Our Top Ten Rules for Five Hundred will help improve your strategy
Check that you have ten cards.
Sort your hand properly into suit groups.
Note the score, and then be sure to bid accordingly.
Listen and interpret all bids.
If you pick up the kitty, be sure to reject exactly three cards, and:
Short suit your hand in one or more suits if possible.
Hold cards to lead to partner’s 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:
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 an opponent has one or more trumps left of higher value cards than you hold, do not lead trumps. Let your 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, it will be better to lead a losing trump, since 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, 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 needlessly. If you lead the king, he would not 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 difficult for your opponents.