The Perfect Hand to Ask for Aces – Sky Bridge Club
March 22, 2017
Opener’s Reverse Bids
April 1, 2017

Losing Trick Count

Losing Trick Count

The Losing Trick Count (LTC) is a way of evaluating the strength of your hand when you have a fit (at least 8 trumps between you).

  1. add your losers to partner’s
  2. subtract the total from 24
  3. result = the number of tricks your side can expect to make

Step 1: Count your losers

Only the first three cards in the suit are potential losers. So, in a 3-card suit or longer, if you have the Ace, King and Queen, they are winners and you have no losers in that suit.
AKQ8 has no losers.

Keep in mind that when it comes to playing the hand, you still might have a loser in the suit. The losing trick count is a way of estimating how many tricks you will win, rather like high card points.
If you have a 2-card suit, you have 2 potential losers. For each Ace or King subtract a loser.
A2 has 1 loser.
For a singleton you have 1 potential loser. Don’t count a loser for a singleton Ace.
2 has 1 loser.

Step 2: Assess partner’s losers

Here’s how to estimate partner’s losers.
Partner was the opener

  • An average opening hand (12-15) = 7 losers
  • A stronger opening hand (16-18) = 6 losers
  • A maximum 1-level opening ( 19) = 5 losers
  • A strong 2 opening (20+) = 4 losers or fewer

Partner was responding to your opening bid

  • A raise to the 2-level = 9 losers
  • A raise to the 3-level = 8 losers
  • A raise to game = 7 losers

The stronger the hand, the fewer the losers

Step 3: Combine your losers

Add your losers to partner’s losers and subtract the total from 24. The answer will tell you how many tricks your side can expect to make.

Losing trick count in action


Once North raises to 2, South can use the Losing Trick count to determine how high to bid. Remember that it is only useful once you have found a fit. What should you do with this hand now?

Partner has a minimum opening = 7 losers. You have 5 losers, therefore 12 in total. 24 – 12 = 12. Check that you are not missing 2 aces and then bid 6.

Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll find LTC much more accurate than counting points when you have a fit. Just a reminder, though, if you don’t have a trump fit, LTC is not the right tool for the job. In that case, stick to counting your points.

Some adjustments

You can get even more accuracy with the losing trick count by making a few adjustments.
LTC is most accurate with a 9-card fit. Add half a loser for an 8-card fit.
A32 as obviously stronger than Q32. Add half a loser for each queen. Subtract half a loser for each ace. So, A32 is 1 and half losers, and Q32 is 2 and a half losers.

28 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this site, I love it. Merry Christmas to you all
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 X
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  2. Profile photo of coombes1952 coombes1952 says:

    Merry Christmas Sky Bridge Club! I love the games, humour and lessons.
    I look forward to 4pm each day for the new hands….I guess I need to ‘get a life’


    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  3. Profile photo of depe depe says:

    Merry Christmas ye all. Enjoy your feast, family, friends and bridge, in what ever order ye prefer.
    Thanks Sky Bridge and all comments from members. Cheers
    .
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  4. Profile photo of jbrown jbrown says:

    Thank you all for the fun lessons.
    I have had a great year with you.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  5. Profile photo of valeriejoan valeriejoan says:

    What a wonderful site. Thank you so much for everything you do.
    Nice cards today for Christmas as well. They went 3nt but we took them down!
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  6. Profile photo of carro88 carro88 says:

    First time defended 3nt which made. Then tried bidding hearts. Oppo went to 5c, which went off. Probably wouldn’t do that in a club game.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 3
    5 P P P

  7. Profile photo of dominicref dominicref says:

    I would love to know how some players are holding EW to 6 or even 5 tricks in 3NT. Happy Christmas all!
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  8. Profile photo of suzicoo suzicoo says:

    Hoping you all have had a great Christmas day. Play the site everyday I am sure it is helping. Have a little trouble finding my round the site that’s my only comment.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  9. Profile photo of ardbrugh ardbrugh says:

    Nollaig Shona…. from Ireland…
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 3
    5 P P X
    P P P

  10. Profile photo of beaparker beaparker says:

    Season’s Greeting to all at Sky Bridge Club. Thank you for such a fun and enjoyable bridge club.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  11. Profile photo of starwise starwise says:

    Merry Christmas from Boston! I love my Sky Bridge Club. Many thanks.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  12. Profile photo of nelle nelle says:

    Merry Christmas Skybridgeclub and bridge players. Enjoy a bridge game every morning. with my cup of coffee here in the USA. Today opponents bid and made 5C.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 3
    5 P P P

  13. Profile photo of najat najat says:

    Merry Xmas to each and every member at Sky Bridge Club you are wonderful people, thank you all, great site.<3
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  14. Profile photo of carolineh carolineh says:

    merry Christmas toall I too would like to say thank you to sky bridge club. I was able to keep ew to 6
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  15. Profile photo of barbot barbot says:

    @dominicref – S led a small heart, taken by the W’s K. N/S later took the hearts. Happy Holidays all!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  16. Profile photo of squarepeg61 squarepeg61 says:

    I’m not sure how people are holding E-W to five or six tricks. For my part. N-S held them to 10 tricks in 5C.


    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 3
    5 P P P

  17. Profile photo of squarepeg61 squarepeg61 says:

    Replayed as N in 3NT and held E-W to eight tricks.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  18. Profile photo of kinderconnie kinderconnie says:

    Merry Christmas to everyone at Sky Bridge Club
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  19. Profile photo of suzie suzie says:

    Wow, I’m not having a good day defending EW’s 3NT; they’ve made 11 both times. Not sure how to fix this!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  20. Profile photo of edith edith says:

    Merry Christmas to all and may the New Year bring peace and joy.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  21. Profile photo of chance22 chance22 says:

    EW made 9 in 3NT. North threw off a heart on an early diamond trick, after I had led off with the 3H. What a bummer. Good he is not a human partner. Just kidding: I can try to channel Dorothy Hayden Truscott, who described herself as a partner: “I’m adaptable, I’m pleasant to play with, and I’m lucky.” Sounds good.

    Merry Christmas! And thank you to Sky Bridge Club!

  22. Profile photo of johna johna says:

    Played out 5C after interfering in the bidding, holding them to 9 tricks. Then played 3NTX for top board. For the benefit of those trying to defeat the contract, the key is to stop the danger hand East from running clubs, by a conventional 3H lead then letting N make the early running in H but taking over with the Q and A later, so you make a diamond after discards rather than E getting in with a club lead from N.Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Four top boards in a row. Will try and get a top board each day for the rest of the year. If only I could do it first time……
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N X
    P P P

  23. Profile photo of cjeanj cjeanj says:

    took 7 tricks
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  24. Profile photo of gayer gayer says:

    Like chance 22 my partner threw a heart after I led them, I don;t know why, it was the winning trick. All the best from NZ for 2017. I have learned so much from skybridge and love all the comments.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

  25. Profile photo of nevillet nevillet says:

    They made it…..
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 3 P
    3 P 3N P
    P P

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