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How to Play Spades: Spades Rules with Interactive Card Game Tutorial

Spades is a 4 player "trick-taking" game. It's a strategic game where you're playing with a partner. The game is playedby two teams of two people, with partners sitting across from each other.

The game's objective is to win as many rounds, also called tricks, and the team that first reaches 500 points wins!

The game might seem a bit complex at first, so you're excused if you find yourself thinking: "how do you play spades". Below, you'll find thorough instructions that will get you up to speed on how to play Spades. If you're more of a "learning by doing" type of person, you can learn the rules of spades by playing through our interactive tutorial above.

Once you've learned the rules, it's time to Play Spades Online. You can play directly at World of Card Games, either by yourself against bots or multiplayer with other people.

If you want to play Spades like a pro, you should have a look at out Spades Strategy Guide. It'll teach you lots of tips and tricks such as how to bid, when to set and how to best work as a team.

Let the Spades conquest begin!

How to play Spades - Interactive Spades rules tutorial screenshot

Rank of cards

Cards are ranked from Ace (highest) to 2 (lowest).


The objective is to be the first team to reach 500 points.


A random player is chosen to be the dealer.

Each player is dealt a hand of 13 cards from a standard deck of 52 cards.

The player to the dealer's left goes first.


Starting with the start player and proceeding clockwise around the table, each player places a bid. They are bidding on how many "tricks" they think they can take. Players may bid from 0 (nil) to 13 tricks.

Each team adds together the bids of each partner. This is the number of tricks the team must take as a whole to avoid receiving negative points.

A bid of 0 tricks is known as a "nil" bid. This player is saying that they will not take any tricks this hand. If they succeed in not taking any tricks, their team scores a bonus. If they take 1 or more tricks, they fail, and their team will receive a penalty.


The start player starts the trick by playing any card from their hand except Spades. The other players then each play a card in clockwise order until all 4 players have played a card. Whichever player played the highest card with the same suit as the lead card takes the cards. This is known as "winning a trick".

The trick winner starts the next trick.

Players must play a card with the same suit as the lead card. If they do not have a card with that suit, they may play any card (except on the first trick, in which you may not play Spades). The first time a Spade card is played is known as "breaking spades". From this point on, players can lead Spades.

Normally the highest card with the same suit as the lead card wins the trick. However, if a Spade is played on the trick, then the highest Spade card will win the trick instead. This is known as "trumping" and the Spades are considered a "trump" suit.


If your hand is guaranteed to win all remaining tricks, you will be presented with a TRAM button. This stands for "The Rest Are Mine". Clicking it will give you all the remaining tricks.

This is just a way to make the game move along a bit quicker. This option is only available if it is impossible for anyone else to take any tricks due to the cards you have in your hand (such as A, K, Q, J of spades).


After each hand, scores are calculated for each team.

If a team takes at least as many tricks as they bid, they will gain 10 points per trick bid. Every trick taken beyond their bid is worth 1 point.

If a team does not take enough tricks to meet their bid, they will lose 10 points per trick bid. This is known as being "set". For example, if a team's combined bid is ' and at the end of a hand, they only took 4 tricks between the two of them, then they will lose 50 points.

Additionally, for every trick taken beyond what the team bid, that team will earn a "bag". Over the course of the game, these bags accumulate. Every time a team accumulates 10 bags, that team will lose 100 points.

If a player bids "nil" and successfully does not take any tricks, then their team will gain 100 points.

If a player who bids "nil" fails and takes any tricks, then their team will lose 100 points.

Note that if a "nil" bidder fails and takes tricks, those tricks do NOT count towards the team goal. A "nil" bidder is on their own, and so is their teammate in regards to making the bid.

Game End

The game ends when any team reaches 500 points or falls to -200 points. The team with the highest score wins!


Spades were invented in the USA in the 1930s and became quite popular in the 1940s. Spades is a member of the Whist family of card games.

Helpful Links

Pagat.com Spades Page

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