Love trick taking card games? Learn how to play spades at Fun card game for family night during the holidays. Game on!

How to Play Spades

A card game that is similar to Hearts is its counterpart, Spades. Spades is a very easy game to play, based on prediction and skill. Even though it might be a bit tricky to play in the beginning, don’t give up just yet! Learning how to play Spades can provide hours of fun for families or friends.

According to Wikipedia, the Spades game originated in the United States, but only became popular in the 1940s after World War II. Soldiers played it as a form of simplified poker, and bought it back to the US where it became popular in colleges. Today we still play the game with a few rules that are different to 70 years ago.

If you haven’t played Spades yet, we’ve got you covered! Just follow these simple Spades rules, and you’ll be a master before the end of the holidays!

Spades Requirements

You will need some friends to play with as this is usually a four-player game (partnership) as well as a standard deck of 52-cards.

Spades Playing Time

~90 minutes on average

How to Play Spades

  1. Firstly, you will need to decide the score up to which you’re going to play. Usually it is 500 points, but some people only play up to 100 or another multiple of 100.
  2. Shuffle and deal the cards so that each player has an equal amount of cards and that all the cards are dealt out. Players may look at their cards.
  3. Each player will then have to bid on how many tricks they will play. When you place your bid you’ll have to win at least that number – if you bid 2, you have to win 2 or more. Spades is a partnership game which means that your partner’s bid will be added to yours. Between the two of you, you’ll have reach at least that number.
  4. You can decide on bidding a nil. This means that you don’t expect to win any tricks with your hand. This will give you 100 points if correctly predicted. A blind nil bid can also be made, which means that you decide you won’t win any tricks without looking at your hand. This will give you 200 points if correctly predicted.
  5. The player who goes first puts down a card that is not a spade, and the rest of the players follow suit, going in a clockwise direction. You may put any card down if you don’t have a matching suit.
  6. A trick is won by the player who played the highest face-value. Face-values go from Ace which is the highest, then King, Queen, Jack, and so on to 2 which is the lowest.
  7. If there are different suits the lowest to highest suits are as follows, which will determine the win: Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades.
  8. After all the tricks are played (usually 13) you must then add up how many tricks you’ve won. Divide your total cards by 4 as each trick is 4 cards. This will give you your winning tricks.
  9. Compare your final trick total to what you predicted in the beginning. If it is the same or more than what you predicted, multiply the number of contracts by 10 (if you bid 4 tricks and won 4, you will have 40 points).
  10. If you have less than what you bid, multiply your tricks bid by 10 but turn it into a negative number (you bid 4 tricks but won 3, so you’ll have -40 points).
  11. If you have won extra tricks, give yourself an extra point for every extra trick won. Be careful not to win too many tricks as 10 sandbag points will penalize you with 100 points! It’s important to be very accurate here.
  12. Start the game again and play up to the number agreed on.

Spades Video Tutorial