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A Beginner's Guide To Spades

If you’ve stumbled upon our Spades game, then you’ve unlocked the opportunity for hours of fun gaming online. However, not everyone knows how to play Spades and that can be something that affects the quality and enjoyment of your gameplay.

It’s useful to have a comprehensive guide, helpful for beginners to get a better understanding of what the game entails and how to get the most out of each and every game. With that being said, here is a beginner’s guide to Spades so that you can have fun as a newcomer.

What is Spades?

Spades, for those who have never come across it before, is a card game that’s played with a 52-card standard deck. It’s mostly famous in the USA and other English-speaking countries and is considered a trick-taking game.

If you’ve heard of Bridge, Hearts, and Oh Hell, then Spades is a descendant of this family of card games. Here’s a brief breakdown of Spades:

  • Number of players - Two or more players and sometimes played in pairs
  • The deck - A standard 52-card is used for this game. Spades may sometimes be played with one or two Jokers or with some cards removed.
  • Rank of suits - Spades are always trump and therefore none of the other suits have intrinsic value during play.
  • Card ranking - The card ranking highest to lowest is Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
  • Game objective - To score points by winning a number of tricks that are bid with each hand.

The Goal of Spades

Before you begin your first game of Spades, it’s useful to know what the goal is. Spades is a strategic card game that’s often played with two teams made up of two people. The goal of the game is that the team in question needs to reach 500 points first. However, it can also be played solo if preferred.

In order to score points, you need to try and win the number of tricks that you bid at the beginning of each round. In order for the game to start, each player will draw a card.

The dealer - or computer - will distribute the deck card by card. This is then placed face-down to each player. Everyone has thirteen cards in total and the deal moves clockwise around the table.

As an objective, you want to win as many tricks as possible. Estimating how many tricks you will win is key. You could bid no tricks or up to thirteen tricks if desired.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how Spades works, you can dive into the game with a little more confidence as a result.

How Many People Play Spades?

There are a number of different variations of the game Spades but typically the gameplay consists of four sections: dealing, bidding, playing, and scoring. With each player receiving 13 cards, typically the number of people playing Spades will be four. Either they play individually or in teams of two.

Once they declare the number of tricks they think they’ll win, players will be required to follow suit. The highest-ranking card wins the trick and wins those all-important points.

Whether you’re looking to play online or offline, playing Spades is similar wherever you find yourself enjoying the game.

Top Tips for Playing Spades Online

If you’re playing Spades online, there are certainly some useful tips that are worth knowing in order to make the most out of the game. Let’s take a look at some of the top tips for playing Spades online.

Don't Look at Overbidding

It’s important to focus on bidding when it comes to the game. You want to bid as close as possible without going overboard. It’s easy enough to overbid and when you exceed the amount you bid, you’ll end up with a penalty in some cases. This can be detrimental to your gameplay and can be something that ends up setting you back from winning the top spot.

Consider what your bids are and how you might be overbidding when it comes to maximizing the most out of your games. You’ve also got underbidding to be aware of, but more on that in the FAQs.

Try to Adopt a Bidding Strategy

Strategies are important when it comes to playing games, particularly within the gambling sector. While Spades is not always a game that involves monetary contributions and can be just for fun, it’s still worth adopting a bidding strategy.

If you’re just starting out, then you’ll want to adopt an existing bidding strategy before you’ve developed your own methods. The Ace of Spades is always an automatic win, so the bigger the better.

Consider What Other Players are Bidding

With variations of the game, it’s important to think about how some of these tips may or may not be relevant. Think about other players’ bids as well as your own. For example, if there’s someone that bids nil then they’re not going to take any tricks.

With opportunities like this, you may end up winning some extra tricks. This could lead to penalties as a result. Think about what other players are bidding and how you might want to bid a little more aggressively going forward. The more aware you are of other players, the better! It’s important to be attentive.

Keep a Side Eye on the Score

A good spades strategy is something that can really set you apart from the rest. Another great tip to have an eye on the score at all times. Being aware of where you are in the ranks is important because another player could easily sneak ahead and win the game.

Always know if you’re ahead or behind and by how many points. That way, you can determine what strategy you are using and how you might want to adapt that strategy depending on how the game is going for you.

Take a Risk if You’re Falling Behind

If you’re behind, then it’s worth taking a risk. Bidding blind is something you do whereby you guess how many tricks you’ll take prior to looking at your hand. With nil, you won’t take a single trick after looking at your hand.

There are risks with both of these. If successful, there’s a larger pool of points to be won. However, if you lose, then the opposite will happen. Bidding blind or nil is something to consider when you find yourself down on your luck and needing to get lucky.

You can also combine the two, which can help you earn even more points and put you way ahead of the rest of the players.

Lead with a Low Spade

When it comes to playing Spades, it’s worth leading with a low spade. If you have five or more spades, then go with the lowest available. The other players as a result will need to follow suit with their spades.

It might be that the other players won’t have as many spades left to trump your other cards, putting you at an advantage. Remember to use this to your advantage when it comes to selecting from the spades available in your hand.

Remember to be a Good Team Player


It’s important that when you’re playing with others, you’re keeping an eye on your partner too. This is beneficial to help adjust your strategy, according to how you’re doing in the game itself.

For example, if it looks like your partner won’t make the bid, then it’s worth being a good team player and winning enough tricks in order for them to do the same.

Keep the Player Order in Mind

When playing the game, it’s worth keeping the player's order in mind. In fact, it’s quite crucial to your gameplay and getting the best advantage possible. When you’re the second person to play, playing a spade in an attempt to take a trick isn’t worth doing. The reason for this is the next person might end up playing a higher spade as a result.

It’s therefore best to be in the third seat where possible or the third player to go. Of course, though, you might not always get the ideal position each time. That’s why it’s important to keep player order in mind before proceeding.

Useful Facts to Know About Spades

Spades is a game that many people enjoy playing online. With that being said, there are some useful facts worth knowing whether you’ve played Spades before or not.

Spades are Played with Four People Traditionally

Typically, in a game of Spades, two teams of two players compete against each other. However, this can be a solo venture depending on the variation you are playing either online or offline.

It’s a Popular Card Game Online and Offline

Spades are incredibly enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels. If you’ve never tried this type of game before, then it’s definitely something worth trying.

It’s a game that is played both online and offline, with variations of the game available. It’s worth trying both online and offline options to find which one works best for you.

Winning Tricks is the Aim of the Game

In order to win the game, you want to win as many tricks as possible. The player who plays the highest card of the suit leads to winning the trick. By winning more tricks, you’re going to accumulate more points as a result.

Spades Involves both Strategy and Skill

When it comes to playing Spades, you want to have strategy and skill in mind. Planning your moves is something to consider carefully, from the cards you’re holding to the cards played by the other players. The bids being made are also something to consider.

By having both strategy and skill on hand, you’re more likely to be successful at this game.

It’s Important to Understand Bidding

Bidding is something to be aware of and how it’s influencing your gameplay in general. Being able to predict the number of tricks you need to win is something that takes time to get right. Before the start of each round, it’s worth considering your bids carefully before you proceed with placing your bids.

Failure to meet the bids you’ve set will result in penalties, which ultimately puts you at a disadvantage in general.

Spades Comes with its Own Lingo

In the game of Spades, much like many of the other games similar to this one, there’s a lot of lingo that’s personal to this game type. Players will often use a variety of phrases to describe certain actions or strategies.

Some of these phrases include ‘bagging out’ or ‘going nil’. An understanding of this lingo is important to have, especially when you’re trying to win the game.

There’s a History to Spades

For those who are brand new to the game of Spades, you may not know that this game was something that had been developed in the early 1900s in the US.

It’s Considered a Highly Sociable Game

Spades is a highly sociable game and one that’s built up quite the community both online and offline. It’s a game that brings people together and delivers friendly competition between those who play, whether in teams or individually.

There are plenty of sites, online forums, and social media communities that all love Spades. It’s definitely a great community and following that helps with strategizing and playing with fellow enthusiasts of the game.

There’s a Lot of Entertainment both for Amateurs and Professionals

Spades is a game that is played both in amateur and professional capacities. If you’re someone who finds a love for the Spades game, then you’ll definitely want to give it a go professionally. Professionally, you could enjoy the game and even compete for prizes of monetary amounts. There are hours of gaming to be enjoyed, regardless of whether you’re

Spades can be Hard to Naster

Spades are something that can take time and practice to perfect. In order to gain all of the necessary skills and strategies needed to be successful in Spades, it’s important to trial and error your efforts.

The Scoring System can Vary from Game to Game

It’s worth noting that there’s a scoring system, which varies from game to game. A common scoring method is typical for most but there might be an odd variation that has different scoring rules.

Good Communication is Required

A great benefit to Spades is that you’ll likely improve your communication skills, particularly when it comes to working with other players.


Hopefully, you’ll feel more like an expert than a beginner when it comes to the game of Spades. However, if you still think there are some gaps in your knowledge, here are some useful FAQs to explore.

What is the Highest Card in Apades?

The highest card in Spades is the Ace of Spades. There are games where you can play with Jokers and if that’s the case, then the highest card will be the red Joker. Spades are always the trumps, so it’s good to know this information.

What is Nil Referring to?

When it comes to the bidding phase of the game, a player can declare zero tricks. This is what’s referred to as a Nil bid. This means that the player believes they won’t win any tricks during the round.

You might find that you want to bid Nil without evening looking at the cards. Just remember that you are taking a risk by doing so. You may win more points or you could get penalized.

What is a Bag in Spades?

In some games, each trick that’s more than the initial bid is counted as a bag. Bags will contribute as a penalty, which is why it’s important to be aware of these when it comes to your score.

What is Overbidding and Wnderbidding?

As it’s been mentioned, overbidding is to win more tricks than your bid. It’s something that you want to avoid where possible but is the best option out of the two.

With underbidding, you win fewer tricks than your bid. This is a more impactful effect on your score, especially when it comes to incurring a penalty. Both are not ideal for your gameplay, so it’s important to be aware of them when it comes to the bidding part of the game.

How to Keep Score in Spades?

Scoring works between bidding and the tricks that have been won during the round. Every successful trick is likely to result in ten points, depending on the game variation you’re playing.

Keeping score is important, especially when it comes to tracking where you’re placing amongst other players.

Can you Play Spades with Jokers?

Yes, there are games where Spades involves Jokers. Jokers are added to the trump suit and as a result, the red Joker is considered the strongest of cards, followed by the black Joker. Ace of Spades is ranked as the third card and then the rest follows.

Where is the Best Place to Play Spades?

If you’re looking for a fun and free option to play Spades, then 247Spades is a great place to play.


DISCLAIMER: The games on this website are using PLAY (fake) money. No payouts will be awarded, there are no "winnings", as all games represented by 247 Games LLC are free to play. Play strictly for fun.