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How To Play Spades

December 28th, 2012 Games

If you enjoy card games like Hearts, then Spades could be right up your alley! Just like Hearts, it calls for four players and a single deck. However, this game asks that players pair off into two teams and have partners sitting across from each other. The basic format of a Spades game goes like this: players are dealt their cards and each team collectively decides how many tricks they believe they can win. After the hand is played out, scores are tallied. Here's a typical round of Spades broken down into more detail.

Players each draw from the deck to determine who will deal, based on the highest card. After the entire deck is dealt out, each team examines their hands and decides how many tricks they think they will win in this particular hand (this is also known as a contract). Every player must bid at least one trick.

As far as the cards go, aces are high and spades are always the trump card. Hands are played out very similarly to Hearts - one player leads off with a given suit, which must be followed by all others. If a particular player does not have a card in that suit, he or she can play another one. If a spade is played, the owner of the card automatically wins the hand, unless an opposing teammate plays a higher one.

An individual player does not have to win a hand for it to count toward his bid - hands are counted between both teammates.

After the round has been played, if you and your teammate made your contract, multiply the number of tricks bid by 10 to find out your score. So, if you bid five tricks and made your contract, you would earn 50 points. Every trick won beyond your contract is good for one additional point (known as a sandbag).

However, note that sandbags can work against you. Keep a running tally of how many each team earns - if and when that number reaches 10, that team automatically loses 100 points from its score.

A game of Spades is usually played to 500 points, though any multiple of 100 works just as well.