Spades Game Rules

Rules | Play Spades Online

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Spades game first appeared in USA in 1930s and was later popularized by American GIs during and after the Second World War. Although Spades used to be mostly an American card game, recently the Internet helped Spades gain popularity internationally.

How Many Players is Too Many in Online Spades?
Online partnership Spades can hardly be a serious game in online environment as it is extremely susceptible to player collusion. Even a single individual can get two separate identities, posing as 2 partners in online Spades and consistently win against the opposing real partnership.
Two-player online Spades offered at this site is completely collusion-proof. It is an exciting card game of skill for serious players.

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 Deal
In 2-player spades there is no deal per se. Instead, the deck is placed face-down in the middle and two players take turns to draw 13 cards each. At your turn, you draw the top card by dragging it. Once you start drawing a card, it will open up for your eyes only. You look at this open card and decide whether you want to keep it or discard it:

  • If you want to keep it you put it in your hand, and then the next card that you could have drawn is shown to you & discarded
  • If you decide not to keep the first card, you discard in the discard pile to the right and then draw and keep the next card (it will go into your hand automatically to increase game speed). It will then be your opponent's turn to draw. This continues until all cards have been chosen and discarded. You then each have a hand of 13 cards.

    The object of the game is to be the first to score the agreed-upon number of points (default -- 300 points). Points are earned by winning tricks according to bids declared prior to playing.

    Bidding in Spades
    After selecting a hand, each spades player needs to select their bid -- an estimate of how many tricks they plan to get during the hand. The picture below illustrates the selection of a bid via a drop-down.

    In the picture, your cards are shown open on the bottom of the table and your opponent's cards are shown closed at the top of the table. The guiding red message below the table reports that opponent's bid has already been selected. Table options (see details below) on top of the window show default options: 5 min per move, 300 pt total needed and Bag-50 option (-50 pt penalty for 5 bags). The scores in the picture show that "you" have 63 points and 3 used bags (shown in brown) while "opponent" has negative 41 points and 1 bag.

    Playing the Game
    Non-dealer leads any card except a spade as the first trick. Opponent must follow suit if able; if unable to follow suit, opponent may play any card.

    A trick that has 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 in the next trick. Spades may not be led until either some player has played a spade (on the lead of another suit), or the leader had nothing except spades left in hand. Playing the first spade is referred to as "breaking" spades.


    Each trick bid counts 10 points to a player if the contract is made. Overtricks count one point each.
    If a player does not make the bid, he/she loses 10 points for each trick bid.

    Sandbagging rule:
    Overtricks are often referred to as 'bags'. When you create a table, you can select 'Sandbagging' rule -- it's a default option. Sandbagging comes with the following 3 options:
  • -10 for each
  • -100 for 10
  • -50 for 5

    With '-10 for each' sandbagging option for each bag taken, a penalty of 10 points is deducted from the score.

    Example of sandbagging rule: Player Joe bids 5 tricks. If he wins 7 tricks, he'd score extra 52 points but also lose 20 because of 2 overtricks. Net increase in Joe's score: 32 points.

    With '-100 for 10' sandbagging option 100 point penalty is applied when the number of overtricks (e.g., over several hands) reaches 10.
    With '-50 for 5' sandbagging option 50 point penalty is applied when the number of overtricks (e.g., over several hands) reaches 5.

    Points for tricks:
  • If a bid of nil is successful, the nil bidder receives 100 points.
  • If a bid of nil fails, i.e, the bidder takes at least one trick - the bidder loses 100 points.
  • A player who reaches the agreed-upon number of points first wins the game. If both players reach an agreed-upon number of points in a single deal, a player with the higher score wins.

    Strategy in Head-to-Head Spades

    In Head-to-Head Spades you need to achieve three main objectives during the game:

    (1) get tricks that you bid for
    (2) prevent your opponent from getting his/her bid
    (3) give bags to opponent

    GrandPrix -- World Series of Spades, etc.

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