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Spades is a trick-taking card game, similar to Hearts, Bridge, and Euchre. It is played with a traditional, 52-card French Deck and is most popular in the US, UK, and Canada. The objective is to estimate how many hands you can win based on the strength of your cards.

You can play Spades online with your family or friends. Try multiplayer games or practice for free in our training rooms. The game is available on any browser and device.

Find out more different game modes and custom options. Discover how to play along with common game terminology. You can check our interesting charts and video about Spades.

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  • Practice against computer in the training room.
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Spades Quick Tips

Below, we have some practical suggestions on how to play the Spades card game.

You can play spades in a variety of ways, but the most important aspect is the bidding.

If you are not a beginner, we recommend reading both the “how to play” and complete rules sections.

Pairs

Pairs is the most common game mode played by two teams of two. It is Played with a 52-Card French Deck, and Spades are always the trump suit. A Spade can only be played if a player has played them when they have no cards of the lead suit to contribute to the current bid (known as “Breaking Spades”).

Bidding and Scoring

At the start of each hand, each player is dealt 13 cards. After, each player makes a bid (starting to the left of the dealer) of how many tricks they intend to win over the course of the 13 trick hand.

– When a team successfully makes their bid, there are awarded 10 points per trick in that bid.

– Any tricks taken in addition to what was bid by the team are called “Bags”. Each bag adds one point to the team’s score. If they get 10 bags, a 100-point penalty is deducted from their score, and 10 bags are taken from their count.

– Should a team win fewer tricks than what they bid, the penalty applied is their bid times 10.

Additional Bidding Options

– Players may elect to not see the cards and Bid “Blind Nil”. A successful bid yields 200 points.

– Players may bid 0 tricks (a “Nil” bid). If they succeed, they are awarded 100 points.

 

Other game modes

Solo

In Solo mode (also known as “Cutthroat”), each player plays for themselves. Common Scoring and penalties are halved. 50-point penalty at 5 bags. Nil is worth 50 points.

Suicide

The Suicide variant – one team member must bid Nil while the other must bid 4 or greater.

Whiz

In Whiz mode (a variant of “Pairs”), each player must bid either the exact number of spades in their hand or Nil. No Blind Nils.

Mirror

Mirror (similar to “Whiz”), each player must bid the amount of Spades that they have in their hand. Players may only bid Nil of they have no Spades in their hand. No Blind Nils.

 

Other important tips and “how-to” for Spades:

How to bid on Spades, Card Odds, Popular questions, Point of view about Variations, Mastering Spades

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4. Different game modes available – Pairs, Solo, Mirror, Whiz and Suicide. Watch the video introduction.
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Video introduction

Game Terms

Vocabulary cheat sheet, synonyms and variations of Spades

For beginner spades players, the jargon alone can send you into a tailspin. Not to fear. The language of spades is easy to pick up, and before you know it, the craziest phrases will become second nature. Until then, our handy guide will steer you in the right direction.

Vocab cheat sheet

  • Bags

    penalties for taking in more tricks than you bid at the beginning of the round.

  • Bare

    having just one card of any given suit.

  • Bidding

    the number of tricks you predict or contact that you will take.

  • Blind Nil

    bidding zero tricks without looking at your hand.

  • Breaking Spades

    the first spade played in the game. When a player is out of the suit lead, that player may play a spade, trump the suit, and spades are officially broken. Spades can then be lead.

  • Card Counting

    keeping mental track of the cards used in each suit.

  • Flush Out

    to try to bring out a high card of a certain suit by playing a lower card of that suit.

  • Long Suit

    four or more cards of any given suit in your hand.

  • Nil

    a bid of zero tricks after looking at your hand.

  • Overbid

    any tricks you win over the initial amount you bid.

  • Renege

    using a spade, or card of another suit, when you have the ability to follow suit.

  • Round

    all four players put down a card and a trick is taken.

  • Set

    this refers to a team who isn’t making their bid or their nil, or who is bagging over the limit.

  • Short Suit

    fewer than three cards of any given suit.

  • Signal

    playing a card to subtly let your partner know what is left in your hand and how they should lead. This is especially handy when you and your partner both understand the science behind the game.

  • Slough

    playing a card to intentionally avoid taking a trick.

  • Straight

    cards of the same suit in a sequential pattern.

  • Throwing Off

    playing a card (not a spade) when you have the ability to follow suit.

  • Trick

    the four discarded cards of the round.

  • Trump

    generally refers to a spade played when a non-spade was lead, but can refer to any spade.

  • Underbid

    this refers to when you bid less than the amount of tricks you won.

  • Void

    being dealt zero cards of any given suit.

Synonyms in spades

Solo spades is often called “cutthroat”

Tricks are often called “books”

Bidding is sometimes referred to as “betting”

Slough is often called “dump”

Breaking Spades is sometimes called “cutting” or “ruffing”

Bags are sometimes called “sandbags”

Blind Nil is often called “double nil”

A bare is also sometimes called a “singleton”

Variations of spades

Over the years, many variations of spades have sprung up where players have added extra rules or unexpected trump cards to enhance the fun. Few of these variations are available in online play, but they’re crazy enough to be worthy of mention. Here are just some of them…

  • Bauer Trumps

    this is a special variation where the two highest trumps in the game are the jack of spades and the jack of clubs. They are referred to as the “right bauer” and “left bauer” respectively. The Bauer “I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful” “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me” Donald “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me” Trump variation is borrowed heavily from Euchre.

  • Boston

    this variation of spades allows a team to win outright if they “shoot the moon.” This means all 13 tricks are taken by one player or team.

  • Deuces High

    in this variation, the deuces of each suit are worth more than spades, making them trumps.

  • Jokers High

    in this variation, the two jokers in the deck become the main trumps of the game.

  • Mirrors (also sometimes called Whiz)

    in this variation, you bid only the exact number of spades you have been dealt. If you have no spades, you must automatically bid nil.

  • Spades for Three

    to accommodate a game of spades for just three players, you simply remove the two of clubs, and each player is dealt seventeen cards. Obviously, this variation must be played as singles.

  • Suicide

    this variation can only be played with pairs, and one player out of each pair must bid nil, no matter what cards they have.

So whether you’re tempted by playing free spades online.

Social and Community Benefits

 

Do you have a strategy you want to discuss with other passionate players?

– Visit our global chat or take part in the discussions on our social pages.

Our Social Features

  • Chat and express your opinion with people from all over the world;
  • Send or earn in-game drinks, emojis, chips and gifts
  • Collect likes and ratings from others for being a great player
  • Customise and share your own image gallery.

Check for updates in the VIP Spades Youtube channel where we are producing training videos, highlighting strategy guides and tutorials. For funny situations, news, quizzes and about our official spades tournament rules – visit the official blog.

VIP Spades continues to improve with new content and game features. See the latest news and changes in our channels. You can learn more about VIP Spades brand and company details. If you have any questions or suggestions, contact us.

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Latest Posts from our Official Blog

Check back at any time to get the latest news and the winning strategies of a classic game of Spades. We host a variety of topics and posts from long-time spades players and professionals.

How do I start playing?

Click on the room you wish to play in and our matchmaking system will search for more players. The algorithm will match four players, available for a game in the room you have selected. When everyone connects to the game successfully, the bets are taken and the game begins. Leaving a match in progress will result in a penalty.

What are Chips?

Chips are the virtual currency in VIP Spades – you can spend them on games, tournaments or to purchase gifts for other players.

How do I send gifts?

Find the user you wish to send a gift to, click on the avatar to see that user’s profile and click “Send Gift”. You will be presented with the list of available gifts and their corresponding prices in chips.

If you have more questions, please check our  official FAQ page.

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