Can You Play Spades With Six People?

By Neal Taparia - 5/22/2024

How to play Spades with 6 people

Spades is a trick-taking card game, like Bridge, Hearts, or Pinochle. Its simple rules with room for complex strategic thinking has maintained its status as a go-to game for many people.

Spades is traditionally played by four people in two teams of two, but it is possible to play Spades with six people. This article will tell you how to play Spades with six players.

The Rules of the Game

To play the six-player version of Spades, you will need two fifty-two-card decks.

First, remove two low-ranking cards, either the two of Clubs or the two of Diamonds. Next, divide the players into three teams of two. Each player is dealt seventeen cards.

The goal of the game remains the same–for teams to bid on tricks and reach a predetermined score, usually 500. Beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, each player bids the number of tricks they believe their partnership will win.

Gameplay proceeds as usual, except for a few adjustments. Players cannot lead with a Spade unless they have no other suits in hand. Going clockwise, each player plays a card that matches the leading suit. If they have no cards in that suit, they may play any card. The highest card of the led suit wins, unless a Spade was played, in which case the highest value Spade card wins.

A key factor that will never come up in traditional Spades but will occur in a game with six people is that there are times two identical cards will be played on the same trick. When this happens, the second card beats the first.

So, if a player plays a king of hearts and would win the trick, and the player four seats to their left plays the king of hearts, the second player wins the trick, instead. There are some house rules in which this is reversed and the first player to play the card wins, so it’s important to make sure everyone agrees on the rules beforehand.

At the end of each round, the teams are awarded points as usual based on the number of tricks they won and whether they met or exceeded or failed to meet their bid.


Another way to play Spades with six people is to use fewer cards. By removing all twos from a standard deck, six players can evenly divide a forty-eight card deck and proceed as usual.

Yet another way to play Spades with six people is to add cards to a standard deck. By adding two Jokers, fifty-four cards can be divided equally, and standard Spades rules can be followed.

Try each variation and see which is most engaging for your group. Larger and smaller hands change the game in different ways, adding new layers of strategy, and each player may find a different variation more engaging.

Game Play and Strategy

Just as in four-player Spades, each team must work to outbid and outmaneuver the opposing teams. The dynamics of three-person teams introduces a new layer of strategy. As with smaller or larger hands and longer rounds, each player must be more attuned to their teammates' playing styles and strategies.

Just like in the traditional version, it’s important to keep track of how many books are in Spades. Veteran players will have it ingrained in their minds that this number is always thirteen, but depending on the way the deck (or decks) are divided, this number will change. Knowing how many books there are so you can bid accordingly is key.

Let’s Play

Whether you’re a seasoned card player or a newcomer, learning how to adapt Spades for six players can open up a new realm of entertainment and challenge. Being able to update a favorite game to include everyone at a party or all the members of a family can be an enjoyable experience. Grab a deck (or decks!), gather your friends, and let the games begin–or head to to test your luck online!