Aside from being a fun way to pass the time, knowing how to play spades is a great excuse for being able to bicker with your family and friends. But trash talk isn’t all that’s required to become a good spades player. Unfortunately, you actually have to know how to play the game, too. After all, you don’t want your mouth writing checks that your card playing can’t cash.
- The concept behind spades is pretty similar to other card games like euchre and hearts. The game is played with two teams of two players. The object Is to be the first team to get to 500 points – which takes awhile, especially if you’re playing with drinkers. One person starts as the dealer, and passes out the entire deck of cards to everyone, including himself. If everyone has 13 cards, then you’re all good. If not, it might be time to pick a fight with the dealer for cheating.
- As the name of the game implies, the spades suit is the highest rank. All other suits are equal. the numbers, deuce cards are ranked lowest, and aces are ranked highest with all other cards ranked in ascending order. To start, a player lays down a low card of any suit besides a spade. Then, the player to his left lays down a higher card and so on until the highest card is laid down. The team that lays down the highest ranked card wins that trick, or hand. If a player’s turn comes and he doesn’t have any more cards of the same suit, but has a spade, he can lay down that trump card. If no one has any higher spades, that trick is won by the spade laying team. These are the only two ways in which a trick can be won, so don’t let another sly player try to convince you otherwise.Each round of spades has thirteen total tricks.
- The toughest part of learning how to play spades is to understand how it’s scored. This is where it gets a little hairy. Before each round of thirteen tricks, both teams have to guess how many tricks they’ll win, which is called a “bid”. They get to talk to each other to figure it out, and have to come up with a definite number before the round starts. After the round is over, the teams count up the number of tricks they won. Each trick won is worth ten points.
- In spades, overbidding or underbidding hurts your team’s score. If your team’s bid before that round was higher than the number of tricks you actually won, then you subtract ten points from the total for each trick you thought you’d get and didn’t. If your bid was under the number of tricks you actually won, then each trick is called a “sandbag”. Sandbags are worth one point each, but if you get ten of them, you have to subtract 100 points from your score. Though it seems like your obnoxiously smart math professor came up with these rules, you’ll get the hang of the scoring pretty quickly when actually playing spades.