Count your winning tricks

You have won the bidding and you are in No Trumps (in a suit contractcount your losers)….the opposition give the opening lead and Dummy lays down their hand on the table.Now count your winners in both hands without giving up the lead. The focus of our Defensive Card Play Lessons and Declarer Card Play Lessons is to teach you these skills.

In No Trumps


A winner or winning card is a card that will win when four cards have been played to a trick. Examples of winning cards are Aces; Ace and King in a suit; voids if you are in a trump suit.
After counting your winners count you should subtract this number from the total tricks you have bid. Often this winning trick count is be a negative number and your challenge is to develop more tricks from your cards to make your contract.

The Solution

You will have to do make some finesses in diamonds and duck a round in hearts in order to make some of your smaller cards into winners

The Problem

If the opponents can win the first trick in a suit then in your counting you have no winners in that suit. The total of your count of winning cards gives you the winning tricks count for Declarer and Dummy’s hands combined.
The contract is 3NT. Your partner  lays down this hand and you see that  together have  only 6 winning tricks (without losing the lead). You need to develop another three winning tricks in order to make your contract. How can you do this?


♠ 10 9 8
♥ A 6 5
♦ K J 9 7
♣ 6 5 3

This hand only contains 1 certain winner- the Ace of hearts


Opening Lead
♠ 4 3 2
♥ 9 8 4
♦ Q 3
♣ A 10 8 7 4

Under dummy – The first card played known as the opening lead comes from this hand


Over dummy
♠ 7 6 5
♥ Q J 7
♦ A 8 5 2
♣ Q J 9

The East Hand is ‘over dummy’ meaning they play after Dummy.


♠ A K Q J
♥ K 10 3 2
♦ 10 6 4
♣ K 2

5 winners – 4 spade and 1 heart winner. KH is a winner as Dummy has the Ace of Hearts

Table: Cards in a Suit vs. Winners in that suit

Cards held in suit   Certain Winners
A 8 7 6 5   1
K J 4   0
J 8 7 6 5   0
A K Q 6 5   3
A K   2
K Q 7 6 5   0
A Q 7 6 5   1
K Q J 10 9   2
A K J 10 9   2