The Losing Trick Count - Facts sheet

Losing tricks are counted for the first 3 cards in each suit.
Therefore you can have at the most 4 x 3 = 12 losers in your hand and 2 x 12 = 24 losers in the combined hands. (the 13th card is excluded from the count)

The actual number of losers in both hands is subtracted from 24 (the maximum number of losers possible). This shows the number of tricks you may make :

24 losers - 16 losers =   8 winners   >   Part score likely
24 losers - 14 losers = 10 winners   >   Game is likely
24 losers - 12 losers = 12 winners   >   Small Slam is likely
Counting losers in your hand :
The Losing Trick Count assesses your hand both in terms of Strength and Shape.
 More High Card Points   >   less losers More unbalanced shape   >   less losers
Bids can therefore usually be made based on loser count alone.
But it is best to look at both the High Card Points and losers in your hand (do not count Shortage pts.)

 ♠ K 7 4 ♥ Q J 6 ♦ J 10 3 ♣ K 9 6 2 9 losers ♠ 7 4 ♥ K 9 7 5 2 ♦ A 8 3 ♣ Q J 6 8 losers ♠ A Q 7 4 ♥ 9 5 ♦ Q J 8 3 ♣ K 8 2 7 losers ♠ K Q 4 ♥ A Q 5 ♦ J 10 8 3 ♣ K Q 2 6 losers ♠ 9 4 ♥ K Q 9 7 6 5 ♦ A 10 8 3 2 ♣ - 5 losers

For balanced hands the assumed loser equivalents of High Card Points are shown below.
Use them to assess your own as well as Partner's hand.   (There are a number of unbalanced hand shapes with 5-8 Losers only. They are expressed using special conventional Opening bids.)

For Balanced hands
High Card Points Likely Losers
6-10 HCP 8-9 Losers
11-12 HCP 8 Losers
13-15 HCP 7 Losers
16-18 HCP 6 Losers
19-21 HCP 5 Losers
22+ HCP 4 Losers or less
Common borderline cases :
With 13+ points regardless of losers : always make an Opening bid
With 11 or 12 points and 7 losers : make an Opening bid
With 11 or 12 points and 8+ losers : do not open the bidding

With 11+ points regardless of losers : you may respond with a new suit at the 2- level
With 10 points and 8 losers : you may respond with a new suit at the 2-level
With 10 points and 9+ losers : do not respond with a new suit at the 2-level