Meet and greet at 4:45 and the playing begins at 5.
Get here earlier if you need to eat.
We normally sit between the bar and bathroom (well, we do) in groups of 4 or 6. Spades starts around the appointed time, with folks often arriving earlier and having dinner.
Don't worry if you're not very familiar with how to play; most of us are not very competitive and will often play a 'dummy round' to encourage newcomers. We also encourage tipping $2-3, each, after the game for the very patient servers. We make a mess and try to take care of us.
There are many variations on the rules. There are regional variations, family/home styles, but we have to set a standard so we can get through the evening without too much wailing and gnashing of teeth. So...
Games are to 500 points. Teams of two bid how many tricks they will take. 10 points for each trick bid and made plus one point for each 'bag' but you lose 100 points if you take 10 bags.
Bidding 'nil' (0 tricks individually) will net you 100 points if you make it and -100 if you are 'set' (forced to take a trick). Bidding 'Blind nil' is allowed if your team is at least 200 points behind the next highest team. One player agrees to the bid and you and your partner may exchange two cards before bidding.
Table Talk: We try to discourage table talk., i.e. telling or hinting at what your partner should play or bid. Discussion of strategy before you see your respective hands is fine; examples of such often include agreeing that it's more important to set your opponents than to make your bid or agreeing one of you will bid blindly.
Bidding 10 (as a team, often called "Ten for two" in four handed, but not six handed) is worth 200 points, but you have to state your intention to do so.
And you may not change your bid after the next player has bid.
Speaking of 6-handed, we have our own version played with two decks (minus the 2 of clubs or diamonds) that is a lot of fun. So when only 6-people RSVP, never fear, all will play! It is a very social game. We will gladly explain the rules as needed.