Losing Trick Count

Blue Club does not specify use of the Losing Trick Count, but it is the best way to quickly estimate the trick taking power of a hand, assuming an 8 card fit has been found.

Losers are counted in each suit, and totalled for the hand.

In trumps, and in suits of 3 or more
Count one loser for each of the Ace, King and Queen that you are missing.
Count one loser for each of the Ace and King you are missing.
Count a loser if it isn't the Ace.

The total is the number of losers in your hand, the fewer the better.

It's common to make the following adjustments:

Add 1 loser
No Aces
Add 0.5 losers
Add 0.5 losers
Subtract 0.5 losers
9 card fit
Subtract 0.5 losers

A 1-level suit opening requires at most 7 losers; 1C openings generally have 5 or less.

The losers in both hands are totalled, and the result subtracted from 18; this gives the level to which you can confidently raise.

For example if responder has 8 losers and 4 card support for a 1-level opening, he can raise to the 3 level; if opener has 6 losers rather than the expected 7, he can continue toward game.

Considering its simplicity, the Losing Trick Count is remarkably reliable up to the level of 4 or perhaps 5; beyond that posession of first and second round controls, and considerations of shape, become more important.