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Online Spades Strategy
Basic Spades Strategy

The object of spades is to get the maximum possible number of points per round and to be the first to reach the preset game point total. But how you get there is where the strategy comes in. You may not get all the best hands so the object is to prevent your opponents from getting their bids. Or depending on the circumstance make them get more than they bid to build up their bags total so they will lose 50 points or whatever the preset figure in the game is.

In partner spades you would watch to see what cards you partner is playing or throwing off so you could play or lead into them. When playing spades without a partner you need to keep your eyes on everyone at the table and play into the hands of the players that are trailing. This helps them but the object is to put the leader at a disadvantage. Don't be concerned about helping someone else catch up if playing this way holds the leader back. You win nothing for finishing in second. The object is to win. Too often players think about only what they can do. You need to think about what you can do to use the other players at your table to your advantage. Decent players will see you are trying to work with them to help either bring the leader back or allow yourselves to catch up.

Here are some examples of teaming up.

The leader is in position 1 and you are in position 4. You know the leader has no clubs left and you also know the player in position 3 has no clubs left. The leader had bid 4 tricks and has 2 so far. So you want to keep him from getting 2 more. So you lead a club. The leader now has to either trump it by playing a spade and worry about player 3 playing a higher spade on the hand or throw off a useless card and allow someone else to win this trick. A good player in position 3 would either play a higher spade or also through off allowing player 1 to keep the lead if the card player 2 played had no impact on the hand. If you won the trick you should then lead another club if you have one. You want to keep the leader in a bad position as much as possible.

The leader bid 4 tricks and has already won 3 with only 5 tricks left available in this hand. You feel sure he is holding good cards to be capable of winning at least 1 more. But he has 3 bags in the current game. So even though say you need 3 more yourself to hit your bid you would be better off throwing off on hands he is winning to try and put him over the limit and lose points because of it. The reasoning is simple. You are better off being behind by any number of points than having lost by 10. Make the game last when you are behind as long as you possibly can because you never know what can happen in the hands to come. I have seen many people 'give up' by their play when down a 100 or even only 50 points. Spades though can be a funny game. Things can change drastically in one hand if mistakes are made.

I couldn't even tell you how often I have been in last place by 40 or more points behind 3rd position and been the leader after 1 more hand. Just yesterday I was in a game set at 150 points. At one point I had a score in the negatives with the top 2 players both with over 100 points. I won that game and the person who had been in 3rd ahead of me finished in second. Spades is a skill and strategy game where anything can happen. Stay positive and stay focused and don't quit until the game is officially over!

Another trap not to fall into is to seek revenge on a player(s) during the game who did something that hurt your scoring. It's ok to get even when a situation presents itself which you will get lots of over time. But if you seek revenge it will only hurt your own chances of winning. Winning in itself is the ultimate in getting even. So play smart and try and keep your emotions in check.
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