What is an Entry?
An entry consists of two cards that will allow you to cross from one hand to the other in order to take winners. In some hands, declarer has all the entries necessary to make the contract. At other times, declarer must create them. If you're working on a suit to develop tricks there, keep an entry next to that suit as long as possible.
An entry is usually a high card, but can be any card as low as a three, as long as there is a lower-ranking card in the other hand. The card to help you reach the hand you need to be in is usually a low card, but can be any card as high as a king, as long as there is the higher-ranking entry, the ace, in the opposite hand.
If for whatever reason you needed to reach dummy here, you have only one way to do it. Dummy holds: ♥104
The entry card is the ♥10, and the card to use to cross over with is the ♥6
If you had this: Dummy: ♥KQJ
You can't count three winners, because there is no entry in this suit to the dummy. The suit is "blocked" by the way it was dealt.
The Importance of Entries
Winners may only be counted if you can reach them. Sometimes you’ll need to create an entry to a particular hand, and at other times you need to preserve an entry to one of the hands. Entry considerations are especially critical in no trump contracts when the trick source is the weak hand. Declarer must make sure that at least one entry remains in the weak hand until the long suit is ready to run.
If you had to create an entry to the dummy here: ♠KQ6
and you held this in your hand: ♠742, you would play towards the ♠KQ6, losing to the ♠A, and then you have an entry later with the ♠Q.
Consider the Order of Play
The most important part of your plan as declarer is after you've decided how to develop the extra tricks you need for your contract, work out the order in which you'll play your cards, and which hand to take winners in and when. If you need to take finesses, you need entries to lead up towards the cards you're working on. If you need to establish a side suit by ruffing it, you will need entries to reach the suit each time you need to trump it.
This is where entries need to be decided.
Looking for more information? These books will help you learn the basic skills required to play bridge.
Test your knowledge
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