Checklist of correct playing procedures.
- Check you have ten cards.
- Sort your hand properly into suit groups.
- Check what the score is, and then make sure you bid correctly.
- Listen and interpret all bids.
- If you have picked up kitty, make sure you reject exactly three cards, and…
- Short suit your hand in one or more suits if possible, BUT
- Hold cards to lead to partners aces.
- Hold at least one rag to a king in the suit in which your partner holds the ace.
- Hold at least two rags to a queen in the suit in which your partner holds the ace.
- If playing with a suit as trumps.
- (a) Lead trumps first to run your opposition out of them. Only lead to your partners non trump ace first if you want him to lead a trump back, so you may try a finesse play.
- Count the number of trumps as they are played.
- Never lead trumps when only you and your partner hold trump cards.
- If you know one of your opponents has one or more trumps left, and they are higher value cards than you hold, do not lead trumps. Let you opponents use them as trumps, and keep yours in reserve.
- If your partner is out of trumps and you suspect your opponents both have one or more, you are better to lead a losing trump, as you may get two opposing trumps to fall, at the cost of only one of yours.
- If your partner leads to your ace, and you hold the king as well, play the king, not the ace. This way he knows you still hold the ace.
- If you hold the king and queen of the same suit, and the ace has not been played, it is better to lead the king to make the queen, than the queen to make the king. If your partner has the ace, and you lead the queen he may play the ace to take a trick which he need not take. If you lead the king, he is not going to play the ace on that.
- As a general rule the second player should play low, and the third player play high.
- In no-trump calls lead all your long strong suit first if you have such a suit. This makes discarding for your opponents difficult.
- In no-trumps, in spite of rule 10, do not put your partner in the position of having to discard aces you may wish to lead to later. He may throw the wrong one.
- In no-trump calls, if you have no long strong suit, and gaps in suits you wish to make tricks in, lead small losing cards first to clear up the middle cards in those suits. Keep your aces back to regain the lead later without having to use the joker. In other words, in difficult no-trump calls, play to lose tricks early in those suits. If you lead the aces you open up those suits for your opponents.
- If your partner leads to your ace in no-trumps, and you do not wish to run off other winners you have yet, always lead back to your partner in the suit he led to you.
- Never try to beat the correct calling system while your partner is still in the bidding. You will be confusing your partner more than your opponents.
- Be alert to all the bids, no matter how bad your hand is. The most unexpected things can happen.
- If you are left with the calling responsibility, and your opposition are bidding a
game winning score, never pass until
- You are absolutely sure you have them stopped, or
- You know that you cannot possibly attain the call you go, and you will lose the game if left on that bid.
- Try to deduce from the bidding where all four aces and the joker are for every new hand dealt.
- It is better to miss bidding a strong hand and risk losing a game (but not a hand), if your opponents bid does not win them the game.
- Ask for a redeal if you see any cards during dealing.
- Use your “bargaining power” to the utmost. A game is not lost until someone wins it by calling, and the next hand or two can change the whole game.
- Never comment on your hand until after a hand is played. At best, post mortems are not effective game winners.
- Never grumble about your cards. Every bad hand you are dealt will be matched with an equally good one later on. Luck in the deal strangely seems to go in runs, sometimes good, sometimes bad.
- Never forget you are half a partnership. You are not just playing your own hand. Your partner needs your input. If your hand is poor, the odds are your partners is strong.
- Never leave your partner on his first bid of an ace if he has been the only bidder so far. The only exception would be if to bid would take you out the back door, and your opponents are threatening to win this game this hand. If you have nothing to bid, just go 7 in the suit he bid. He will know this is a bid to keep him in the bidding.
- Concentrate entirely on the game. There is no room for idle chatter if you are playing serious cards. If you must talk, do it before you start, or after you finish playing.
- It is not difficult to get a nine or even a ten call with four aces against you.
- Nine no-trumps without the joker is not difficult if you have the four aces on your side, and at least good support in most suits or a long strong suit.
- Be particularly careful to stay in the bidding when your opponents bid does not take them out the front door, but a larger call in the same suit will. You cannot re-enter the bidding if your opponents do not change the suit of their bid.
- You are better to go down a small bid, than let your opposition call a successful large bid.
- If you hold the Joker, right and left bowers, and your partner has bid that ace, your first lead MUST be a small card to your partners ace. This rule holds good even if you do not hold the joker.
- Never trump your partners trick, unless you must have the lead to clean out opposition trumps.
- Recognise finesse play, where you endeavour to take a trick with a lower card than the best you have. There must be an element of risk before a finesse can happen.
- If you hold the joker, and your opposition have called no-trumps, delay playing the joker as long as possible, unless by playing the joker you know you can take enough tricks to defeat their bid.
- Be aware that not all bids which sound like bids to go down, are in fact bids to go down.
- Be alert to the fact that either an accidental or intentional attainment of all ten tricks is worth 250 points. From a score of 250, eight spades will not win a game, but if they fluke all ten tricks, it is all over.
- Do not lead trumps to the bidding team, unless you are strong enough to run them out.
- Be careful not to display the three cards you reject after picking up kitty.
- It is usual and wise to clean your opponents out of trumps before you try to make tricks in offsuit. Thus you normally lead to or with the joker. Then the right and/or left bower.
- If you hold the right bower and know the joker is against you, it is still better to lead the bower to get the joker out of the way.
- If you hold the joker, and right and left bowers, and your partner had the ace, lead to the ace first, since your partner may hold it bare.
- Always try to hold one or two trumps when you get to the stage of playing in the offsuit area. If you lead off all the trumps and lose the lead, you may not get it back again.
- If your offsuit is an ace and two low cards of that suit, you stand a much better chance of making two tricks by leading the lowest card first, trumping in and then lead the ace. The other rag is often good for another trick.