passive holding and u stand to maximize tricks and do the least damage.

Generally unless u have a sequence, u can be endplayed and u can promote your opponents cards when u are on lead... The key is avoiding the lead as much as possible, and in doing so endplaying your opponents, forcing them to lead into your tenaces so u can more tricks.

I think in general, being forced to lead can greater hindrance than a help.
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Post by TrashCanCharlie » Fri Dec 14, 2007 11:28 am

It's actually an easier thread if we had xxx instead of jxx..........why? With three small it is in fact a totally passive lead and if led it costs ya pard ziltch because any card he holds is finessable anyway.........why? Because ya have no honor card in YOUR hand!

This thread and the resulting examples pose some issues because of several things. The opps strength is also evenly balanced with 3 bids on each side!!

Now............we look at the example hands and we see we have a multitude of 3 possible 4 and five bid/trick hands based on the good or bad opening lead we make.

No real clues exist from bidding that locates and or pinpoints spade length and or side suit length from the bidding..............?

Unless? Conventional bidding can be applied to the bids we can make.................i.e. 1 bid means three things, 2 bid means something, 3 bid, etc etc where we add some conventional theory like even bids are not bids that contain four or more spades and odd bids do......or something similiar that allows some messages and communication via bidding...........

Since I am one of the few that has advocated such bidding technology it has merit and it has a cost association as well, that being bags when we have to lower a bid becauise of spades.

Personal attention has led me down a different path regarding theory and hand shape versus spade holdings.

With that said I had an idea that might just work.....

If we labeled every hand into one of four patterns before we bid it...

A. Good hand/Good Spades
B. Good hand/Bad Spades
C. Bad hand/Good Spades
D.Bad hand/bad spades

Each of these scenarios exist as we bid each hand.....we can have good and bad three bids...

Take this example


I would label this hand a two bid.....but conventionally......bad spades/good hand format............to qualify for good spades we must hold 4 or more or AKX qualifies as a four bagger....

Now.......to advance further we now have to tailor this conventional agreement to our bidding..........the only way is to use odd bids for the suit strength and even for the spade length or something similiar...........or forget all the above and simply show these hands via the play as it progresses and that folks is what I use!

The first suit the opps attack I show my hand type via the way i play to that suit...............take into consideration the convention is used by both partners and only when we are not winning the trick or forced to cover an honor.

Opps lead a suit.........

We hold J962 in the suit and now have the 962 to play to this trick........again, the order that we play this three cards will identify which hand type of the four patterns we hold............

Sure, I know someone is going to confess that we cannot hold the perfect hands where we can always show this............exactly.........but once again we give up count on the first suit the opps lead to gain far greater info.................if we held say a dub in the suit/92 is our holding in the suit the opps lead......

We now only have what appears as two methods to show hand type.............wrong..............we can low/high.....we can high low.........now.......we can pitch on the third round or cut depending on what we wanted to do...............the card size we ditch and or the spade size we cut with now will begin the completion process in identification or which one of the four hand types we hold..............

For the record.........................this method has not been discussed by me, or anyone before.............I have touched on using three and four small cards in a suit to show hand types before but primarily I focused on exact shape..........Now I can see that showing partner quickly if you have four or more spades is the most valuable info you can provide a pard with........the quicker the better since we need to know if we own the spade length before we decide on the correct defense.

With so many hands containing six spades for one side and seven spades for the other this info is priceless.........

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Post by TrashCanCharlie » Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:03 pm

How can leading from qxx in theory be worse than jxx? Every argument made against qxx can also be made against jxx except the jack is the only case where three tricks can be lost when pard holds king xx.

Sure we can lose a potential trick leading from the queen, did we bid on it? NOTTTTTTTTTTT..............but pard probably bid at least half a trick on that king ur losing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

So again, I ask, how can it be worse to lead from qxx as far as losing tricks that were counted and or value placed on either in your hand or partners............

Neither lead is wonderful, however, the queen loses a trick that MIGHT have been won only when distribution is favorable where the suit goes around three times,..............now we are forced to look at percentage of side suit splits when looking at a balanced hands of your own...........does this also change our thoughts and or percent?

Balanced hands, or at least from my experience tend to create other balanced hands around the table, while freaks create other freaks.........one void might be followed with another or several more at the table etc, etc.

The queen runs the risk of losing a potential trick we have not bid on.
The jack runs the risk of losing a potential trick that was likely bid on.

You decide which one is riskier now?


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Post by TrashCanCharlie » Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:51 pm

to answer your own argument in much less words manic.............

What is the worst that can happen when leading from qxx? Ya cannot lose at MAX more than one trick and than trick is not one you contracted for via bidding unless you are psychic.

What is the worst that can happen when leading from jxx? Ya lose a trick that was bid on....................and the suit broke nicely where three tricks were indeed there only to see ya get 0000000000000000000000 tricks in a suit where two were there if the opps broke the suit in the first place........................can that manic happen when we lead from qxx? NOOOOOOOOOOOO....wost case is we lose a trick that could have been won with the queen........

Also.............the lower honor card we lead from the more chance we stand that partner has a higher honor........hence with the queen, he can only hold one of two higher honors.....specifically the ace or king.......in each case he is likely bidding on them unless he holds a long suit with the ace and king in it.........

Instead of worrying so much about our hand we should think more often about what might be in pards...........



ok.......same bidding around the table, we are not nil here and pard has bid three as well as the opps, we have bad cards and are forced to bid one..........some of the x's are not suitable to nil

Now,. the heart lead looks ok........we sure want our one trick before it might have a chance to vanish.............however, suppose pard has bid five or six instead............are we now so concerned about our one trick we bid on, or are we instead going to make sure we lead something that might help the better hand at the table and not worry about what the one bid hand is going to do or not do that makes his hand better.

We should ALWAYS concern ourself when one hand is significantly lopsided and it is not the hand we hold................Now our first responsibility as an openiing leader is toooooooooooooooooooooooooo

NOT FCK pard with what we think is a PASSIVE lead..........sureeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee it's passive alright, sure pards king was finessable but were the opps going to locate and finesse it, remains to be seen when we do the work for them!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When when hand of a partnership is that much weaker than the other..............the captain is the stronger hand, the hand with SPADES and spade control also controls the tempo and directs the partnership the majority of the time............so why make any lead that is safe or not safe for the weaker hand lol? GO FIGURE..............why not make this lead lol

S void

Let's lead a heart, it is a singleton right lol? And it might be the right lead and or shift if pard has bid five six and or higher.........if hearts is a suit that he is long and or strong in, and if he is not short where a pitch from clubs or dimes can help him, then the heart is the right lead.


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Post by Manic » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:28 am

Look i know that we dont see too many balanced distributions.
Some sites more than others. Remember though that partner can be the one to score the doubleton too.

You're right about the Kxx opposite the Jxx your prolly going to lose all 3 tricks leading this suit, pending a balanced split too and the location of the Q. Its a poor holding to lead from no doubt.

If you are concerned about an opponent having a doubleton which is very probable, and North's K is finessed it makes no difference, sure they do have to locate it and make it successfully, i agree there, but will good players give up their ace so easily? i dont think so

How often is partner going to have the Kxx opposite your Jxx?

Lets take a hand where u may have considered the value of Queens into your overall bid: Take this example:


What if you bid 3 with this hand?
How valuable are the Queens now? you may want to win 1 of them?
How are you going to do it if u lead from one of your Qxx holdings and partner wins and returns, or partner has no honor and opps endplay u out of your Q? your going to lose a potential trick. Provided it splits favorably, you have got TWO opportunites with TWO suits to pull off a Q.

So wouldnt it better to lead from Jxx? and even if Kxx is with your pard, u still have a chance to win 3rd round pending the position of the Q and a perfectively even split.

The way i see, rather than worry about your partner's hand which is UNKNOWN to you, and u just may not hurt it at all, but u KNOW what u have in your hand, and u know you could endplay yourself out of a trick.

Wouldnt it be better not to kill what u know, rather than be FEARFUL of what u DONT know?

P.S In the examples its far too biased to give one sidesuit a 4 card holding because the length bias is going to justify that holding lead.
Thats why in past examples ive used, ive generally kept all sidesuit options equal in length.
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Post by Openshut » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:22 pm

A quick question, does anyone have any statistical data which compares or demonstrates what happens in balanced and unbalanced distribution. It may be more helpful if the limits of the response be towards 4 skilled players.

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Post by Just_Ice » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:23 pm

dustin7609 wrote:By "shot in the dark", I was actually referring to any opening lead. Whatever lead we choose to make, is actually a "shot in the dark" as we have almost no information about partner's or the opponents' holdings yet other than the bids made.
I feel this strengthens the position of leading from suits that you know will not cause you harm. Leading from K,x,x is about the worst lead you can make. So, for an opening lead you have to rely much more on your cards and less on your partners, keeping in mind that every lead you make will affect your partner in some way. I actually think leading Q from Q,x,x is not a bad opening lead, if you have no singleton or doubleton. So many times I see someone take a "shot in the dark" and end up burning their partner's King. I think saving Kings is much more vital early in the hand. You rarely go set from losing Aces, but I'd wager more sets happen because Kings are lost than any other reason.

If you lead x from J,x,x OR Q,x,x and I (as your partner) hold the King I will play it (unless, of course, West plays the Ace). So, you are taking a 50 - 50 chance of killing my King.

We typically don't bid Queens or Jacks so they should be an acceptable loss for saving our Kings. Sure, it's great if we can promote them up quickly and score an extra trick, but it is a far more often occurance that we will lose a King due to a shot in the dark lead from partner, than we will promote a Jack up to take a trick on a setting hand.

I do believe that the fastest way to lose a game of Spades is to make more mistakes than your opponents. Spades is indeed a game you can play not to lose.

I admire those who have fine tuned their game to the point where they don't have to worry about it anymore. A duo that plays with amazing skill and knows what each other is doing, to the point that they can lead x from J,xx and gain more from the communication than from the finesse opportunity the J would give, and the potential of saving their partner's King, or than can be overcome by a possible set if their partner is forced to play their King and is taken by East.

But, in most games played at most tables you can avoid too many shots in the dark by simply making a defensive opening lead that is to your advantage. Don't lose the hand, and possibly the game, on the opening lead.

Also, I don't know of a single unintentional set that ever happened in a single game that did not make that game harder to win.

And, I would NEVER bid 3 with that hand unless it was a last hand bid and I was forced by the score. I think if you make a habit of bidding Queens, it won't matter if you burn your partner's King because you're going to get set a high percentage of the time anyway. If you're bidding Queens, the last thing you want to do is burn pard's King. You're gonna need it.

I agree Jay.

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Post by Nickway170g » Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:58 am

i dont understand why people tend to say that leading low from Kxx is a bad lead. I would rather lead that than low from Qxx or Jxx. With leading from Kxx there is no way it will kill pards hand. I now chose to lead it and if my K is lost due to unlucky disribution then be it. After all it was my choise and i cant believe i bid a hole trick on it...

If pard wins with a Q or J we know who doenst have the A or Q... Pard should be smart enough to not lead it back. Not many players will hold their A 2 rounds.

Is leading from Kxx really worse than leading from Qxx ?
Just some thoughts from me.


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