How to Play Spades

How to Play Spades - Joker and the Thief

Spades – An Overview

Spades is a game for four players in two partnerships. 

You'll need a standard 52-card deck with Ace as high and 2 as low. 

The goal here is to be the first partnership to reach 500 points. Partners sit across from each other, and the dealer shuffles and deals 13 cards to each player. 

Get ready to play!

Starting with, Dealing

When playing a game of spades, the first dealer is determined by each player drawing a card. The person with the highest one becomes the dealer. 

Then, the dealer gives every player one card at a time, face down, starting from their left. 

At this point, it's important to sort your cards by suits, so take a moment to do that before the game starts!


Once you’ve got your cards, the game can begin! 

When it's time to bid, each player needs to think about how many tricks they can win. 

The player to the left of the dealer goes first, and everyone else takes turns saying how many tricks they can take. 

This is the only time you get to predict how many tricks you'll win, so make it count! 

You have to bid at least one trick, and you can't skip your turn. 

Here's a tip: don't be too greedy, or you might end up with negative points. And don't forget, in a game of Spades; spades are always trump, so you don't have to say the suit when you bid! 


Now that we’ve gotten through the basics, get into the nitty-gritty of spades!

The game is supposed to be scored by hands, and the first team to reach a predetermined number of points wins. 

Typically, players agree to play until a team reaches 500 points, but if you're looking for a shorter game, 200 points work too.

To start, the player on the dealer's left makes the first move by leading with a card. 

Everyone else must then play a card of the same suit if they can. 

If they don't have that suit, they can either play a spade or any other card they want. 

The player that has the highest spade wins the trick; if no spades were played, the player with the highest card of the suit that was led wins the trick.

Once the trick has been won, the person who won it leads with the next card. 

This whole thing continues until all the cards have been played, and then it's time to tally up the tricks. 

Each hand has 13 tricks, so the total number of tricks won by both teams should add up to 13 times the number of hands played.

One important thing to note is that you can't lead with spades unless they have been played before or you don't have any other cards left in your hand. 

So, make sure to use your spades wisely!

Keeping Score

Keeping score in Spades is super easy! 

The goal is to fulfill your contract, which is the number of tricks you bid. 

You get 10 points for each trick you bid on and an extra point for every overtrick you take. 

For example, if you bid Seven and make seven tricks, your score is 70. 

But if you bid Five and make eight tricks, you get 50 points for the bid and 3 points for the three extra tricks, making a total of 53 points.

If you don't fulfill your contract, then you get zero points. 

For example, if you bid Four and only win three tricks, you score nothing. 

To keep track of the scores, one player should write down the bids, and record the scores next to them after each hand. 

You can also keep a running tally of everyone's scores. 

If there's a tie, then play one more round to break it. And don't forget, overtricks are bags - get 10 of those, and you lose 100 points!

Just keep track of the scores and your spades, and you’re all set to play a game of spades! 

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