E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
To leave in the lurch. To leave a person in a difficulty. In cribbage a person is left in the lurch when his adversary has run out his score of sixty-one holes before he himself has turned the corner (or pegged his thirty-first) hole. In cards it is a slam, that is, when one of the players wins the entire game before his adversary has scored a single point or won a trick.