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Rules of Spades: How to Win Consistently

Spades is a highly competitive game that requires precision in play, yet allows for spectacular improvisation. Spades is not an old game as far as popular card games go. The history of spades only goes back to the United States of the 1930s. Invented in a college in Ohio, it spread during the war years from soldiers wanting a fast and competitive game. Later, Spades found exponential growth on the internet, where it has become one of the most popular team playing games on the web.

Bidding a Good Hand
How Would You Bid This Hand?

The rules of Spades are simple. Nevertheless, nuances make for exciting and variable play. The basic idea is that spades are always trump. All the cards are dealt out. Every player must follow suit, when possible. Players play on teams and try to take tricks.

Simple and fun rules, yes, but the bidding in spades and the consequences of making or not making the bid provide added scope for spectacular play. Each player bids the number of tricks he or she believes can be taken by the dealt hand. If no tricks are possible then the player bids "nil". Points are tallied after the hand is played. Every trick taken and bid is ten points. Every trick taken and not bid is one point. Failure to make a bid is simply minus 10 times the bid. A player bidding nil who succeeds in not taking any tricks receives 100 points (failure is minus 100). A penalty for taking too many overtricks also influences play.

Spades has elements of luck, but it is very much a game of skill and panache. Although beginners can play the game with proficient players, they perform better when educated on the ins and outs of the game. Many strategies may be employed in the game of Spades, including maximizing or minimizing trick taking, making desperation plays, and finessing.

Like most popular games, Spades has many variations which allow players to tailor the game to suit their own tastes.

To get the most from this website, read through from beginning to end using the "next page" links at the bottom of each page. To quickly drill down to a specific topic simply click on a link in the text above or use the navigation bar near the top of each page. Be sure to take note of our Bidding Quiz to help the new player develop an understanding of accurate bidding. On most pages of this site a spade hand will be presented. Examine the hand then click on the link to see how we would have bid it in an actual game.

Next Page: History of Spades

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