How to Play Spades

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How to Play Spades

The card game of Spades is a great way to have fun with family and friends. Promising good-humoured competition and appropriate for a wide range of ages, Spades is the perfect way to spend an evening amongst loved ones. For those interested in options beyond Spades, this great resource for card games promises a wealth of information on different possibilities for the next family game night.

Before You Start

The game of Spades is classified as a card trick-taking game and it is suitable for ages 13 and beyond. Spades is generally played with four players. You will need a standard deck of 52 playing cards. The object of the game is to win at least the number of tricks per bid.


Spades outranks all other suited cards. Card rank is as follows: Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.


The initial dealer is selected by drawing the highest card. The order proceeding dealers is then established clockwise starting from the first dealer. Starting to the left of the dealer, the entire deck is dealt out one at a time. When the dealing is finished, each player picks up their pile and arranges their hand organized by suit.


It is up to each player to determine how many tricks (“rounds”) they will be able to attempt. The player to the dealer’s left starts the bidding. From there on, each player states how many tricks they expect to win. The minimum bid always must be one and there is only one round of bidding. Players cannot opt-out of making a bid, i.e., there is never an option of “passing”. Importantly, as is implied by the name of game, no suit is named in the bid. Always remember that spades are always trump.  

Playing the Game

In the game of Spades, points are gathered through each hand, and the winner must reach a pre-set number of points established by all players before the game begins. Normally the threshold for winning is 500 points, although for a shorter game, 200 points also works well.

The opening move is made by the player on the left of the dealer. If the next player cannot follow suit, they have the option to either play a trump card or discard.

The winner of each trick is determined by the person who plays the highest trump card, or if no trump cards were played, the person who played the highest card of the led suit. The winner of the trick leads the next round.

The game proceeds until all players have played all their cards. Each hand consists of 13 tricks, and Spades may only be led if they were played previously or the player leading has nothing but Spades left in their hand.

Keeping Score

If a team successfully wins the number of tricks bid or more, they receive ten times their bid, as well as an additional point for each trick won beyond the bid. For instance, if a team bids five tricks and wins six tricks, they will receive 51 points (5 x 10 + 1 = 51).

To illustrate, let’s say a player bids seven tricks and successfully achieves the bid by winning seven tricks. In this case, their score would be 70. Alternatively, if the bid was five tricks, but the player wins eight tricks, their score would be 53 points, comprised of 50 points for fulfilling the bid, and an additional three points for the three overtricks

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By |May 6th, 2023|News|Comments Off on How to Play Spades

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