Hearts Strategy Tip: Left Passing Situations

Here we want to use certain card combinations in the Spade and Club suits. Let us look at two hands. It is the beginning of a game, or the pass is to the left during the course of a game. Assume in the latter case that the score is close:

Hand #1

A 10 3 K 10 2 K Q 6 5 A 5 2


Hand #2

K J 5 A Q 9 4 3 Q 9 4 A 10


Hand #3

A 5 3 2 K Q 7 K A K J 3


Remember the pass is to the left here. In each of these hands, you hold a high spade, the Ace of Clubs, and no reasonable expectation for a Moon, barring poor defense or a ridiculous pass of high Hearts. Here is the best way to handle the pass for each hand.

Hand #1

You have a very flat hand here, that is, there are no distributional features. The impulse is to pass the Ace of spades and two other cards. Give yourself a better chance! Pass the Ace of Clubs, Ten of Hearts, and a high Diamond. Keep the big Spade! The idea is to induce West to take the Ace of Clubs on the first trick and to lead a Spade to your Ace. This strategy might backfire if West holds the Queen of Spades (a one out of three possibility). You have a really bad Diamond suit, and two rather chunky Hearts. Passing the Ten of Hearts will save four points, and will stop a possible Moon by West. Shortening the Diamond suit is an improvement. Unloading the high Club helps as well. Finally, if the Spade Queen is passed to you, the Ace is another backer.

Hand #2

This is a lot easier. Drop the two Clubs and the Nine of Hearts. I like keeping the Queen of Hearts here, in case the player on your right is greedy and passes the King of Hearts and the Jack of Hearts to you. Now, you have a void in clubs, and a possible place to unload the Spade King, if you don’t receive a Spade lead from the left.

Hand #3

This hand gets mixed reviews. You do hold Ace – fourth of Spades, and I recommend that you always keep the Ace or King of Spades whenever you have at least three low supporting spades. The only kicker here is that accompanying Spades are really small and Spades leads from the right could be a problem. Drop the stiff Diamond, the Ace of Clubs, and the Queen of Hearts. Now you have a potential void in a minor suit, and the same chance of receiving a favorable Spade lead. If the Spade Queen is passed to you, she will fit in nicely with those four Spades. I would not object to the alternate pass of the Ace and King of Clubs and the Heart Queen.

Summary:When holding Ace or King of Spades and at least two other smaller Spades, as well as a side Ace of Clubs, keep the big Spade, and pass the Ace of Clubs, a middle (stopper) Heart, and another card of your choice. This technique will save you a lot of points.

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