Spades Rules

Here are the rules of spades with some guidelines to help you crush your first Spades game

PS: we hope you play Spades online with MPLAYER

We will cover how we play in Spades at Mplayer, our online tournaments, regular games, etc.  There are multiple rule sets, such as teams playing to 1000 or Jokers being in the mix, but we are catering it for you to play on Mplayer.  We hope after this you can have a good expectation of how the spade rules work. Spades are one of my favorite card games, and I hope you enjoy it as well.

52-cards, 13 books won or tricks won per round (tricks=books it depends on who you speak to, we will call them tricks in this). 13 cards dealt with each of the 4 players.

Hit the point total, or they hit the negative point total, and you win.  (example -250/500) if you get 500 points or they get -250, you win.

CARD RANK

A , K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

Spades > Everything else.  The highest spade wins

PLAYER STRUCTURE/OBJECTIVE

  • 2 vs 2 with teammates sitting opposed to each other
  • If not teams, then Survivor Mode (Free for all) – this will not be mentioned much in this article
  • both teams attempting to get typically 250 or 500 combined points first.
    • Points can change, but 250 and 500 are typical numbers, there is also a negative score which if you hit you will lose.

Bidding

You begin each round going counter-clockwise choosing how many tricks they will be able to take.  There are a total of 13 tricks to be had and you are able to bid from 0(nil) to 14. This is a good opportunity to assume the strength of others hands.  In order to get a positive score, you must meet or exceed the number of tricks.

NIL

If you bid Nil(0), you have 100 points on the line that you will not win a trick.  If you end up with 0 tricks you will have win 100 points, if you end up with one additional trick you will lose 99, this is a high-risk high reward strategy.  You don’t want to be the person who loses 100 – 1 per book won points early in the game, but it is worth the risk possibly. There is also an ability to bid a blind nil, in that you bid nil without seeing the cards.  But it is frowned upon and MPLAYER will not allow that.

If you make your bid, you will receive 10 points for every trick bid and one for each point in excess.  This one point adds a bag to your score, which may harm you over time.

If you do not make your bid, you will lose 10 points for every trick in the bid.

Examples:

  • Team Bets 6, Wins 5 = -60 Points
  • Team Bets 6, Wins 6 = 60 Points
  • You team bids 6, win 7: You will get 61 Points.

One of the big points here is that not bidding additional tricks and having many tricks which score as bags(+1 instead of +10) could mean you won many tricks, nobody went nil, and still do not win the hand overall.  If that is hard to understand:

  • if you bid 4 combined and won 7, you have 43.
  • if they bid 5 and hit 5, they have 50.

BAGS

In the example of:

You team bids 6, win 7: You will get 61 Points.

That additional trick not anticipated is a bag.  This is important as bags are tallied over time: If you get 10 extra bags, your team loses 100 points.

PLAYING A HAND

The first person will throw out a card (first turn: person who bid first – going forward: whoever won the trick) and the turns will continue counterclockwise.  High card wins the trick and then controls the start of the next turn. If you have that suit you are forced to follow suit otherwise you can play any card.

Example:

Three clubs are thrown out, you have no clubs.

  1. You throw out a Spade(any) – you win the trick
  2. You throw out the Ace of  Hearts – you lose the trick

This can work to your favor for getting nil (example B), or for getting more trick (example A).

Saying this for a Friend: Say the score is 430(you)-440(them) in the final round.  And they bid 60 tricks combined – if they hit they will win.  If you bid 60 tricks combined and hit, you will end up 10 points short of winning.  Maybe it wasn’t a good time to be so conservative.

SOME OTHER EXPECTATIONS

  • The maximum tricks absolutely possible for one hand would be 230 (one Nil bid and one 13), and the game goes to 500, so you will be playing more than one round.
  • The word tricks is synonymous with bags
  • You will not have backchannel conversations with your teammates
  • You will have to take risks, and also be conservative
  • The game moves somewhat fast, so be prepared

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