What is a Trick in Spades?

By Neal Taparia - 3/20/2024

What is a trick in Spades

At its heart, Spades is about winning tricks. But what exactly is a ‘trick’ in Spades? Simply put, a trick consists of each player laying down a single card, with the highest card of the leading suit winning the trick, unless a spade is played.

Spades are always the trump suit, meaning they outrank cards of any other suit. The player who wins the trick collects the cards played and leads the next round.

An Enduring Appeal

Spades is a classic card game that’s been popular since the 1940s due to its unique blend of simplicity and strategic depth, but it has found a new life online. Because people around the world can engage in free online Spades games at Spades.co, beginners can practice with ease and enthusiasts can compete without the need to gather in person.

The Goal of the Game

Keeping score in Spades is one of the key parts of the game. This is because, unlike other games, one of the main objectives of Spades is guessing how well you will do. Each round, each player predicts how many tricks they will win. The accuracy of these predictions determines a player’s success.

A player is awarded points equal to ten times the number they bid, plus one for each extra. For example, if a player predicts they’ll win six tricks, and win seven, they’ll be awarded sixty-one points.

Extra points (tricks won that are above the player’s bid) are kept track of and accumulate. They are referred to as ‘bags,’ and for every ten bags a player gets, they are penalized one hundred points.

If a player wins fewer tricks than they predicted, they lose ten times the number they bid. For example, if a player predicts they’ll win six tricks and they win five, they lose sixty points.

Strategies to Win Spades

Key strategies in Spades

Winning at Spades requires a blend of skill, strategy, and, to some degree, luck. Here are a few key strategies:

Know When to Play Trump

Don't rush to play your spades. Try to save them when they’re most useful and help you win the most difficult tricks.

Communication Is Key

Direct communication about your hand is against the rules, so learning to read your partner's plays and developing silent communication strategies is key to success.

Lead with Your Strong Suit

Try to control the flow of the game by leading with your strongest non-spade suits, hopefully forcing others to play their trump cards early.

The Social and Cognitive Benefits of Playing Spades

Spades has endured the test of time because of all the ways it engages players. It can be entertaining and relaxing, but it also strengthens the mind. It can improve memory, strategic thinking, and the skill of calculating probability. Spades is also a social game, building communication and teamwork while creating an occasion for friends and acquaintances to collaborate.

Similar Games

If you enjoy Spades, you might also like other trick-taking games such as Bridge, Euchre, or Hearts. Each game has its own set of rules and strategies but shares the fundamental concept of trick-taking.

These games can be fun variations when you want a break from Spades, and they can sharpen the same skills necessary for Spades, making you a better player across the board.

Final Trick

Spades is more than just a game; it's a blend of history, strategy, and social interaction. Understanding the concept of a trick and mastering the strategies to win spades can enhance your gameplay and make every match a rewarding experience.

Whether you're playing online or gathering with friends for a traditional game, Spades offers endless opportunities to boost your brain and your community!