|Game type||Trick-taking card game played by individuals or pairs|
|Number of players||Min 2 players, max 5 players|
|Deck||One standard 52 card deck|
|Wild cards||No, not in standard Spades|
|Trump||Yes (always spades)|
|Rank of cards||A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2|
Spades is a trick-taking card game where spade is always trump. The rules outlined on this page are commonly used goals, but variations of Spades that adhere to other rules to exist. Before you start playing Spades, online or offline, it is therefore a good idea to check which rules that are used in that specific setting.
Spade can be played by two to five players. It can be played as a game where everyone plays individually, or a game where a pair work together to bean another pair.
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Spades for four individual players
A standard 52 card deck is used. The object of the game is to win the least number of tricks.
The game is scored by hands. Before the game begins, the players must agree how many points that is required to win the game. Playing to 500 points is common, but if the players doesn’t have time for this a lower number can be elected, e.g. playing to 200 points.
Before the game beings, the players must also appoint one of them to be the writer. The writer will write down all the bids and all the scores, and must keep this information available to all players at all times.
In case of a tie, players participate in one more round of play to break the tie.
Playing Spades – a step by step guide
- Each player draws a card from the deck. The person with the highest card becomes the dealer. The drawn cards are shuffled back into the deck.
- The dealer deals the entire deck of card, face down, one card at the time, clock wise. The first card is dealt to the player seated left of the dealer. When the dealing is over, each player should have 13 cards.
- Each player picks up their own cards and look at them. (You will probably want to arrange your cards by suits, since this makes it easier to play Spades.)
- It is now time for the bidding part of this game. The player seated left of the dealer starts by telling how many tricks he expects to win. The process the continues clockwise around the table, until all four players have told how many tricks they think they expect to win.There is only one round of bidding. You must bid at least one, passing is not permitted.
- The player seated left of the dealer makes the opening lead. Each player then acts, clockwise around the table. Each player must follow suit, if possible. If you can not follow suit, you may play a trump or discard. The trick is won by the player who played the highest trump. If no trump was played, the trick is won by the player that played the highest card of the correct suit.
- The player who won the previous trick is the one who opens next.N.B! Spades can not open unless spades have already been played, or the player has nothing but spades in her hand.
- Playing continues until all the players are out of cards. This means that 13 tricks will have been won.
- It is now time for the scoring. If you make the contract (the number of tricks bid), you get 10 points for each trick bid, plus 1 point for each overtrick. An overtrick is any trick that you take in addition to the tricks required to fulfill your bid.
Example #1: You bid 5 and then managed to win exactly 5 tricks. Your score is now 5 x 10 points = 50 points.
Example #2: You bid 5 and then managed to win 8 tricks. You get 10 points each for your first five tricks, but only one point each for the remaining three tricks. (5 x 10 points) + (3 x 1 point) = 53 points.
Example #3: You bid 5 but only manages to win 4 tricks. This is called breaking contract. You now get 0 points.
Spades for two individual players
When Spades is played by two players, the same rules and procedures as above are followed, with the necessary accommodations. For instance, each trick will be two cards instead of four.
The dealing procedure is however completely different from Spades for four individual players.
- The players draw for high card.
- The deck is placed in the middle of the table.
- The player who drew the highest card starts by picking the top card and looking at it (without showing it to the other player). The player can now either keep the card or discard it.
- KEEPING THE INITIAL CARD: If he keeps the initial card, his next action will be to pick up the new top card from the deck, look at it, and discard that card face down.
- DISCARDING THE INITIAL CARD: If he discards the initial card, he discards it face down and picks the new top card from the deck. He must keep that card.
- The second player now picks up the top card from the deck and looks at it, and can either keep or discard it. He will follow the same rules as stated above.
- The players take turns looking at and discarding cards until they have 13 cards each and 26 cards have been discarded.
Spades for three individual players
When Spades is played by three individual players, the same rules and procedures as above are followed, with the necessary accommodations.
There is one important special rule:
- Before the game starts, the deuce of clubs is removed from the deck. This means that there is only 51 cards left: 17 cards for each player. Thus, there are 17 three-card tricks to be made.
Spades for five individual players
When Spades is played by five individual players, the same rules and procedures as above are followed, with the necessary accommodations.
There is one important special rule:
- Before the game starts, the deuce of clubs and the deuce of diamonds are removed from the deck. This means that there is only 50 cards left: 10 cards for each player. Thus, there are 10 five-card tricks to be made.
Spades for two pairs
When Spades is played by two pairs, competing against each other, the partners sit across from each other to make is difficult for them to see each others cards.
The same procedures as above (Spades for four individuals) are followed, with a few notable exceptions.
- The minimum bid is two for each player.
- The two partner’s bids are added together to form a joint contract (bid). Example: Sarah and Michael is a pair. Sarah bids four tricks and Michael bids five tricks. The pair bid is now 4 + 5 = 9 tricks. When it comes to scoring, it doesn’t matter how the pair wins nine tricks or more. If Sarah wins six tricks and Michael wins three tricks, they have still fulfilled their contract.
- The person who wins a trick leads next. He can not let his partner lead instead.