One of the most popular card games, Spades, is played by four players in partnerships, using a 52-card deck. Cards rank from Ace (highest) to Two (lowest). Spades is a trick taking game. “Trick taking” means that all players play one card to the table, and whoever plays the best card wins the trick. The objective of a game of Spades is to score 500 points.
Here at CardGames.CLUB you form a team with a solid player, simply named “Partner”. She will adapt to your game smoothly and will keep you out of trouble whenever that is required. Your opponents are named “Opponents”, a tricky lot, that will not allow you to lose your concentration for a sec.
The first dealer is appointed randomly, thereafter the dealer token moves clockwise around the table. All 52 cards in the deck are dealt one by one, leaving all players with 13 cards.
Before play begins, there is a bidding round, in which each player has to make a bid, in other words: to guess the number of tricks she will win. The player at the dealer’s left makes the first bid after which the others follow clockwise. The bids of the partners are added together, this is their ‘contract’.
A player who thinks she can avoid winning any trick, can bid Nil. If she accomplishes this, she will be rewarded with 100 bonus points. If she fails, though, there will be 100 penalty points.
The player at the dealer’s left leads. She can play any card, except a spade. The suit of her card has to be followed by the other players. When a player is unable to follow suit, she can play any card she wishes, including spades.
The winner of the trick is the one that plays the highest card of the opening suit, unless one or more spades are played. Spades trump all other cards, except spades. The Ace of Hearts is beaten by the Two of Spades.
The first time a spade is played, “Spades is Broken”, which means that from here on, players can also lead with a spade.
The winner of a trick leads the next one.
When a team manages to make their contract (winning at least the number of bids they jointly made), they score 10 points per bid and 1 point for any additional trick they won. In the unfortunate case they don’t make their contract, 10 points per bid are deducted from their total score. For a successful Nil bid, 100 points are added, for a failed one, 100 points are deducted.
There is a penalty for consistent underbidding. Winning more tricks than your bid is known as “sandbagging”. One overtrick is a “bag”. When a team reaches a total of 10 bags, 100 points are deducted from their score.
Winners are the team that is first to reach 500 points, or has the highest score when both teams reach 500 points at the same round.
1) Bid all your Aces and Kings.
2) Bid Queens for which you have 2 or 3 other cards of the same suit.
3) Bid all your spades higher than 10 to win tricks.
4) Use the Nil bid whenever you can, especially when you are behind.
1) Keep track of the cards played, especially Aces and Kings and spades.
2) Lead with low spades when you have 5 or more.
3) Play low value cards in seat 2 (behind the dealer).
4) Save the Ace of Spades for late in the round.
5) Be aware of the point difference between your team and the opponents.
6) Help your opponents to win more tricks than they bid, when they are close to 10 bags.