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Spades is most often played with four players, which is
often called a partnership game because the players play in
pairs of partners.
Spades Set Up and Dealing
Four players, split into two partnerships with partners sitting opposite of each other, use a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. The first dealer is chosen randomly, either by mutual consent or by dealing each player a single card with the high card winning the right to the first deal. All cards are dealt to the left first around the table and the deal is passed one player to the left after each hand. Cards are dealt one-by-one to each player until all of the cards are distributed. This creates a hand of 13 cards for each player.
After all of the cards are dealt, each player is required to make a bid of how many tricks they believe they will take during the hand. There are a total of 13 tricks per round, but the total of the bids are not required to equal 13. Each player may bid any number they choose between zero and 13 and successive bids by the second, third and fourth player are not required to be more than bids by the previous players.
Once all of the bids are made (there is only one round of bidding, so the first bid by each player is their only bid) the bids made by each partner are added together and this is the number of tricks that partnership must try to win. For example, if the first partner of team one bids two and the other partner bids two, then team one is attempting to win four tricks. If team two bids six and two, then they are attempting to win eight tricks.
A player may bid Nil, which is a bid that they will not win a single trick. If they don't win any tricks, their team wins a bonus, while if they do take a trick or more, their team is penalized. Even if one player bids Nil, the team is still responsible for winning the amount of tricks bid by the other partner.
Playing a Spades Hand
Cards are ranked from highest (Ace) to lowest (two) in each suit. The suit of spades is always trump and any spade beats any card of the other suits. The first player to the left of the dealer leads the first card. This lead can not be a spade. Spades may not be lead until a player "breaks spades" which is by trumping a trick.
Players are required to follow suit if they are able to do so. If a player does not have any cards of the lead suit, they may play any other card in their hand. The winner of each trick leads to the next trick. This lead does not have to be of the same suit as the previous trick.
After all four players have played their card on a trick, the trick is awarded to the player who played the highest card, determined in this order from highest to lowest.
This process is continued until all 13 tricks have been completed.
Most games of spades are played to 500, but they can be played to any score that is mutually agreed on by all players before the game starts. After each hand or round of 13 tricks, each team compares the amount of tricks they won against the amount that they bid before the round. If they won at least as many tricks as they bid, they win ten points per trick bid plus one point for each trick they took over the amount they bid. For example, if a team bids five tricks and actually takes six, they are awarded 51 points. If they win seven, they are awarded 52 points.
On the other hand, if a team does not win their number of bid tricks, they lose 10 points per trick they bid, not just 10 points per trick they were short. For example, if a team bids five tricks and only takes four, they lose 50 points.
There is a rule in place, called a spades sandbagging rule, which keeps teams from underbidding by too much on purpose. Any time a team wins more tricks than they bid, they receive one bag for each trick they underbid. For example, if a team bids five and wins seven, they receive two bags. Once a team accumulated 10 bags, they lose 100 points. Any bags that push them over 10 are carried over to start a new count toward 10 bags.
When a player bids Nil, if they are successful they win an extra 100 points, and when they do take a trick they lose 100 points. These points are in addition (or subtraction) to the points the team receives on the other partners bid.
|Spades Rules||Spades Variations||Spades Strategy|
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