Single or multi-player
spades game from Snack Wells.
How to Play
Click on “Shuffle”
to begin the dealing of the cards.
Spades for Four Players
The four players are in fixed partnerships, with partners sitting opposite
each other. Deal and play are clockwise.
Rank of Cards
A standard pack of 52 cards is used. The cards, in each suit, rank from
highest to lowest: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
The first dealer is chosen at random, and the turn to deal rotates clockwise.
The cards are shuffled and then dealt singly, in clockwise order beginning
with the player on dealer’s left, until all 52 cards have been dealt and
everyone has 13.
Each partnership must make a bid, which is the number of tricks they expect
to take. In is important to realize that in Spades both sides’ bids stand
(it is not like other bidding games in which only the higher bid counts).
First the non-dealer’s side agrees on a bid. Each partner on that side
communicates the amount of tricks they expect to take, based on their
cards. A certain amount of unspecified bantering about “halves” and “maybes”
is permitted, but not specific information about cards held. For example
you are allowed to say “I know I can take 4 tricks, I might be able to
take 6”; you are not allowed to say “I have a couple of high hearts and
a singleton in clubs”. The agreed upon bid is then written down. The other
side then agrees on a bid in the same manner.
Nil is a declaration that that the player will not win any tricks
during the play. Any single player may bid nil. The nil bidder’s partner
will also bid the number of tricks to be taken by the partnership.
Blind nil may only be bid by a player whose side is losing by at
least 100 points. It is a nil bid declared before a player looks at his
cards. The bidder may exchange two cards with partner – the bidder discards
two cards face down; partner picks them up and gives back two cards face-down
The Play of the Hand
The player to dealer’s left leads any card except a spade to the first
trick. Each player, in turn, clockwise, must follow suit if able; if unable
to follow suit, the player may play any card. A trick containing a spade
is won by the highest spade played; if no spade is played, the trick is
won by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of each trick leads
to the next. Spades may not be led until either some player has played
a spade (on the lead of another suit, of course), or the leader has nothing
but spades left in hand. Playing the first spade is known as “breaking”
A side that takes at least as many tricks as its bid calls for receives
a score equal to 10 times its bid. Additional tricks (overtricks) are
worth an extra one point each.
A side which (over several deals) accumulates ten or more overtricks has
100 points deducted from its score. Any overtricks beyond ten are carried
over to the next cycle of ten overtricks – that is if they reached twenty
overtricks they would lose another 100 points and so on. (Note: it is
not necessary to keep track of overtricks separately as the cumulative
number of overtricks taken appears as the final digit of the team’s score,
if positive). If a side does not make its bid, they lose 10 points for
each trick they bid.
If a bid of nil is successful, the nil bidder’s side receives 50 points.
This is in addition to the score won (or lost) by the partner of the nil
bidder for tricks made. If a bid of nil fails – that is, the bidder takes
at least one trick – the bidder’s side loses 50 points, but still receives
any amount scored for the partner’s bid. The usual rule is that when a
nil fails, the tricks won by the nil bidder do not count towards making
the partner’s bid.
A bid of blind nil scores twice as much as an ordinary nil – it wins 100
points if successful and loses 100 points if it fails.
The side which reaches 500 points first wins the game. If both sides reach
500 points in a single deal, the side with the higher score wins.