How to Play Spades With 3 Players

By - 3/27/2024

How to play Spades with 3 people

A game of Spades can be played with three players by changing the number of cards dealt to each player (seventeen as opposed to thirteen) and removing the team format. Each player will play for themselves and try to be the first to reach the goal of 500 or 200 points.

Spades is a game of skill, luck, and strategy. Traditionally, four players are divided into two teams, each collecting points to be the first team to reach 500 points.

But what happens if you only have three players available? Whether you are playing in person, or playing online Spades for free, we have the ultimate guide to playing Spades with three players.

What Is Spades?

In order to understand how to change the rules for three-player Spades, it is important to have an understanding of the game. Spades is based on the idea of trick-taking and placing bids. Each player takes a turn to play a card from their hand, placing it in the center of the group. Then, the player with the highest value card wins the trick.

Prior to each hand being played, each player will make a bid‒this is the number of tricks that they expect to win in each hand. A successful bid will earn the player ten points, while an overtrick (winning more tricks than you bid) earns one point‒this can also be known as 'bags' in Spades.

Collecting ten bags in one game will result in a deduction of one hundred points, so play conservatively to avoid this! If the player makes a bid but wins fewer tricks, they will be awarded zero points.

For example, if a player bids five tricks and wins all five, they will be awarded fifty points. If, however, they bid three and win five tricks, they will win thirty-two points‒ thirty points for the successful tricks and two points for the overtrick. In a four-player game, the points are combined within a team, and the first team to reach 500 points will win Spades.

How to Play with Three Players

Rules for how to play Spades with 3 people

As we have seen, the format above is based on a traditional four-player game of Spades, but adjustments can be made in order to create a game suitable for three players. Some of these include:

Change the Number of Cards

You can play Spades with three players by changing the number of cards in play. You can still use a fifty-two card deck, but take out the two of Clubs. This means you will have twelve cards for Clubs, and thirteen of Hearts, Diamonds, and Spades.

Now, your Spades are the most valuable, then Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds. This adjustment leaves each player with seventeen cards, so seventeen potential tricks that can be played.

Remove Teams

Another adjustment to help make Spades suitable for three players is to remove the teams‒instead, each player will play for themselves. This means that rather than combining scores, each player will need to reach 500 points for themselves to emerge as the victor.

Because this solution can make for much longer games, you can also reduce the winning score to 200. This change can make the game more challenging, as players will have to work harder to reach the winning score alone.

The Bottom Line

Learning how to play Spades can unlock the door to a fun, fast-paced, and competitive card game. The best part? You can have just as much fun with three players as with four!

All you need to do is adjust the number of cards in play or add the challenge of a free-for-all gameplay style. This can add a cutthroat, competitive vibe, which can heighten the excitement and raise the odds.