How to Play Spades

Playing Spades is just as if you combined the fun of playing card games with a bit of suspense and playing tricks to win the game.
We are here to give you the basic information about how to play Spades as well as give you some tips and tricks.

Things You Need to Know About Your Card Pack

Your pack should have 52 cards divided into four different shapes: Spades, Diamonds, Hearts, and Clubs; every shape has 13 different cards.
The Ace is the strongest card in every suit, followed by the King, then the Queen, followed by the Jack. And then the numbered cards' strengths go weaker as you move from ten to two.
So, for example, an Ace beats a King, and a Jack beats a ten. However, they have to be of the same shape; the Ace of Diamonds can beat all other Diamonds cards but not Hearts.

How to Play Spades?

You can play Spades with three other players; every player partners with the player sitting across from them on the table as one team, a total of four players.
First, here are some terms worth knowing before we get into details.
  • Books (tricks): Books or tricks are the four cards placed by all players and won by the player who played the strongest card.
  • Bid: A number that you agree on with your partner before the game starts.
  • Cut the pack: Use hands to separate the upper cards from the lower ones after shuffling them, usually to make sure the cards have been shuffled properly.
  • Cut the book: Use a spade card to win the book or the trick.

Shuffling, Cutting, and Dealing

The game starts when the dealer shuffles the cards and then passes the cards to the player on his right to cut the pack.
Then, they start dealing the cards one by one starting from the player on the left until every player has 13 cards in their hands.

Before the Game Starts

  • After every player gets 13 cards, you should start separating the cards by suit and numerical order. You should pay close attention to the strongest cards in your hand (aces, kings, and queens).
  • Before the first card is played and after you and your partner check your cards, you should estimate how many books you'll be getting, granting to how many strong cards are in your hand.
  • Add this number to your partner's estimate and then bid the total as a team.

Starting The Game.

  • The first round starts with the player who was handed the first card while dealing.
  • This player should place the first card of their choice on the table starting the first hand of the round; the card can be of any shape or strength.
  • The next player has to place a card with a similar shape, and when the last card is played, the player who played the strongest card wins their team the book.
  • The player who won the last trick will get to start the next hand.
  • You’ll then keep going the same way until all 13 hands have been played.

Why Call It “Spades?”

The Spades suit is the strongest one. In case you don't have any cards of the same shape as played on the table, you can use any of the spade cards in your hand to get the book.
However, if another player places another spade card, the book will be given to whoever uses the strongest spade card.

The Winner.

Let's say you and your partner bid three books, so together, you should be getting six books or more by the end of the round in order to win.
If a team gets fewer books than their bid, they lose the round.


  • The team that wins will multiply the number of books they bid by 10; any extra tricks collected will be of 1 point. Say you and your partner bid six books and won seven; your score at the end of this round would be (6 x 10) +1, which is 61 points.
  • The team that loses the round will lose points equal to their bid multiplied by 10. Say the losing team in the last round bid eight books, and this means they lose 80 points regardless of how many books they won.
  • The winning team is whoever gets to 500 points first. Also, a team loses if they get forced down to -200.

Special Situations

Now, we’ve talked about how to play Spades. Let’s mention an exception to how you can bid as well as a common play that can probably start some heat between the players.

Nil And Blind Bids

Your hand shouldn't always have strong cards. Sometimes you will only see numbers, and it's almost certain you won't be getting any tricks.
In this case, you have the chance to bid nil which means you shouldn't be getting any tricks.
If you do, you lose 50 points, while if you earn zero books, you gain 50 points.
If you make that bid blindly (without checking your cards), the points earned or lost will be 100 instead.

Reneging (Revoking)

Let’s imagine a player played the Ace of Diamonds, and the next player only had the King of Diamonds in their hand. This means if they played the king, they would lose a potential book that they had previously counted in their bid.
Reneging is to play a different shape than the one on the table despite having that shape in your hand, or even use a spade card to cut and get the book.
This is considered against the rules, and it could create some heated arguments between the players, so try to avoid that, but if you have to do it, don't get caught.


Spades is a game of anticipation and paying attention to the cards played. The more accurate you are with your bid, the more likely you’ll win the game.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how to play Spades, and remember that practice makes perfect.