The Ultimate Guide to Spades Card Game: A Complete Introduction for Beginners

Spades is an age-old card game that originated in the United States during the 1930s. It’s still a known trick-taking card game, and millions of people across the globe play it. The card game is a descendant of the Whist family, giving rise to games like Oh Hell, Bridge, and Hearts. The name of the game, which can be played in either a team-based or a 1v1 format, comes from the Spade card in a typical deck of playing cards. The trump card used in the game is always of the spade suit, unlike other Whist-derived games where the trump is determined by the highest bidder or at random.

This is an entertaining card game card lovers play online as well, and Spades card game tournaments are very popular among online players.

Here, we bring a brief guide for people unfamiliar with the Spades card game, helping them with relevant information and advanced Spades card game strategies they need to get started and win games. Keep reading!

Understanding Spades Card Game

The French deck of playing cards features a single card to represent the suit of spades. This card, known as the spade card or Pique/Pik, resembles an inverted black heart with a stem at its base.

The spade card holds significant importance in the game, unlike other games such as Teen Do Panch, Euchre, Bridge, and Hearts, where the trump is variable.

In this game, all spade cards in the deck are trump cards that rank higher than other cards. Despite being the only card capable of defeating all others, a spade card with a higher rank can defeat one with a lower rank, such as a K defeating a 10.

Playing Instructions

One of the simplest card games that people of all ages can play is Spades card game. A standard 52-card deck is used to play the game between 2 and 4 players. The game’s goal is to acquire at least as many tricks as were initially bid. Spades is always the trump in this game, as was previously mentioned. Until the entire deck has been dealt out, 13 cards are dealt to each player. Learn how to play spades by reading on.

The participants commence the game by distributing their cards and initiating the bidding process. With a minimum commitment of winning at least one trick, each player places their bids by stating the number of tricks they anticipate winning in the upcoming round. The first card is played by the individual seated to the dealer’s left, followed by the remaining players in a similar manner. The trick is ultimately claimed by the participant holding the highest-ranking card. The player who accumulates the highest score emerges as the game’s victor, following each round in which all the cards have been played.

The Game Rules

The following basic guidelines must be followed when playing the Spades card game:

  • The winning suit is always spades.
  • During the play, every player must bid at least one trick.
  • The cards are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A, ascending from the lowest to the highest.
  • The trick is started by the person sitting to the dealer’s left, and then others join in.
  • Each player is required to play a card that matches the suit. A player may play a trump or a random card if they don’t have a card of the same suit.
  • If trump is not played, the trick is won by playing the card with the highest value. The higher-value trump card wins the trick if one or more trump cards are played.

These are the fundamental game rules, but as players play, they pick up additional rules concerning bidding, play, and scoring.

Spades Card Game Scoring System

Making the contract refers to when a player collects the same number of tricks as their bid at the beginning of the game. Every trick is successfully completed, and the contract being met earns a player 10 points. The player receives one point for each additional trick won if they also win more tricks than the contract stipulates or if they win bags.

For example, a player can score 50 points (5*10) if the player bids five tricks while managing to win five tricks throughout the rounds.

A player will earn (5*10) + (3*1) = 53 points if they bid 5 tricks but win 8 tricks across all game rounds.

Playing the Game using Jokers

With a standard 52-card deck, two to four players can play Spades with jokers. The Big Joker and Little Joker, also known as the Full-Color Joker and the One-Color Joker, are also included in the deck along with these cards. The trump card in this game is always a spade. The use of jokers is the only difference between the gameplay and the original card game. The Big Joker and the Little Joker are also included in the trump or spade suit. The ace of Spades outranks the Little Joker, while the Big Joker outranks the Little Joker.


The number of tricks a player bids is significant in the Spades card game because this practice greatly influences the player’s chances of winning. As such, you should be highly cautious when placing bids in this game. Once all players have been dealt their hands of cards, it is critical to arrange the cards into sets and then determine how much the highest-ranking cards are worth. Depending on how strong one’s hand is, one should bid the number of tricks to be won.

Each player must bid at least one trick in accordance with the game’s rules. The bids of both team members are merged in a partnership, nevertheless. In this game, nil bidding and blind bidding are the two most common forms of bidding. When a player or their partners decide not to bid on any tricks, it is known as a nil bid or a bid of zero. Conversely, when a player or partners place a bid without seeing their cards, it is known as a blind bid. Furthermore, a hybrid of these two bidding strategies is known as blind nil, in which a player or team does not bid on any tricks without first looking at their cards.

Advanced Spades Card Game Strategies

Tricks are the number of rounds in which each player plays a card in a game of spades that involves advanced spades card game strategies. The tricks are also known as books. In a round, the player with the highest card wins one trick. When the game starts, the number of tricks bid must be won by the players, at the very least. For instance, if a player bids four tricks at the outset and manages to win four rounds during the game, the player is said to have won four tricks.

Bags are the additional tricks in the game earned by a player at the start above the number bid. The acquisition of any extra tricks beyond the initial bid by the team is commonly referred to as a “bag”. Each bag secured contributes an additional point to the overall score. Nevertheless, if a player accumulates 10 bags, he incurs a penalty of 100 points, and the bag count resets.

If you’re interested in playing this mind-blowing Spades card game online, download the Skill Cat app. Skill Cat is a distinctive card game featuring an interactive tutorial to help novices comprehend the Spades card game scoring system, gameplay mechanics, bidding strategies, trick-taking rules, and more.

It helps beginners gradually develop and enhance their skills and understanding of the game.