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Losing Trick Count in bridge

The losing trick count indicates the number of tricks your partnership can expect to make in a suit contract.

If your side has an 8 card trump fit then the losing trick count is more accurate than counting points.

losing trick count

Step 1: Count your losers

1 card suits

A singleton Ace is a winner, every other card is counted as a loser.

♠A = 0 losers.
♠K = 1 loser.
♠7 = 1 loser.

2 card suits

In a 2-card suit, the Ace and King are winners, everything else is counted as a loser.

♠AK = 0 losers.
♠A2 = 1 loser.
♠K2 = 1 loser.
♠Q2 = 2 losers.

3 card suits

In a 3-card suit, the Ace, King and Queen are winners, everything else is counted as a loser.

♠AKQ = 0 losers.
♠A76 = 2 losers.
♠AQ6 = 1 loser
♠KQ6 = 1 loser
♠AK7 = 1 loser

4+ card suits

Only the first three cards in any suit are considered as possible losers.

You can think of

♠AQ9864 = 1 loser
♠KQ653 = 1 loser
♠A875 = 2 losers

Count your losers in all 4 suits

count losers

1 spade loser, 1 heart loser, 2 diamond losers and 1 club loser.
total = 5 losers.

Step 2: Assess partner's losers

You can make a good estimate of losers based on how many points partner has shown.

For example, an opening bid at the 1-level showing 12 points will have about 7 losers.

6-9 points = 9 losers.
e.g. A simple raise to the 2 level such as 1 - 2

10-11 points = 8 losers.
e.g. A jump raise to the 3 level such as 1 - 3

12-14 points = 7 losers.
e.g. An opening bid at the 1-level.

15-17 points = 6 losers.

18-19 points = 5 losers.

20-22 points = 4 losers.

23 points = 3 losers.

Losing Trick Count in Bridge

North has a minimun opening hand or 7 losers

Step 3: Calculate the Result

Add your losers to partner's losers.

Subtract the total from 24.

The result equals how many tricks you can make.

Losing Trick Count in Bridge

your 5 losers + partner's 7 losers = 12
24 - 12 = 12
Your side can make 12 tricks.

Losing Trick Count in Bridge

6♠ making 6. Nice!

Ace vs Queen adjustment

A32 is obviously stronger than Q32. Adjusting for that will improve your LTC calculations.

Add half a loser for each queen. Subtract half a loser for each ace.

♠A32 is 1 and a half losers

♠Q32 is 2 and a half losers.

losing trick count adjustments

South's hand isn't so good. Too many Queens!


Melly says:
In the last example you say that South’s hand isn’t so good. And you leave the bidding at 2 spades. I am puzzled because I count 5 losers in the S hand and 9 in the N hand? 24 -14 equals 10. Why not bid 4 spades? Melly
honvermex says:
If you adjust the South hand for the three Queens (add half a loser for each Queen) you then get six and a half losers for the South hand. 24 - 15.5 equals 8.5 (eight and a half tricks)
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