How to Play Spades


Thank you Twitter for this guide.

since y’all parents and uncles and aunties failed tf outta you, i’m gonna teach you losers how to play spades. everyone tends to play it a little different so i’m gonna start with the basics and add on extra shit at the end.

alright so first the basics: it’s a four person game, you and a teammate, and the other team also consisting of two people. there is NO COMMUNICATING with your partner once each round starts. that means no talking/hand gestures/taps/etc. taken VERY seriously.

it’s also all about TRUST. you need a teammate that can sense when you’re about to make a play, and vice versa. more on those plays later. let’s get into the deck.
52 cards are used in the game. All the regular cards MINUS the 2 of Hearts/2 of Clubs. They are replaced by the two JOKER cards. One being the “Big” joker, the other the “Lil” joker.

The Power Structure is as follows:

-Big Joker – strongest in the game, beats everything
-Lil Joker – second strongest, beats all EXCEPT Big Joker
-2 of Diamonds
-2 of Spades (these will both confuse you for the first few times you play, trust me 💀)

-A of Spades
-King of Spades
all the way down to 3 of Spades, beat all other suits. Only thing that beats a Spade is a higher Spade, 2 of Diamonds, Big/Lil Jokers.

But here’s the thing: spades can’t be used until somebody “Cuts” (runs out of another suit)

So let me show some game play
(this game is available in the app store if you wanna practice)
once the dealer passes out 13 cards to each player, the team the dealer is NOT on makes their bids first, estimating how many BOOKS they can win. A Book is when you win a round. How many of the 13 rounds do you think you can win? your # + teammates, that’s your bid.

there’s almost always a BOARD. A board is the LEAST amount you can bid, usually 4/5 books. So even if both you and your teammate think you can’t get ANY books, the lowest your can bid is “Board”
When you all decide how many books you think you can win, you start. The person to the left of the dealer pops it off, always. You can throw out any card of any suit EXCEPT SPADES, remember, you can’t throw out spades until someone CUTS.
here, my teammate LEAD (knowing what card lead, which is the first card thrown out each ‘round’ is very important) with a club, so now everyone has to throw out a club. If your teammate goes high, you go low. if the other team throws out high and you can’t beat, go low.

the reason you wanna go as low as possible is because it’s very possible that you could win a book with a 10 or a 9 (you’ll hear people say “wow, that 10 walked” meaning it won) so get rid of your 3/4/5s etc

(this app doesn’t use 2s correctly)

here, my teammate lead with a ❤️, so everyone has to throw out a ❤️. BUT WAIT! i don’t have any ❤️s left that means i get to CUT with a spade & because i’m the first to cut, i know they won’t cut higher (use a bigger spade) so i can use a low one to win. i used the 3 & won

downside after making the first cut, you’ve opened the floodgates, so anyone can LEAD with a spade. If you have a lot of spades in your hand, leading with spades is a great way to make the other team use theirs (but also your teammate too, so be careful) also can lead to reneging
reneging is when you cut with a spade but you still have all the suits in your hand. so say the other team throws out a 4 of ❤️ and you cut it thinking you didn’t have any ❤️s but turns out you did, that’s reneging, you’re now a renegger (if you’re not black don’t say it thx)
reneging results in losing books you’ve already won (most of the time 3 books) but ONLY IF YOURE CAUGHT 😉 so if you realize you did it, and nobody catches it, just keep going, keep that poker face STRONG. And don’t admit it after, cause people will watch closer. keep it secret.
So as you play through the 13 rounds, you end making (or not making) your book bid. if you make your bid, let’s say 7 books, you get 70 points. if you lose, you lose 70 points. if you make over your book bid, those are called sandbags (not everyone plays with sandbags)
so say, again, you bid 7 books, but you guys get 9, that means you have 2 sandbags. you get your 70 points for making your book bid, and 2 points, 1 for each sandbag. so now your score is 72. sandbags seem harmless but if you rack up 10, you lose 100 points, so BE CAREFUL.
also, if you keep getting sandbags, it means you or your teammate or both, aren’t bidding properly. look at your hand closer at the start of the game. if you know you usually get one more book than your bid, bid one book higher. it’s a different of 10 points.
if you’ve found yourself more than 100 points behind the other team, your team and bid BLIND. a blind bid is when you bid without looking at your cards, and if you get that bid, you get double points.
so say the score is 250 them, 120 us
we can bid blind, we’d say “blind 6” meaning, without looking at our cards, we think we can win 6 books, to get 120 points instead of 60 for a regular bid.
failing to get your book bid means you’re “SHOT”, and you lose the points. getting shot twice back to back ends the game, you lose.
that’s really the jist of it. games usually go until 500, can be more or less, & last about 45 min. they’re super fun, super competitive, there’s been fights at family bbqs over spades games lmaoo niggas do not play.
and don’t hate on people who tell you to watch first, it really can be hella confusing. sit behind someone and QUIETLY ask questions, watch younger people we ain’t as uptight about talking (as long as it’s not teammate to teammate)