With our Spades game, you can:
Spades involves 4 players in teams of two. Team members sit across from each other. The deck is a standard 52 card deck, with the Ace ranked the highest and 2 the lowest.
The user's player starts first. Cards are dealt to the user first and then they are dealt around the table. All cards are dealt, meaning each player ends up with a hand of 13 cards.
At this point, each player bids the number of tricks they think they can win. The goal is for each team to win enough tricks to meet or exceed its combined total of bids. Aka, if the two players on a team bid 2 and 3 respectively, they should win a combined total of at least 5 tricks.
If a player bids zero tricks, this is known as a Nil bid. A nil bid means the player does not intend to win any tricks. If they succeed in winning zero tricks, their team will get 100 points added to their score. If they do not succeed, 100 points will be deducted.
The goal of the game is to get to 500 points. Points are added after each round until one team hits 500. Each round consists of 13 tricks. There is no limit to the number of rounds that can be played to get to the 500 point goal.
The first trick of a game starts with the human player. Subsequent tricks of that round start with the winner of the previous trick. After the round completes, the next trick is started by the player to the left of the player who played first in the last round.
Once the starting player plays their card, the play goes clockwise until every player has played a card. Players must play a card belonging to the same suit as the card that led. If they do not have this suit, they can play any suit. If they play a spade, then spades are considered broken.
The trick is won by the highest card of the suit that was initially played, unless a spade is played. If a spade is played, then the highest spade of the trick wins.
A spade cannot lead unless:
Learn more with our guide on how to play Spades.
There are four different suits in a deck of 52 cards. The spade is one of the four suits. The number of spade cards is thirteen because there are four suits, each with an ace, king, queen, jack, and ten number cards.
You can take alternate turns, and play the same suit as was previously played (if possible). The highest-ranked card of the suit that was previously played wins the trick unless a spade is played. In that case, the highest-ranked spade will win.
The Ace of Spades, or the Death Card, is the highest valued card in the deck of playing cards. The value of the ace varies from game to game.
When one team wins all 13 of the 13 possible books, the game is called a “Boston”. In Spades, if you win 13 tricks, it's considered an automatic win.
To play with three people, deal out 51 cards and keep one card unopened in the “kitty”. Then the player holding the 2 of clubs may exchange it for the lone card in the kitty. There should then be 17 tricks to be bid.
There are a few ways to play spades with 4 people. One is to use a standard 52 card deck (with the Aces removed). Start by dealing out 13 cards to each player. The player to the left of the dealer should then bid first.
The Spades suit has thirteen cards: the Ace, 2 through 10, and Jack, Queen, and King of Spades.
To bid in spades, each player decides in advance how many tricks he or she will attempt to win. The player to the dealer's left starts the bidding, and each, in turn, states how many tricks he or she will win. The minimum bid is one trick, and spades are always trump.
A trick, in Spades, is a single unit of play where every player plays one card.
Some variants of the game use the jokers as two additional trump cards alongside the spades.
In this case, the gameplay changes very little. However, the big joker (often in full color) outranks the little joker (usually black and white), and both outrank the ace of spades.
Spades is a game that mixes mind games and strategy and tests your ability to read the state of play. And with two main phases – the betting and gameplay phases – understanding how to best navigate both will level up your game.
That's why we've included some handy tips to increase your chances of winning and growing your confidence as a player.
Tips for betting
Bet on your aces and kings to win tricks – Because these are the highest value cards, you are at minimal risk of losing the trick, as no cards can beat them in value – unless they’re trumped by a spade.
However, you shouldn’t bet on kings if that’s the only card of a suit you have. If a player leads with a spade, you’ll have no choice but to follow suit. Betting on kings, therefore, leaves you vulnerable as the trick could be stolen by an ace, spade, or even a joker depending on the variation of Spades being played.
Bid on queens when you have between two and four cards of the same suit – Queens are high-ranking cards, but if you’re forced to play them at the wrong times, they can easily be beaten by kings, aces, and trump cards.
Having two to four cards of the same suit as your queens gives you a buffer – letting you wait it out for the kings and aces to be played, so you can swoop in and claim victory with your queen.
Bet on any spade ranked 10 or higher – Spades are trump cards, meaning that playing any spade valued 10 or higher is likely to win you the trick.
And if you’re feeling particularly confident that you might be able to trump at the right time, betting on lower trumps, like the seven or nine of spades, can have the same effect if you manage to void suits early in the game.
Keep track of what’s been played – At the start of each game, evaluate which cards you think will need to be played before your strategy can begin to take hold. Then, keep an eye on which cards have been played throughout the game.
When you know what’s been played and which cards in your hand are safe to play to win or lose tricks, you're in a better position to claim only the amount of tricks you’ve bid on.
Save the ace of spades until the end – The ace of spades is a guaranteed trick winner, so it should be saved until the end of the game when you need it most.
If you wait until later in the game, you can not only use it to win yourself a trick, but you can also use it to block opponents from getting the tricks they need to meet their target bid.
Aim to win tricks early using the cards you bet on – Contrary to how you should use the ace of spades, you should aim to meet your target bet as quickly as possible using your other cards.
If some of your supposed winners don’t come through, you have more time to try and win a trick using one of your weaker cards.
Evaluate your strategy based on other players' bids – Your opponents’ bets tell you a lot about the strength of their hands.
Low bets suggest that their hand may be weak, so playing more aggressively will often yield a strong result. Equally, higher bets indicate a strong hand, so be wary of the tricks you play and prioritize saving your trump cards.
Bag – When a player hits the number of tricks they bid on, every trick they win after that figure is known as a bag. Say if someone bets on winning four tricks and concludes the round on six, they not only hit the four targets for the bid but got two additional bags on top of the bid. Bags give a pair one point – however, accumulate 10 of these, and your team gets 100 points deducted.
Bid – A bid is a pair's prediction of how many tricks they’ll win in a round based on the strength of their hands. Points are won and lost depending on how close they get to their bid. Maximum points are awarded only to pairs that hit their target bid. Players that finish over or under their bid face different penalties depending on their final score.
Boston – When a player wins all 13 available tricks in a round.
Trick – When every player has laid a card down, and a winner is determined, the winner collects the cards – this pile of collected cards is known as a trick. In a traditional four-player, two-team game of Spades, each play is 4 cards, with the highest card in each suit winning – provided it isn't trumped by a Spade.
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