This sums up the premise of 1v3 lowman game. I took this from http://mark.random-article.com/hearts/advanced.html
Hearts is dazzlingly fun when the three losers attempt to gang up on the guy in the lead. Hit-men coalitions of three players are not organized at the beginning of a game; They don't share secret handshakes or decoder rings. Rather, such coalitions are formed an un-formed on an ad hoc basis as scores rise and different players take turns being the winner. The formation of a three-man coalition is usually an unspoken agreement made by the three current losers, although it isn't unheard of for one of the losers (usually the guy who's trailing by the most points) to make an announcement in the form of "We've got to get Brian, guys."
Sometimes you don't get the cooperation of all three players in ganging up on the guy in the lead. If the second-in-place guy is only behind the winner by half a dozen points, he might be more content to just sit back and "draft" behind the winner, letting him take all the heat from the other losers. Right up until the last stages of the game, of course, at which point he'll pull a dramatic move where he drops the Queen on the current winner and move into first place. Then when it's too late, he'll drop points on one of the other losers, cause them to bust, and win the game himself.
If three against one odds doesn't sound very fair to you, it's probably because you're the guy in the lead.
In a classic Lowman game there are three principles: Teamwork, Trust and Protection.
The team is 3 against 1. (Three non-low players against Lowman)
Yes the team object is to work together to hit the Lowman.
Lowman's job is to stay low. The team strives in all ways possible to hit low.
If played right team players will always change, but the team object will not; keeping in mind that the Object of the whole game is still to win, while giving everyone a chance at that winning spot.
This teamwork inspires the second principle: Trust (I believe the most important)
Trust starts at the beginning of the second hand, and it is built throughout the rest of the game, when cards are passed to get low and card play should be to get low. Trust means the queen is saved to hit low; NOT the person trying to set up low (that would be a violation of Trust). It means not leading spades into low so they get rid of trouble cards such as ace or king of spades. It means not leading low's void, unless it’s absolutely necessary to change the lead to another player that can lead card low has in his hand. And it means the person on low's right or across taking the lead and searching for a way to set up low. This can be done because either of those players can trust the queen holder to not drop on them when they are doing this.
If you follow this train of thought you will realize that the queen holder is in one of two
positions either directly to the left of Lowman or across from Lowman. Thus passing comes into play. Pass the queen and hopefully backers if possible to either of those positions, while those two players pass set up cards (Takie aka Jan covers this better later). Without trust there is no Lowman game and people will play defensively to only protect their own scores and positions in relation to Lowman, instead of playing offence to get low.
The last principle: Protection
Mostly it's a protection to keep high from going out and it is everyone's job including Lowman’s if they take the queen or enough points where they will not be low after the hand is over. However, there are ways to keep a player from being so dangerously high during the game, dropping hearts on plays that you know high is not going to take, and yes that means sometimes you need to take points when you are not low. Playing high hearts if you know high is in trouble in hearts so he can get rid of trouble cards. Playing high’s void is a good way to protect.
Passes are extremely important in a lowman game.
The first hand sets the stage for who will be lowman.
Suppose you are sitting infront of low for the next tips
If you have been dealt the queen of spades, this card needs to be passed to the right hopefully with a backer, so that you can lead through low in another suit.
If lowman passes you a singleton queen, lead a high card in another suit, signalling to the other 2 players that you have the queen.
If you have the queen of spades, pass it across with one or two backers, so that you can lead through low in another suit. Where you sit, in front of low, is the hardest position to nail lowman if you keep the queen of spades.
Poor play is shown if the person across from me passes me a singleton queen of spades of Ace/King of spades. This pass would make it virtually impossible to nail lowman.
One needs to check points before passing. This is one of the few times (apart from when you are dealt a singleton queen that a singleton queen (if you have the queen) is a good pass depending on your cards and the pass from your right.
THE RIGHT PLAYER SHOULD KEEP THE ACE, KING AND QUEEN OF SPADES if he has them, to allow me to lead through low to him.
The three players going for low must have trust in each others play after the pass. They should watch signals as to where the queen is.
A few other tips.
If one player on the table has a very high score compared to the other 3, sometimes, depending on how close the other 3 are, it is wise to pass him a moon to level out the game and keep yourself in the running to win.
Close to the end of the game, if 2 or three players are close in points and anyone of them could win………all these tips are irrelevant, as you PLAY to win at this point.
I have only heard of Pnp in Hardwood. Although it is not a pass most like to make, it is necessary sometimes in a lowman game if given to low.
This is a very short and concise example of some plays, but the essence of these examples might enlighten some as to the importance of the pass.
The deal can often times be frustrating when you can’t set up lowman with the cards dealt to you. This should be evident to the players at the table, and one goes on to the next hand with hope and a few bucks to the dealer.
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