How Many Cards Are in a Deck Without Jokers?

By Neal Taparia - 4/8/2024

How cards in a deck without jokers

Understanding a standard card deck is a crucial part of mastering many card games‒and free online Spades games are no exception. Without Jokers, a standard card deck includes fifty-two cards divided into four suits. Each suit has thirteen cards and are classified by Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades. With the two Jokers, there are 54 cards.

Getting to grips with the cards in a deck can be a real help when making a successful bid in Spades because it can offer insights into the cards that your opponents may have in their hands, giving you a stronger strategy that can increase your chances of success.

To improve your Spades strategy, let’s take a closer look at the structure of a standard deck and the ways it can give you that much-needed edge in a game of Spades and other card games.

Understanding Card Decks

As mentioned, a standard deck of cards contains fifty-two cards in total when the Jokers are eliminated from the pack. This includes:

  • Thirteen Hearts
  • Thirteen Diamonds
  • Thirteen Clubs
  • Thirteen Spades

Anatomy of a deck of cards

Each suit contains cards from ace to king, and ace can either be the highest or lowest card in the deck, depending on the rules of the game you are playing. In a game of Spades, aces are high and can help you win a trick.

True to its name, the Spades suit is also the highest ranking in a game of Spades‒meaning playing this card will almost guarantee you win the trick.

A Game of Spades

So, just how do you go about playing Spades? The rules are simple: each player is dealt thirteen cards and must make a bid. A ‘bid’ is a prediction of the number of tricks the player will win in a hand. Cards are then placed in the middle, and the player with the highest card wins the trick.

Points are scored according to the success of the bid–if you bid the exact number of tricks you win, you will be awarded ten points. Bidding a lower number of tricks than you win‒known as ‘bags’ in Spades‒will net you one point. However, bidding a higher number of tricks than you actually win will cause you to earn zero points.

Because of these rules, many players assume the best bet is to bid low and earn the point, but this strategy should be used with caution. While you get a point for each bag or overtrick, accumulating ten of these will hit you with a one hundred-point penalty, and this will be deducted from your overall score. The goal is to reach 500 points, so these penalties can seriously hinder your gameplay.

The trick is to use bags effectively‒if you currently have no bags on your record, you can comfortably underbid and take the point. If, however, you are reaching the top end of the limit, then you should take a different approach.

Train Your Memory

Spades can be a great game for those with a good memory‒all you have to do is make an effort to track the cards that have already been played in the game. By having a working mental map of which cards are where, you will have a better understanding of when to play your hand.

For example, if you know that other players have already played high cards, you will know you are in a better position to play your trump cards. This means your chances of winning a trick can massively increase.

This is particularly important when it comes to actual Spades in your hand, because these are the highest cards in the deck. Knowing when other players have played their Spade suits allows you to pull out your winning card.

Next Steps

By understanding the number of cards in a deck, you will place yourself in a prime position to maximize your chances of a win in your next game of Spades!