Spades - Card Game
Spades is a card game with a twist, a great mix of risk-taking and strategy. Spades is also called Call Bridge, because of its similarities with the game of Bridge, which includes the fact that Spades is also played by teams of two players. But one of the biggest differences between the games is that in Spades, only the spade suit is the trump always, unlike in Bridge where trump is either decided randomly or by bidding. An important point to note is that before you begin to play each team has to make a bid on the minimum number of tricks that they will win. So the objective of the game is to win the minimum number bids that you have bid.
Invented in Ohio, USA, during the 1930s, Spades only became popular during the 40s. Brought to the rest of the world by the military, Spades was simpler than Bridge and more flexible than Poker, made it an instant hit. Recently it was revealed that Spades is the most popular game in the United States, though Bridge, Poker, Hearts and other card games outrun it in terms of popularity in several other countries.
How to play Spades
Now if you are still not convinced that Spades is easy to learn, then read on. To begin with, Spades is usually played by four people, making two groups of two each. A standard deck of 52 cards is used, where you can choose to play with or without the joker. Remember Spades suit is always trump, so that nullifies the value of all other suits. A point to note here is that within these suits, the suit of the card that led in the current trick beats all other suits, except of course the trump. Ranking order is from Ace to 2, and another key objective of the game is to simply score the most number of points. This can be done by winning the number of the tricks you bid, before the game began.
To choose the first dealer, take a draw of cards, and the person holding the highest card is chosen. After this the deal then moves clockwise from the first dealer. After the person to the right of the dealer has cut the cards, the entire pack is dealt to the players, face down. Then the bidding begins, remember that a team needs to make a bid, the lowest being one. Now there are many variations and rules to the type of bidding allowed, a quick read through these rules is important before you begin playing. Look up any book on card games, or even the internet and you will find a lot of information.
Now to begin play, the player to the left of the dealer starts the opening lead and places a single card on the table. Now in case another player wants to trump a trick, then the only way you can lead with a Spades is if a Spade has already been used to trump that trick. The highest value card player in the round takes the trick. In case of more than one trumps, the highest trump wins. Thus eventually after the final trick is played, all the tricks are counted, with the teams summing their individual player tricks. For each trick within the bid number, 10 points are awarded, and for all tricks over the bid number only 1 point is provided. Now a pre-set count, agreed by the parties before playing, is the number of total points required to win, so the team which gets there first wins the game.
The game really is easy, fun to play and a great way to get comfortable with cards. You will soon be able to graduate to harder games such as Rummy, Bridge and others. So don?t stop to think, go get your own deck of cards and start playing Spades.