How to Finesse when a Bridge Opponent Shows Out

7 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Finessing in Bridge

Finessing, when you take tricks with lower honor cards, is a risky business in bridge. However, you can take some of the risk out of finessing by watching which cards your opponents play. When an opponent shows out (discards a card from another suit because she has no cards left in the suit that you’re playing) when you lead a suit, you can be sure that your other opponent has all the missing cards in that suit, including any vital honor cards that you may be missing.

This image shows a suit where you can take a surefire finesse after your opponent shows out.

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Here’s how you’d play this hand:

  1. You begin by playing the ♠AK, the high honors from the short side (the side with fewer cards).

    On the second lead of spades, East, who has no more spades, makes a discard (shows out). “Aha!” you say to yourself. If East has no more spades, West must have all the missing spades, including the ♠J.

  2. You lead the ♠4, and West plays a low spade (in this case, pretty much any card below the ♠J).

    You can rest 100-percent assured that you can play the ♠10 from the dummy and take the trick.

  3. Take a trick with the ♠10, and then take a fourth trick with the dummy’s ♠Q.

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The Essentials of Finessing in Bridge

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