First hand play question

uncommonb
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First hand play question

Post by uncommonb » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:49 pm

I have a question regarding the first play of a hand. The bids are negligible except that it is at least an 11 bid so you are playing for a set. The suit doesn't matter except that you hold Axx in it. Your partner leads the K. Assuming that they should hold the Q as well from that play, is it correct to play your A and then lead the same suit OR play under the K and allow the suit to be run again. I'm having a difficult time understanding what the correct play is and would appreciate any input.

Also, what happens if the LHO leads and your p throws a K?

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Last edited by uncommonb on Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Cadienne
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Re: First hand play question

Post by Cadienne » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:03 pm

Going for a set I would play under the K. That tells your partner you hold the A. They may hold single K or KQ and that would give your team boss in that suit. It doesn't matter if it's the A or the Q that is cut third round. You are going for a set. You are a team. It's not my bid and your bid, it is our bid. Always make sure the team makes the total bid.
Hope this helps

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Re: First hand play question

Post by Dust In The Wind » Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:54 am

I agree for reasons given.

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Re: First hand play question

Post by Galt » Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:23 pm

The King indicates either KQ (with possible other cards in the suit) or a singleton King.

The only reason to overtake with the Ace is if you can take the trick and continue running the suit for instance with the Q J 10.

Really nice to see you Cadienne.
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Re: First hand play question

Post by dustin7609 » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:30 am

The only time you'd overtake your partner's king would be to either:

A) Unblock your partner (i.e. holding AQJ10, etc)

B) Unblocking your own holding and want discards or a 3rd round ruff (i.e. Ax)

C) Prevent bags

Since none of the above apply, there is no reason to overtake the king here. If you are concerned about possibly blocking the suit, you can let go of the ace on the 2nd round (since you will still have a low). Partner will know to lead his lowest on the next round (with the rare exception an expert opponent is using a hold up play or a possible bath coup situation).

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Re: First hand play question

Post by Debils_Abdicate » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:02 am

"The bids are negligible"

That is quite a statement. The bids are key when we are trying to figure out the holdings in other hands. However, in the given scenario I do not see a bid scenario (except maybe if there were a nil, but that would have been mentioned for sure) where playing the A here would be the better play. However, if the holding is changed to Ax rather than Axx, then I think the bids around the table and what the rest of your hand looks like would be VERY important. Please refer to the following to see a discussion of what might be done in that situation: http://expertspades.yuku.com/topic/800/ ... leads.html

"Assuming that they should hold the Q as well"

As Cadienne and Galt have said, the K lead could also be from a singleton K. Another possibility is that your pard holds something like:

S: 8
H: Kx
D: AQxxx
C: AQxxx

I would seriously consider the K lead here. If his partner (our hand) holds the A and/or Q, then this will not likely lose anything (even partner holding Jxx would often not lose anything by this lead). I would probably lead the K and hope pard had an honor in the suit. Leading from those long AQ suits with such a poor spade suit (unless you are sure partner has a very long spade suit) is very likely to lose a trick.

Of course, in all of these above cases (K, KQ, or Kx), ducking from your Axx holding would be good.

Cadienne says "That tells your partner you hold the A"

Not with certainty. If your partner's bid were very low (say 1) and he led the K, many very good players would duck in 4th seat holding the A. The 4th seat player would then await the (usual) follow-up Q lead in that suit and take it with the A. With only a 1 bid, the K is likely the only winner in your pard's hand, and you would have no way to get back into his hand later if you want to. It shuts off communication.

Now, let's put ourselves in partner's place. He led the K and we ducked. Should he lead the Q (as I see most players do)? Most times not, I say. Partner probably has the A, and what if it is Ax? If we lead low in that suit then partner can get the A and still have the Q. If we had a long suit (say KQxxx) that we are developing and partner holds Axx, then partner takes the A on our follow-up low lead and returns the suit which we like. See the link above if we had a long suit and partner held Ax.

"Also, what happens if the LHO leads and your p throws a K?"

Duck. Quack.

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Re: First hand play question

Post by Galt » Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:45 pm

That comment about not leading the Queen if the King walks is so important.

So often pards will make that play when I started with Ax, and it just tosses a trick down the drain (assuming that pard does not have the J.
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Re: First hand play question

Post by TrashCanCharlie » Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:57 am

Hi all,

Reading with interest all the suggestions and replies so I figured I would add some of what has not already been mentioned.

A. It is almost always wrong to overtake a king lead from partner.......Exceptions would occur when you hold the AQJ...now, overtaking is a no-brainer.
B. If you see the queen in your hand then you are privy to info that partner has made what I like to call a "Desperation" lead.......It is def. an attacking lead but why did our pard make such a desperate lead? A doubleton and or singleton lead of a King is quite risky and certainly not something the better pair has to do or lead to win games. It's the kind of lead you make when "LOSING." Or it's the kind of lead you make because the other team is superior and "you" know that sitting in your seat is going to lose for you. Instead, against these better players you take anti-percentage actions that may stir the pot favorably for your side. Since the poster confessed that the rest of the info about this hand is irrelevant we are to assume first hand new game.......With that in mind then the lead should most def not be from a stiff king or dub King unless we think we are doomed from the start. On an eleven bid things can go either way so easily why would we possibly sacrifice a trick.......stiff or singleton kings do take tricks about a fourth of the time even when the opps hold the ace because they do observe second hand low techniques.

A time to make a timed guess of this lead would occur when partner bids 4,5, 6 or higher because now the odds more favor partner holding that trick taking card......If partner had bid one do ya think that stiff king is still an odds on favorite? Heck NO

The folks that advocate overtaking with the ace should ask a few questions........The man making that king lead and if he were planning on quickly cutting in, then his trumps should also be short........Sooooooooooooooooooooo......think about this scenario? Partner is making a desperate short suit lead.......well? If he is short in that suit then he is most likely not short in spades and he is diligently working on weakening his sides spades and doing just the opposite of what his side should be doing...................So, if you are my pard..................and a good one.........then I am going to assume you are almost two suited and trying to hit my long suit by leading your short one.......A good partner does not make leads all the time that suit him and or his hand, sometimes a short suit lead is for "his partners" hand and is a "desperate" shot at hitting the long suit of his pard who also possesses the trump/spade length.

C. Nobody mentioned this concept as well......If we are going to duck partners lead of the king, and if partner does indeed have that singleton king.......we must convey to partner which suit to lead NEXT!! We do this with a "Suit Preference Duck." In other words, when partner sees his KING hold the trick he is going to look at the card we played intently..............if we play a very low card we are implying a club suit lead, if we play a higher card than necessary then we are implying a suit lead higher in rank than the one he led.....I know folks..............this is not bridge but the concept does work......If partner leads the king of diamonds and it wins the trick......he sees us play the ten under it................that would imply a heart shift...............if he sees the two of diamonds that we play, that implies a club shift........................keep in mind however that the first signal should be attitude though.........so, how is partner and partner supposed to guess and or know whether the signal is suit preference and or attitude?

The answer lies in good pre-game planning and discussions regarding leads and defense. I am going to look at what partner has bid, who partner is, whether partner has any clue about the most delicate views of the game and if I can assume anything about my partners previou schooling regarding "Card Strategy" in general and not just "Internet Spades" strategy.

If I know my partner is at my level I can assume quite a bit and personally I will know that my partner is "Savy" enough to make a lead to try to hit my hand and get our side off to the very best lead as an opening lead. Most folks never consider this element when leading......they simply look at the hand they hold and make the best or what they think might be the best lead for "Them."

So, if I held four or more spades and also were long in the suit partner leads......say I held Axxxxxx in the suit partner leads the king in.............A. I know that partner is a smart one, I know that partner is smart enough to consider my bid and hand when he leads, I know that partner is not going to sacrifice a natural spade trick by leading some dumb singleton king when he holds Qxx of spades or better......I will then and only then overtake and lead it back because I know that I am not ruining some natural spade tricks he has. Instead I would expect him to hold xxx of spades or worse.

I would also overtake when holding AQJ, AQJx AJ10....Aj10xxxx and others but only when he has struck gold with that lead and in other cases where I do not have a quick entry back into my hand where I can continue leading the same suit. In other words I am going to sacrifice a natural trick when I overtake for the sole reason of maintaining our sides opening tempo.................in this exception it is ok to lose a trick to gain 2 or more later.

Regards,
Jay

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Re: First hand play question

Post by Debils_Abdicate » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:03 am

Thanks for your reply Jay. It seems that everyone is in agreement that the cases where you would overtake pard are rare, but you put a little more meat on it and gave good examples. Your discussion of why pard may have led the K was also informative.

Maybe I did not follow your part C. (signalling pard) very well. You say
so, how is partner and partner supposed to guess and or know whether the signal is suit preference and or attitude?
but it seems to me that the discussion that follows goes back to figuring out why pard led the K in the first place.

I'd be really interested to know more about this suit preference signalling and how it can be applied (and distinguished from attitude), because I have not used it before. Of course I am used to signalling attitude.

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Re: First hand play question

Post by TrashCanCharlie » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:04 pm

You are right about the bidding! If partner has only bid one and leads that king..................WE might assume he has a busted nil hand with either a singleton or dub king......In that scenario I might overtake and lead it back simply to make our bid and still let pard use his worthless spades cutting.

However, if he bids more than one and if I do indeed hold that suit as my longest side suit as well as four or more spades, I will now let the king hold!!!!

NOW!

Assumptions are made that are logical.............Logical, deductive reasoning leads us to thoughts like............Is my partner someone I know? Is my partner competent enough to lead a short suit in an attempt to hit my hand? Is my partner just a noob floundering and likely to switch horses in mid stream.

The first signal we use when partner leads is attitude. of course! However, attitude signals are replaced by suit preference when it is known that it's the right suit. For example: Partner's king holds the trick! Obviously 95 percent of the time we hold the ace. Most opps are not savy enough to know the whens, whys, of ducking an ace when they hold something like AJX in a suit.............Sometimes when an opp leads King from KQX he will lead it a second time when the king holds.

Sooooo.....on occasion it is correct to hold the ace up to suck an offender into a continuation.

So to answer your question and suit preference versus attitude...............Attitude takes preference always, always, always............unless a situation occurs where it is "Intuitively Obvious" to continue said suit! If it appears as obvious, or is obvious, then an only then can we use secondary signals such as suit preference.

The best partnerships in the scenario given would use suit preference on the king lead to direct a partner with a singleton. Since trumps are not counted as a preference we have only three suits in this case.

Clubs, diamonds, hearts......................ranking the suits as a bridge player would do...............the pecking order is clubs as the lowest ranked suit, diamonds next, then hearts, then spades.

So, if the King of diamonds is led and I hold a hand like S.Axxx H.Axx D.A9xx2 C.x Partner leads the king of diamonds................yahooooooooooooooo, he has made what I think is the best lead for me, yahoooooooooooooo.... Normally we would use that nine as an attitude signal to continue.......................However, we have a regular pard, a savy one, one that knows suit-preference..............Now the 2 by me would indicate a club shift to hit my hand, the nine would indicate a heart shift and something I like in the heart suit.

Keep in mind that a suit preference signal is not a COMMAND to lead this suit..............it is merely a subtle suggestion regarding my holding.

Jay

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Re: First hand play question

Post by Just_Ice » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:41 am

The OPer brought up a few basic points:

1) It's a setting hand (11 bid or more).
2) Your pard opens a hand with a K, or plays a K in 2nd position.
3) He holds A,x,x in that suit.


He also mentioned that he would assume his pard held the Q. Many of you have also brought up the other option that your pard might have a single K (less of a chance with your 3 card holding, but still possible).

With these 3 basic points, I'd like to see a situation where it is better (higher percentage play) for you to play the A.

I believe the hand with the best reason to take with the A is A,Q,J, and even with that holding, it is better to play the Q. This (generally) communicates the same thing as playing the A, but gives your partner the opportunity to communicate more by the next lead.

Also, I don't think you should treat it differently whether the K is led or played 2nd in this scenario. It may not communicate exactly the same thing, but the fact remains you have this trick one. Without knowing more information this early in the hand, the odds clearly say let your pard have it. Another option is that your pard has the long suit and is leading the K before it gets trumped and really wants to make the 2nd lead. I want my partner to make the 2nd lead here also, even if I have A,Q,J. Although, I admit I would be a bit disappointed if my partner returned the suit after I ducked, unless they held K,Q.

I believe King play to be more important in this situation than any other scenario you can think up, keeping the facts as facts.

But, I'd love to see you prove me wrong. I never refuse an opportunity to learn something new. :D

Hi there pard (Cadienne) and you too, Jack!

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Re: First hand play question

Post by TrashCanCharlie » Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:21 pm

Actually Ice no good answer exist for the question posed!!!! The problem with the question and facts are:

He stated, "The bids are neglible!" The BIDS are always important and one cannot ascertain and correct answer on play when they are unknown.
He stated: The rest of your hand as also unknown
He showed one lead ................the King only, no mentioned of the card played to your right either...........another important item!

Without knowing exactly what your partner bid................the KING lead means almost nada............except most folks lead the King when they hold the queen and some lead it when holding ace and king.............since we hold the ace...............he cannot be leading that because we see the ace in our hand!

So............the only answer based on the info supplied would be to duck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, since the conversation was turning and twisiting into more theory and others..............I felt a few things should and could be added....

Things like, partner has bid 1 and only one after we bid six prior.............now..............we might consider busted nils............we might consider a king lead from Kx in an attempt to hit the six bidders long suit...............


But............................................even before we get to that topic one must understand the how's and why's regarding the importance of NOT LEADING



the KING from something like S.x H.xxxx D.KQXXXX C.xx The diamond suit is likely to be a short suit in pards hand.............if pard has bid 6 and I hold this hand...................rest assured "I am not leading the KIng of dimes!!!!!! Instead I personally would make the imaginative lead of the top club!!!

Odds highly favor pard to be short in dimes so why weaken his hand by leading it? If I am wrong so be it! But, I am going to try to hit a suit he most likely holds four or more cards in because with that nice six bid he certainly possesses four or more spades as well.

The worst lead I can make is hitting something like this in partners hand...............S. Axxxxx H.KQx D.void C. Axxx or S.KQxxx H.Axx D.x C.QJxx

To also make another point Ice................quite a bit of difference is also involved when partner leads a king versus rises up with it in second seat......

The reason being here...................we can see the ace in our hand...............if partner holds King and queen he has duped us by playing the king out of order.............It is more normal to play the queen when holding King and queen than to bypass it and play the king first............

In cases where lead conventions exist such as Rusinow leads......................Now...................using those lead convention folks lead the Queen when holding KIng and queen and the king lead denies the queen...........it would either show....the ace and king or a singleton k or a dub k and q.

Please do not take my answers as snide or smartA'sd..............I just want to point the readers into more thought and why the answer doesn't really exist with the info given

Jay

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Re: First hand play question

Post by Just_Ice » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:28 pm

Na, I didn't take it that way.

Yes, whether or not the King is the right play is a valid question. However, it's not the question here.

I think here's where knowing your pard means taking less time thinking about what he "might" have done, and being familiar with why he would play a K here. It's impossible to run through all the scenarios in your mind with a pick-up pard when the game is live.

Was one of your situations an example of a time when you should take the K? If it is, I didn't see it.

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Re: First hand play question

Post by Galt » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:11 pm

Jay, you still livin life as a pool boy?
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Re: First hand play question

Post by TrashCanCharlie » Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:11 am

Why yes Galt! I own and manage two businesses. One is an amusement business which places me into about thirty locations with equipment and the other is a functioning first rate billiard parlor equipped with 22 nine foot tables and 7 bar size tables.............

It keeps me busy.

Ice.................tons of hands and situations exist where it is right to overtake partners king lead!


Without the individual bids, without seeing a full hand, without seeing what card the person played to your right.....................the question is not valid.
Without those facts the only hand one could use to illustrate would be the one Dustin provided you with........AQJ AQJ10 scenario.

However, if you want me to list hands where I would overtake it I will:

Partner has bid 1.................I have bid 6..............the opps have each bid 2.

Partner leads that same king and it is a partner I know and trust...........it is a partner I have spent hours with both on and off the table discussing such plays.

Now Ice................that clearly specifies the atmosphere at the table when the King is led and now allows us to discuss this sanely.

I hold any of these hands with said pard:

S.AQxxx H.Kx D.AJ10xx C.x

Now Ice.....................If I had this hand and with said pard he led that king....................................I'D OVERTAKE the KING and lead the jack back........If partner has the queen.........great................if pard has led a singleton he will make a judged guess when lefty plays infront of him but if he does not see ueen pop most likely will float the jack and make a useful discard.

The reason for overtaking it ICE is this................My spade length is only five......another person at the table could easily have four spades and if they do the best thing they can do is make me cut, make me cut, and make me cut.

It is in my best interest to get the diamond suit established as quickly as possible even at the risk of losing a diamond trick by my seemingly silly overtake manuever.

But......................if you play hands such as this you quickly see that by losing one diamond trick you might gain three later in the hand.............The key here is to take advantage of pards brilliant lead and keep the timing as lovely as it is at present and thank the lucky spades god that partner has hit your longest suit and you can make sure RIGHT NOW that this suit is continued by OVERTAKING that king!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! An you sure as heck do not want to find pard with a stiff king and see him shift at trick two to a small club!@$Q@#%#@%@#%#@Q^Q@ OUCHIES

The opps will take that trick and smile loudly while leading a second small club, then when they get the lead again and again they are going to plague you with club continuations until your long spade two suited hand collapses.

It's better to run the risk I think now and possibly lose a trick to gain more in the endgame............but you still control the lead and suit...............do it while ya can do it.

Jay

And if ya would like to see ten more examples Ice, I'd be happy to share my thoughts as to why I make the plays I make and why they are timeless classics of forcing defenses that have tested and tried time and time again for decades...

Robert Ewen cites many fine examples in his Opening Leads book that will give ya some insight into this subject.

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