Fun and Interesting Card Game You Can Play with Friends: Spades


Spades is perhaps the best-known trick-taking game worldwide. It first appeared in the United States in the 1930s and was popularized in the 40s. While casinos don’t offer this game, it’s enjoyed between friends and family at home. 

If you never got a chance to learn to play Spades, don’t fret. It’s quite simple, and you can pick it up in a few minutes. Here’s a quick and easy guide to Spades to get you and your company set up for a fun gathering:

Basics of Spades

Spades is typically played between four players, with two going against two. However, there are variations of it that can be enjoyed between two players. 

The game involves a standard deck of cards, with the Ace considered the top-ranking card. The idea of the game is to take tricks and collect points. The team that reaches 500 points first wins the game.

To play, members of the same team sit across from each other, and a dealer is selected randomly. All players are dealt 13 cards, and then the bidding begins.

Starting the Game: Bidding

Players must first look at their cards and think of the number of tricks they could potentially win. Next, the players must “bid” this number and indicate the number of tricks they estimate they will win.

Then, the partners must add up their bids. The sum of their bids is the number of tricks they must win as a team to score points.

Bidding begins with the player on the dealer’s left and continues clockwise. Players can bid any number from 0 to 13, and every player
must make a bid. Unlike some other trick-taking card games, Spades involves only one bidding round.

How Nil Bids Work

A nil bid is essentially declaring that the player will not win any tricks in the hand. To a new player, doing this may seem easy and almost silly. But pulling it off requires skills. 

If the player manages to win zero tricks, their skills are rewarded with 100 points. But if the player wins one or more tricks, their team is handed a 100-point penalty.

The rules of Spades allow both players of a team to bid nil. The rules apply as you’d expect them to: if both players pull it off, they get 200 points. 

If both players fail, they get a 200-point penalty. If one player pulls it off and the other fails, the bonus and penalty level each other out, winning the team 0 points. 

Double Nils: Trying Out Your Luck

A player can bid “double nil” before looking at their cards. The idea with this bid is that the player bets that they can go through the game without taking a single trick without looking at their cards. For this reason, the double nil is also called the “blind nil.”

After the player bids blind nil, they can look at their cards and must exchange three cards with their partner. 

If the player goes through the hand without winning a trick, their team wins 200 points. But if the player wins one or more tricks, the team gets a 200-point penalty.

In Spades, both partners are allowed to bid double nil. The rules work the same way, and the team will lose 400 points if they both fail to get through the hand without winning a trick. 

If both players pull it off, the team wins 400 points. If one player fails and the other pulls it off, the team will score zero points.

Players typically bid blind nil if they’re in a bad position in the game. For example, if the other team has 250 points and only two hands are left in the game, a player may decide to try their luck with a blind nil.

Spades Gameplay 

The player to the dealer’s left plays their card first and can lead with any suit except Spades. It’s important to note that a player must not lead with a Spade card unless their entire hand has Spades. 

Players cannot lead with Spade cards in Spades until the Spades are “broken.” It is said that Spades are broken when a player is unable to follow suit in the course of the game. A player may also “break” the spades by leading with a Spade card, granted they’re out of other options. 

The play continues clockwise, with the players each laying down one card. Every player must try to follow suit from the first player’s move.

When all four players lay their cards out, the player with the highest-ranking card wins the trick. The winner collects all four cards and sets them in front of themselves to help keep track of how many tricks they’ve won.

How the Score is Calculated in Spades

Every trick that a player bids for counts for ten points. All the tricks above the bid are worth a point.

Score = (tricks the player bid for * 10) + (additional tricks won * 1)

In other words, if you bid three and win four tricks, your score would be:

(3 * 10) + (1 * 1) = 31

If a team does not win the sum of bids they made at the beginning of the hand, they lose ten points for every trick they bid. 

The additional tricks won are also called “bags.” If a team wins ten bags, they receive a hundred-point penalty.

The first team to 500 points wins the game.


If you’re unsure about your ability to play Spades, it’s a good idea to practice playing before sitting down to play with your friends. By clicking on the link You can play the
Spades card game online