Polling You #58: Contract Bridge Loser on Loser #5, March 31, 2011

Polling You #58 – Loser on Loser, Contract Bridge

What, needlessly give up a loser – whose crazy idea is that, anyway?  Well, as the saying goes, sometimes when we offer something up we are returned more in dividends.  And when it comes to the loser on loser play, with a bit of preparation, planning and a modicum of good fortune we have an opportunity to make a critical trick.

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Of course as we’ve all seen in Bridge as in life, timing always seems to be the catalyst for good thing to come our way.  So whether you are acting or investing, skydiving or maybe asking for that first date, timing is everything!

Declarer’s Basic Trick-taking Strategies

  • Ruff side suit losers in dummy
  • Promote suit in dummy or hand
  • Finessing

General Loser on Loser Concept

Why should we ever give up a trick?

  • We know RHO will overtrump dummy
  • We foresee a future opponent ruff/overruff
  • We can gain a future ruff on our side
  • To avoid dangerous opponent gaining lead
  • To promote a side suit

Loser On Loser Primer: Opponent Overruff

Pitch loser on third trick – do not ruff 5 4 3 2
4 3

A K Q x x x
8 7
5 2
A K Q x x x
8 7 6
Q 2

Primer: Promote Side Suit

Pitch loser on third trick – do not ruff J 3 2
Q 4 3
Q J 10 9
A 3 2

J 10 9…

A K …
Pitch loser on third trick – do not ruff   A K Q 10
A K 4 3 2
6 5 4

General Clues to Employ End Play Tactics

  • You have nothing to lose by trying
  • You require an extra trick (to make contract…)
  • Beware of “Dangerous Opponent
    Based on bidding, play, tenace holdings
  • Mirrored side suit shape and extra trump)
  • Counting and discards

Timing: The critical element

  • Know when to throw opponent in
  • First eliminate opponents’ side suit options

Throw-in & End Play: Loser On Loser

Why use Loser On Loser tactic here?

  • Throw non-dangerous opponent into lead
  • You lack “assist” cards (intermediate spots)
  • Force opponent to help you !

How to execute Throw-in / End Play

A K 3 2
5 4

13 – (4 + 2) = 7, place long opponent with 4+ long suit in the lead

  • Ruff third card, throw loser on fourth card
A K 2
J 4 3

Only one opponent can win with Queen

  • Hopefully, non-dangerous opponent wins

Other possibilities:

  • Consider opponents bidding
  • Evaluate lead – top of sequence
  • Watch cards, look for eventual void
  • Count suits, make deductions
  • Consider signals

Loser on Loser Summary: End Play – Throw in

  • Dangerous Opponent
  • Ruffing
  • Promotion
  • Timing

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Happy Bridge Trails and Tales,



  1. BridgeHands says:
    Hello Bridge Pollsters,
    On our endplay loser on loser poll, three-fourth went with “all of the above.” In second and third place, votes went to:
    Give away a trick at the right time – 14 percent
    Ability to void (strip) several side suits – 7 percent
    True, these are also key ingredients for the loser on loser play so depending on your perspective you might focus on the one item most important in your mind, or perhaps consider each of the tactics equally weighted. Along that line we also should be mindful to avoid allowing the dangerous opponent into the lead when holding tenace cards that can be finessed should the Right Hand Opponent get on lead.
    In summary, the loser on loser concept is basically an adjunct to our classic strip and endplay tactic with the addition of throwing away a known loser when we execute the throw-in play. This tactic saves a trick we would otherwise lose.
    Happy Bridge Trails,

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