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Basic Spades Rules

These are the rules that I played by at a recent tournament in Atlanta. I will let every table negotiate such things as "10 for 200" or blind bidding, but that is not in the official rules.

First dealer is chosen by card draw, Ace is high - highest card deals first. Person to dealer's right cuts the cards after dealer shuffles. Person to dealer's left bids and plays first.

Bid and play proceeds clockwise. Don't bid or play before your turn, as it is considered cheating (potential signal to your partner). We don't penalize in our fun play, but it will annoy the people you're playing with! In tournament play you are penalized.

First bid is made by eldest hand (player to the left of the dealer). Double Nil (Blind Nil) and "10 for 200" bids are not allowed. Each trick made in a successful combined partnership numerical bid is worth ten points. Nil bids are valued at 100 points. A Nil bid is a separate contract from a partner's numerical bid. Tricks taken by the Nil bidder (in a set Nil contract) do NOT count toward the partner's bid. Bags (tricks) taken by a defeated Nil hand count as Bags.

The opening lead is made by the Eldest Hand (player to the left of the dealer). Spades may not be led until the Spade suit is "broken" or the player on lead is "trump tight." Each player is responsible for raking and keeping their own books. This allows each player to track the # of tricks taken by any given bidder.

Misdeals occur only when players do not have 13 cards each after deal. Same dealer then reshuffles and redeals. There is no misdeal for not having spades in your hand. Don't let other people know you don't have spades! Consider it a grand opportunity to go NIL! Another misdeal is a dropped high spade (A, K, Q) that people see during the deal, as this gives too much info away. Cards are picked up, reshuffled, recut and redealt.

Revoke (nee Renege)
Failure to follow suit when possible constitutes a potential revoke.
A renounce situation occurs when a player determines that his/her play was incorrect, and corrects the play (follows the suit led) before the next trick is led. This is called a renounce and results in a penalty card ruling. Less of a penalty if you catch yourself and call yourself. The penalty card remains on the table and must be played at first opportunity.
An established revoke (Opponent called revoke) results in the loss of the bid of the offending side.
The opponents are credited with the value of their bid. Bags do not apply.

Play is to 500 points, -200 points or 10 dealt hands (high score at end of 10th hand wins). Depends on how much time we have and how many players want to rotate teams after a game.

Hope this helps with the basics. Just make sure the table you're playing with agrees on changes before you start. If you want to bid blind NIL, I'm not gonna stop you... ; ) I'll set you, but I won't stop your bidding it!

Full rules with point penalties (also spades tournaments to play at!!) are at:

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Basic Spades Rules May 27, 2008 4:19 PM Cathy S
First get together was fun! May 29, 2007 10:25 AM Cathy S
About The Dallas Spades Meetup Group August 8, 2014 4:26 PM David S.

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