How To Play Spades For Beginners

James Lopez
August 4, 2023
How To Play Spades For Beginners


How To Play Spades For Beginners: A classic trick-taking card game that combines strategy, teamwork, and a dash of luck. If you’re a beginner looking to dive into this engaging and competitive pastime, you’ve come to the right place. It will take you through the fundamental rules and mechanics of how to play Spades, providing you with a solid foundation to start your Spades journey.

Spades is typically played with four players, divided into two teams of two. The game revolves around predicting the number of tricks your team can win and then working together to achieve that goal. With a standard deck of 52 cards and a straightforward bidding and scoring system, Spades is easy to grasp yet challenging to master.

The basics of card ranking, the bidding phase, and how to win tricks. You’ll also learn about the concept of the trump suit, essential communication with your partner, and how to strategically manage your hand.

Whether you’re playing with friends, family, or joining an online community, learning how to play Spades will open up a world of fun and camaraderie. So, let’s begin this exciting journey into the world of Spades and get ready to outwit your opponents and lead your team to victory!

What is the trick to playing spades?

The thumb rule of this game is that if you have Ace of Spades, you will automatically win. Similarly, a King of Spades and Aces can also offer you a guaranteed win. But if you have 2 or fewer cards of any suit, you can bet on Spades from 7-9. Lower Spades can be used as trumps if you can’t follow suit.

The trick to playing Spades lies in mastering a delicate balance of strategy, communication, and adaptability. Spades is a popular four-player card game that requires partners to work together while competing against others. The goal is to accurately predict and then win a certain number of “tricks” in each round.

First and foremost, understanding the value of each card is crucial. Spades are always trump, which means they outrank all other suits. Players must carefully assess their hand and anticipate the potential number of tricks they can take based on the strength of their cards.

Effective communication with your partner is another key aspect of success in Spades. Non-verbal cues and signals play a significant role, as partners aim to support each other’s bids and avoid inadvertently “cutting” each other’s winning cards.

Adaptability is vital, as the game can shift quickly with each trick played. Flexibility in strategy and the ability to adjust to opponents’ moves can make all the difference between victory and defeat.

How To Play Spades For Beginners

How do you start spades?

Spades is played with 4 players and uses a standard 52 card deck (with the Jokers removed). The deck is shuffled and then dealt out with each player receiving 13 cards. The player to the left of the dealer bids first. After bidding takes place, that same player leads the first trick.

To start a game of Spades, you’ll need a standard deck of 52 playing cards and four players divided into two teams. The game is typically played in a clockwise direction. Here’s how you begin:

  • Shuffle the deck: One player shuffles the deck thoroughly to ensure a random distribution of cards.
  • Determine partnerships: Players should sit across from their partners. For the first round, partners can be randomly selected, and in subsequent rounds, partners can be determined by the previous game’s score.
  • Deal the cards: The dealer distributes the entire deck of cards, one at a time, in a clockwise manner. Each player receives 13 cards.
  • Bid phase: After the cards are dealt, the bidding phase begins. Players, starting from the left of the dealer, have the opportunity to make a bid, which represents the number of tricks they expect to win in the round. The minimum bid is typically one, and the maximum is 13. Players must bid wisely, as overbidding can lead to negative points.
  • Play the round: The player to the left of the dealer leads the first trick by playing any card. Each player, in turn, plays a card, following suit if possible. If not, they can play any card, including a Spade. The player who plays the highest-ranking card in the leading suit or the highest Spade wins the trick and leads the next trick.

What is the object of spades card game?

Spades is a trick-taking card game devised in the United States in the 1930s. It can be played as either a partnership or solo/”cutthroat” game. The object is to take the number of tricks (also known as “books”) that were bid before play of the hand began.

The object of the Spades card game is to be the first team to reach or exceed a predetermined number of points, typically set before the game begins. Spades is a trick-taking game played with a standard deck of 52 cards, where spades are always considered the highest-ranking suit.

During each round of Spades, players must try to accurately predict and win a specific number of tricks. A trick consists of each player playing one card, and the highest-ranking card in the leading suit or the highest Spade wins the trick. The player who wins the trick leads the next one.

The crucial element of the game is the bidding phase, where players estimate the number of tricks they expect to win in the round. If a player’s bid is met or exceeded by the number of tricks they actually win, they score points based on their bid. However, if they fail to meet their bid, they receive penalty points.

Partners must work together, employing strategic communication and tactics to achieve their combined bids while hindering the opposing team’s progress. Successful bidding, careful card play, and effective teamwork are key to accumulating points and ultimately winning the game.

Which 2 to take out in spades?

Spades is played with four people – two on each team. Before the cards are distributed, the two of hearts, and the two of diamonds are removed, which should make for a total of 52 cards (including both jokers).

In the game of Spades, deciding which two cards to take out of your hand before starting the bidding phase is an essential strategic decision. The goal is to remove the least valuable cards to improve your chances of fulfilling your bid and winning tricks during the game.

When considering which two cards to remove, several factors come into play:

  • High-value cards: It’s generally wise to remove high-ranking cards like Aces, Kings, and Queens of non-trump suits. These cards are less likely to win tricks and can become a liability if opponents play higher cards.
  • Low-value cards: Removing low-ranking cards, especially those with no strategic value or cards that cannot win any tricks, can be beneficial. These cards are unlikely to contribute to fulfilling your bid.
  • Trump cards: Keeping a few trump cards (Spades) in your hand is essential, as they can help you win tricks and control the game. However, it’s essential not to overload your hand with too many trump cards, as you may end up void in other suits, making it challenging to follow suit.
  • Balanced hand: Strive for a balanced hand with a mix of high, medium, and low-ranking cards across different suits. This balance allows you to be flexible in your bidding and adapt to different situations during the game.

What is the highest card in spades?

Spades is played by four people in two partnerships. The cards rank ace (the highest) to the 2 (the lowest). Spades are always trumps. Each player receives 13 cards.

In the game of Spades, the highest-ranking card is the Ace of Spades. Spades is a trick-taking game where the objective is to win tricks with higher-ranking cards or trump cards, and in Spades, the trump suit is always Spades. As a result, the Ace of Spades outranks all other cards in the game, making it the most powerful card.

The ranking order for non-trump cards in Spades, from highest to lowest, is as follows: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2. Among these, the Ace holds the highest position.

The trump suit (Spades) can change the outcome of a trick, as any Spade card, regardless of its rank, will beat cards from other suits. For example, if Spades are the trump suit, a 2 of Spades will beat an Ace from any other suit in a trick.

Understanding the value and power of the Ace of Spades is crucial for making strategic decisions during the game. Players often aim to win tricks containing this card or use it strategically to control the play and secure their bids.

How To Play Spades For Beginners

What is the scoring in spades?

For making the contract (the number of tricks bid), the player scores 10 points for each trick bid, plus 1 point for each overtrick. For example, if the player’s bid is Seven and they make seven tricks, the score would be 70.

The scoring in the game of Spades can vary slightly depending on house rules or regional preferences, but the most common scoring system is as follows:

  • Bidding points: Before each round, players bid the number of tricks they expect to win. If they successfully win the exact number of tricks they bid, they receive 10 points per trick. However, if they fail to fulfill their bid, they receive minus 10 points per trick for each trick they are short.
  • Sandbags: Accumulating too many overtricks, known as “sandbags,” can lead to penalties. For every set of 10 sandbags, the team incurs a penalty of 100 points.
  • Nil bids: If a player bids “nil,” meaning they aim to win zero tricks, and they succeed in doing so, they receive 100 points. However, failing to win zero tricks results in a penalty of minus 100 points.
  • Blind Nil: Some variants include the “Blind Nil,” where a player declares a nil bid without looking at their cards. If successful, they earn 200 points, but if they fail, they lose 200 points.
  • Winning the game: The game is usually played to a predetermined number of points, commonly 500 or 1000. The first team to reach or exceed the target score wins the game.

Why is it called spades?

The modern symbol for the Spade, “♠”, came from the French iteration of the Sword suit, which represented the head of a pike. This association with the older suit of Swords meant that the suit of Spades was also associated with nobility and military.

The name “Spades” for the card game is believed to have originated from the original French game called “Épée,” which means “sword” in French. Epee was a trick-taking game similar to modern-day Whist and Bridge. As the game evolved and spread to different regions, its name underwent changes, leading to the English version being called “Spades.”

The term “Spades” specifically refers to the highest-ranking suit in the game. In Spades, the four suits. Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades—are used, and Spades always trump the other suits, making them the most powerful and highest-ranking cards. The use of the term “Spades” to represent the suit might be related to the shape of the spade symbol on the cards, which resembles a pointed tip, reminiscent of a sword or a digging tool used in gardening.

The game gained popularity in the United States during the mid-20th century, and the name “Spades” became firmly established, representing the entire game, including the trump suit. Over time, Spades has become a well-loved and widely played card game, known for its strategic depth and competitive nature.

What cards beat what in spades?

Tricks & Card Values

The order of card values, from highest to lowest, is Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. The Spades suit is special in this game, because it trumps all other cards in play. If multiple spades are played, the highest spade wins the trick.

In the game of Spades, the ranking of cards determines which card beats another in a trick. The order of card ranking is as follows:

  • Spades: Spades are always the highest-ranking suit in the game. This means that any Spade card will beat any card from the other suits.
  • Non-Spades: Among the non-Spade suits (Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs), the ranking from highest to lowest is as follows: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2.
  • Trump Suit: If a Spade is played as a trump card in a trick, it will beat any card from the other suits, regardless of their rank.
  • Following suit: If a player leads a trick with a card from a particular suit, all other players must follow suit, if possible. A higher card of the same suit will beat a lower card.
  • No Spades left: If a player has no Spades left in their hand and cannot follow suit, they can play any card they wish, but they cannot win the trick unless it’s a Spade and the current trick contains other Spades.
How To Play Spades For Beginners


As you venture into playing Spades, keep in mind that practice makes perfect. The more you play, the better you’ll become at reading the table, strategizing your bids, and making crucial decisions during the game.

The importance of communication with your partner. Non-verbal cues, trust, and understanding each other’s style of play can make all the difference in securing victory. Explore different variations and styles of Spades to keep the game fresh and engaging. Whether it’s classic Spades, individual or partnership variants, or trying your hand at the challenging Blind Nil, you’ll find a version that suits your preferences.

As with any card game, sportsmanship and fair play are essential. Embrace the spirit of competition, enjoy the camaraderie with your fellow players, and remember that Spades is all about having fun.

So, gather your friends, family, or join an online community, and put your newfound knowledge into action. The world of Spades awaits your presence, and with your newfound skills, you’re ready to shuffle, bid, and win your way to becoming a Spades master! Best of luck and enjoy the journey!

Author James Lopez