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How to solve a suit combination

Given enough time, even without knowing the correct play with a given suit, one can work it out by just mapping out the possible layouts and figuring out which play wins against the most holdings.

As an example I will work out the following suit: KT986    J754 for 1 loser.

The question with this suit is , is it better to finesse for the queen or play up to the king?

Here are the possible layouts of the AQ32...

 

AQ32 VOID
AQ3 2
AQ2 3
A32 Q
Q32 A
A2 Q3
A3 Q2
Q2 A3
Q3 A2
AQ 32
32 AQ
A Q32
Q A32
3 AQ2
2 AQ3
VOID AQ32

 

 

Here I have written out all 16 possibilities of layouts of the 4 cards.    I've crossed out the bottom 7 because in all of those cases it is pre-determined how many tricks we will take in the suit.   So we are left with 9 remaining holdings.

Of the 9 remaining Holdings it is correct to finesse for the queen on six of the nine (highlighted)  and is only correct to play low to the king on the remaining three, making it twice as worthwhile to finesse.

 

AQ32 VOID
AQ3 2
AQ2 3
A32 Q
Q32 A
A2 Q3
A3 Q2
Q2 A3
Q3 A2

The fewer cards your opponents have the quicker you will be able to compute the operation.

Does anyone have any favorite suit combinations?   Any stories of hard earned lessons of how to play a suit?

 

 

 

 

 

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