Lesson 6: Discarding Losers

To discard a loser (suit contracts only), look for a side suit that has a different number of cards between your hand and partner’s. You also need extra winners in the suit (e.g. ♠AK54 in one hand, and ♠Q3 in partner’s) to take care of losers in another suit.
If a card is a winner and you have none of that suit in partner’s hand, don’t trump it. Instead, discard a loser in the other hand.

To Draw or Not to Draw
Should you draw trumps before discarding your losers? In general, you want to draw the opponents’ trumps as soon as possible. But if your losers are fast (i.e. Aces and Kings) and you have to lose the lead when drawing trumps, don't draw them until you have disposed of extra losers. But, if you are able to draw trumps without giving up the lead, do so immediately.

Combining Play Techniques
We’ve looked at several techniques for developing extra tricks or eliminating losers: promotion, length, finesse, trumping or discarding losers . Within each suit, it is sometimes possible to combine two or more techniques. At other times, you must choose the techniques available.
Play Techniques:
Promotion (No Trumps and Suits)
Length (No Trumps and Suits)
Finesse (No Trumps and Suits)
Trumping Losers (Suits only)
Discarding Losers (Suits only)

When you’ve made your plan (which may need to be changed as you discover more about the hand), also remember to check for entries to allow you to reach the suit you’ve been working on. That's another topic for discussion!