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How to Play Spades Online.
When playing spades online there can be variations from the regular style. You can still play spades with a partner but you can also play solo spades, (every person for themselves) both in 4 and 3 handed. The object of the game of spades is to be the first to a point total that is set before the game starts. This point total can vary from 100 points on up to about 500. The higher the preset point total the more skill it takes to win the game.
4 Handed Solo Spades
When all positions at the table are occupied the game begins. The dealer deals out all 52 cards from the deck. This is the equivalent of 13 'tricks' (4 players into 52 cards = 13 cards each). The person directly to the left of the dealer is the first to 'bid', followed in order by the other 3 players. The total bid of all 4 players can total more than the 13 tricks available (called an 'overbid') or less than 13 (called an 'underbid') or be exactly 13. You are bidding on how many tricks you will take in this round. Once the bidding is done the first round of spades begins.
The weakest card in each suit is the 2 and the strongest is the Ace. The only thing that can beat an Ace is a spade and the ace of spades is the strongest card in the deck and cannot be beaten. So the order of card strength for hearts, diamonds and clubs is:
2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K,A, 2 of spades, 3 of spades, 4 of spades, etc. up to the A of spades.
You must always follow 'suit' in the game though. Meaning if a club was lead you must play a club if you have one in your hand, or a heart on heart etc. You cannot play a spade if you have a card in your hand of the suit that was lead.
Bidding and Points
Before play starts you must bid on how many of the 13 available tricks you expect to win. This is a crucial point in the game. You want to be as exact as possible as each trick has a value of 10 points. Any extra tricks you win above the number you bid (these are called 'bags') is only worth 1 point and if during the game you total 5 bags you lose 50 points. Also if you win fewer tricks than you bid you lose a total of 10 points for every trick that you bid.
You bid 4 in a round but only win 3 tricks your score for that round is minus 40.
You bid 4 in a round and win 5 tricks your score for that round would be plus 41
You bid 4 and win 4 your score for the round would be plus 40.
These 'round' scores are then added or subtracted, depending on how you did, to your total game score. The game is over when one person hits or surpasses the preset game score at the end of any round. If 2 players tie for the highest score an extra round is played that includes all game players to determine the winner. If there is still a tie after the extra round, yet another round would be played.
To get a good score from a lousy hand you have another option. That is to bid nil or zero. This means you do not want to take any tricks at all. If you are successful you earn bonus points which are also set pregame. Often this is 50 points. But if you take even one trick when bidding nil you will lose that bonus point total for that round. In other words you would score minus 50 in that round.
How to win a trick
The first person to bid is also the first person to play a card. Any card can be lead but not a spade until spades have been 'broken' (a spade has already been played). The first spade can only be played if you have nothing but spades left in your hand, or a suit other than spades was lead that you have none of (eg: a heart was lead and you only have spades, diamonds and clubs in your hand). The person who plays the highest card of the lead suit or plays the highest spade wins the trick.
Player one leads ace of diamonds. Player two plays the 6 of diamonds, player three plays the 4 of diamonds and player four plays the 2 of diamonds, player one would win the trick with ace high.
Player one leads ace of diamonds. Player two plays the 6 of diamonds, player three plays the 4 of diamonds and player four plays the 2 of spades, player four would win the trick because he trumped the hand with the 2 of spades.
Player one leads ace of diamonds. Player two plays the 6 of diamonds, player three plays the 4 of spades and player four plays the 2 of diamonds, player three would win the trick because he trumped the hand with the 4 of spades.
Player one leads ace of diamonds. Player two plays the 6 of diamonds, player three plays the 4 of spades and player four plays the 6 of spades, player four would win the trick because he trumped the hand and played a higher spade than player 3 did.
That in a nutshell is how you play spades. Choose you game. Bid each round for the number of tricks you expect to win. Try to win the exact number of tricks you bid but better to win an extra one than not win enough. Add the round points to your total score and continue playing rounds until the preset game score is reached and a winner declared.
Partner Spades is played the same way except now you are playing as a team against the other 2 players. The only real difference is that your score is based on reaching the total number of tricks called between partners and not you alone. In other words if you win 1 less trick than you bid but your partner won 1 more than they bid your total trick count would still be reached. The other difference is all in strategy.
For Online Spades strategy click here.
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