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How to Corral the King in Bridge

In bridge, the more honor cards you have in a suit, the better your chances of taking all the tricks. Sometimes you strike gold and have a suit with four of the top honors, including the ace, but you’re missing the king. It's time to corral him in.

To corral the king, start the suit by leading an honor card from the side opposite the ace. Then hopefully watch your left-hand opponent squirm.

This image gives you a chance to make West very uneasy. In this suit, you’re missing the ♠K.


  1. Lead the ♠Q.

  2. If West doesn’t play the ♠K when you lead the ♠Q, play low from the dummy and take the trick.

  3. Next, play the ♠J (again, the high card from the short side).

    West is caught in the same pickle. Say that West plays the ♠K.

  4. You zap that king with the dummy’s ♠A.

    Alternatively, if West plays low, the ♠J takes the trick. West can kiss that ♠K so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good-bye.

You can corral a missing king if you have the rest of the honor cards. Always start the suit by leading from the side opposite the ace. Hopefully, you have an honor card to lead. If not, and the dummy has them all, lead a low card, intending to take a finesse. This story will have a happy ending if the second hand has the king.

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