Home | Learn | Losing Trick Count

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!

Watch, Learn, Play

Sunday Livestreams

Watch 10 hands being played, ask questions during the livestream and then enjoy playing the hands yourself.

Learn Bridge Online

Join Graeme every Wednesday for supervised play at learnbridgeonline.com

Play Bridge Online

Play bridge and become a better player with livestreams, videos and lessons.


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
Log in to comment