"Leading Trump on Defense"

Situation One:
You are sitting just left of the dealer and he turns up the queen of Spades.

You look at your hand and realize that you must pass.
Basic Euchre Strategy
Harvey "the Rabbit"
Although you have the Right Bower, there is no help in any other suits.

The dealer picks up the queen of spades.

It's your lead. Which card would you play?

In this situation, you would make a mistake by leading the Right Bower.
Here's why:
1. The dealer picked up the queen of spades, and he likely has at least one more trump than you. If you lead the Right, all you will take from him is his lowest trump.
2. Your partner might have some trump that might make a euchre possible. Your trump lead will strip him of one of these valuble cards.
3. You don't have any aces to make good. Throwing trump isn't a good idea unless you have side aces that you can lead with when the opponents are dry. This means that out of the five cards in your hand, you can definitely rule out one of them for leading (JS).

Situation Two:
Take the same scenario, only change the nine of clubs into the nine of spades and trade the
Right Bower for the Left Bower. Once again, you would likely pass.

What do you lead if the dealer picks up the queen of spades?
This would would be a terrible time to lead trump. Your hand contains a guarded Left Bower, which is a trick you can count on, that is, as long as both of your trump cards can be played at the correct time.
Leading either trump will allow the dealer to select which card he would like to play on yours, and if you let him take either of your trump, he will likely take them both.
The object with this hand would be to lead an off-suit to your partner and hope for him to pull in two tricks for euchre. You will try to play your low trump when the Right Bower is tabled to make your Left Bower unstoppable.

Situation Three - An example of when it might be better to lead trump:
You are sitting just left of the dealer and he turns up the queen of Spades.

You look at your hand and decide to pass.
This time, your left-hand opponent orders his partner to pick up the Queen of Spades.
A trump lead in this scenario might be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Here's why:
1. You have two small trump with commanding side suits plus a void. You have a reasonable shot of euchre even though you don't have any high trump.
2. The player to your left may have ordered his partner up with only two high trump in his hand (and maybe a club ace?). By leading a low trump, the maker may be forced to play a bower, and in the process, the dealer will have to play the queen of spades he just picked up. This may even strip the dealer of trump entirely.
3. If the maker takes the lead and is unsure of where the boss trump is, he'll likely lead a non-trump suit, in which case, you've got it covered.
In Summation:
For the most part, leading trump when the opponents are the makers is a bad strategy.
In many cases, the defensive trump lead will only hurt your partner's chances of helping you mount a euchre, while at the same time, it will help your opponents to establish their trump. There are times however, when leading trump on defense can be an excellent ploy.
3. The dealer (to your right) has picked up the right bower without being ordered ... and you hold left - ace (or even better, left - ace - x) and at least two outside aces (preferably both of the opposite color). This lead is an exception to the theory that you shouldn't lead trump on defense when the maker is to your right. Although the dealer has picked up the right, he can't have much length in trump, considering yours. Your purpose is to strip his partner and prevent his partner from taking a cheap shot at one of your aces. Note: you have to lead high enough to force out the dealer's right bower.
2. You hold a singleton trump (or two low trump) with (at least) two side aces - This may be your only chance of euchre if the opponents ordered trump with a thin holding. The scenario seems to have a much better chance when the opponents ordered "reverse next" (see The K-9 Kicker) where it is likely that the maker is multi-suited with a small trump holding.
1. The player to your left orders the ace or king - The theory is that the maker does not know where the left bower is, therefore your trump lead will force out his right and possibly also take out his partner's ace (or king) in the process, thus promoting your remaining trump to boss.
Scenarios that call for a defensive trump lead:
Special thanks to Natty Bumppo
vol. 2
The opening lead in a euchre hand will often affect the way the rest of the cards will fall. Although the correct lead is much easier to determine in hindsight, there are some general principles that will lead a player down the correct path more often in the long run than a random guess alone will.
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Las Vegas Euchreplayers Association
Special thanks to Natty Bumppo