Can You Force a Renege in Spades?

By Neal Taparia - 5/11/2024

Can you force a renege in Spades?

Knowing how to play Spades card games online is often no different than playing the popular card game with physical cards and friends sitting around a table. This game of strategy requires careful thinking when making bids, everyone following the rules, and playing the correct cards.

However, if you have a card that follows the suit of the round but you also have a Spade that you know would win, you can’t play it. When a player fails to follow suit (playing a card not in the leading suit) despite having cards of that suit in their hand, it’s known as a ‘renege.’ Forcing a renege in any game of Spades is against the rules, and players who break the rules are penalized.

Renege Penalties

A player may be tempted to renege in Spades to gain a strategic advantage when they have a strong hand in another suit. Those who renege are subject to significant penalties and a possible misdeal in Spades.

When a player is caught playing a card that doesn’t follow the suit of the round when they have a matching card, they risk losing points for their team. When this happens, all of the round’s points are given to the opposing team.

You can also renege by leading with a Spade suit before Spades have been broken. When this happens, the team again loses all the round points to their opponents.

How do you know if a player reneged? In some cases, players can look at completed tricks to check if a reneging accusation has been made.

Avoiding a Renege in Spades

For beginners, it is easy to accidentally renege during a game of Spades. Avoiding a renege requires a keen awareness of the cards in your hand and developing a strategy to play them. Focus on your hand, play thoughtfully, and communicate with your partner.

To avoid a renege, players should carefully track the cards played, particularly those of the leading suit. By keeping mental tabs on the cards played, players can make better, more informed decisions on which cards to play and when.

Plus, communication with your partner or teammate is essential in coordinating plays and ensuring everyone follows the suit being played. Clear signaling can help teammates convey information about their hands without discussing card values. This cuts down the chance of making mistakes, such as a renege.

Other Penalties in Spades

A renege is not the only move that leads to penalties in the game. Spades sandbags can also affect a team’s score. A Spades ‘sandbag’ refers to a team purposely taking more tricks than necessary during a hand to win additional bags, which results in penalty points.

When a team collects ten overtricks (also known as bags), they face a one hundred-point penalty. Teams should be strategic in how many tricks they win per round. Excessive bagging can backfire if they’re not managed carefully.

Playing Spades Online

Playing Spades on an online gaming platform like is a great way to hone your skills and gain a deeper understanding of the game’s rules. When playing at, the game interface requires players to follow the suit in play and eliminates the possibility of coercion or manipulation in each round!