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Play unlimited games of Spades for free. Play against the computer or against players in our multiplayer mode. Learn how to play Spades here, or read below for a quick overview

What is Spades?

Spades is a trick taking card game intended to be played with four players with teams of two. It can also be played with 2 players.

Spades is based on scoring points, where your goal is to score as many points as possible. The first team to reach 500 points wins the game.

If you're playing Spades in person, you can print a score sheet here, otherwise, we’ll automatically keep score for you

How to play Spades


Each player on the board receives 13 cards (jokers are moved from the deck), and can make up to 13 bids. During each round, a card will need to be thrown on the table to see who wins the round or trick.

Aces are the highest-value card, followed by Kings, Queens, Jacks, tens, nines, and so forth. Twos are the lowest-value cards. Any card in the suit of Spades trumps non-Spades cards. Only higher-value Spades cards can trump a lower-value Spades card. For example, a three of Spades is trumped by a five of Spades.

Once all four players put a card on the table, the game automatically determines who takes the cards, or in Spades’ terms, who performed a trick.

Make Your Bid

‘Bidding’ refers to when you guess how many tricks you think you will get during the game of the 13 cards you are dealt.

Because each player gets thirteen cards, you can make up to thirteen bids. However, depending on the cards, you also have the option to make zero bids or ‘nil.’

Bid based on the cards you have, as bidding high and getting fewer tricks will cost you points.

The player to the left of the dealer bids first. Once all players have submitted their bid, they can start placing cards on the table.

Playing the Hand

Once all bids have been placed, players can start putting cards on the table. You want to place the highest-value cards down to win the round.

The player that throws a card first can throw any suit except a Spade, after which the other players will need to follow the lead and throw a card from the same suit. If a player doesn’t have a card from the same suit, they can throw a card from any other suit.

Remember–the first player cannot throw a Spade card (unless they only have Spades), but any of the other three players can!

To win a trick, there are a few things to consider. If none of the cards are Spades, then the highest card wins. If one of the players throws a Spade, then that player wins the trick. If there is more than one spade card on the table, the highest one wins. For example, you may have 2 of Spades in your cards and think that it will be a winner, but your opponent may have 5 of Spades, at which point he gets the trick. That is why the bidding is a crucial step, especially in the scoring section of the game.


Each game has thirteen rounds, and in the end, the players are scored based on how much they bid and how many tricks they won.

If you have as many or more tricks as your bid, you get ten points for every trick and one point for each trick over your bid. However, if you win fewer tricks than your bid, you will lose ten points.

For example, if your bid was three and you got four tricks, the score will be 31. Or, if your bid was five and you got four bids, you get ten points deducted for each lost trick, or in this case, 30 points.

Nil Bids

If your bid was nil and you get no tricks, your team gets awarded with 100 points. On the other hand, if you manage to get at least one trick, your team will lose 100 points. The score can be doubled if you went for the blind nil, where instead of 100 points, you can get 200 if you get no tricks or lose 200 points if you get a trick.

Over Tricking

The game has a rule called over tricking. That is when you get more tricks than your bid. Even though each trick over your bid gets awarded with one point, managing to get to 10 overtricks will cost you 100 points. The number of overtricks is counted during the duration of the game, and for every ten overtricks you lose 100 points. If you get 35 overtricks, your team loses 300 points.


The game is played as long as it takes for at least one team or player reaches 500 points. During the game, the number of deals is not counted and plays no role in the points. Since the rules dictate that you can get and lose points, there may come a situation where both teams or multiple players will reach 500 points in one deal. In that case, the side with the most points wins.


There are a few strategies you can use to maximize your chances of winning the round:

  • If Spades have not been broken, you should use your aces early on. This increases your chances of winning the trick because it’s unlikely there will be any other aces in play to beat you. Save your ace of Spades for later, though, because nothing can trump the ace of Spades!
  • Memorize the high-value cards and track when they’ve been played. You don’t need to have this level of recall, but if you know that everyone else has used all their Spades, you can increase your chances of winning the next trick with a high non-Spade card.
  • Focus on clearing any non-Spade suits as quickly as possible, starting with the suits in which you have the fewest cards.
  • Lead with a lower-scoring Spade if you have at least five Spades. Your opponents will need to use a Spade to keep up, which means they have fewer left to beat your other cards during the next hand.
  • The secret to winning at Spades is to take calculated risks without exposing yourself to huge points losses. If you’re not a cautious player, you can also try bidding blind; players do this when they’re losing and want to test their luck. A successful blind bid gets you one hundred points, whereas bidding nil without looking at your hand scores a 200-point bonus, alongside a 200-point penalty if you fail.

Key Terms to know

Here are some key terms you need to know when playing Spades:

  • Hand: A ‘hand’ is a series of tricks where all thirteen cards that a player is dealt are played.
  • Bid: A ‘bid’ is the number of tricks that you think you will get in any given hand. You combine the number you think you will get with the number your teammate estimates.
  • Trick/Book: When all four cards are laid out, the ‘trick’ or ‘book’ is what you call the winner of that particular throwdown.
  • Undertrick: An ‘undertrick’ is just like it sounds: not getting quite the number of tricks that you wanted for a hand. This usually results in a loss of points.
  • Bag: A ‘bag’ is also referred to as an ‘overtrick’. This is when you get more books than you estimated before the hand. Ten bags incur a penalty of one hundred docked points.
  • Void: When you don't have any of the cards of the suit that is being played, you have a ‘void.’
  • Trump: Having a better card to lay down than the others have played is a ‘trump.’ Spades trump all in this game, of course!
  • Sluff: A ‘sluff’ is when you don't have the suit being played, and you also don't have a trump card. This is sometimes a good thing early on when you are trying to get rid of some of the less desirable cards.
  • Nil: When you declare that you will get no tricks, you are declaring ‘nil.’ If you accomplish this, you get more points!

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