Individual Spades Rules

The Deal and Bidding

If your game is individual spades, each player is dealt 13 cards and bids a number of tricks they think they will take. Each player must make his own tricks without help of a partner. Players can also bid nil which means they expect to take zero tricks are blind nil which is zero tricks without even looking at their cards first!

Playing the Round

Once all of the bids are placed, the player to the left of the dealer begins by throwing any card except a spade. Play continues clockwise and each player must follow suit. If a player is unable to follow suit he or she can play any card. If a no spades are played, then the trick is won by the highest card of the suit that was led. If someone breaks spades, the trick is won by the highest spade played. Important: spades may not be led until a player has either broken spades or the leading player has nothing but spades in his hand.

Whoever wins the first trick, leads out for the second. Whoever wins the second leads out for the third, so on and so forth.

Tallying Up the Score

Once all the cards are played, the round is over and each player tallies his score.

If a player makes at least as many tricks as he originally bid, he earns 10 points per trick. If the player earned any tricks more than he bid, these are called bags and count as one point. So if a player bid 4, and won 5 tricks, his score would be 41. (4 tricks earned x 10) + 1 bag.

Be careful with bags. Once a player has reached 10 bags they lose 100 points from their score. Once the player reaches 20 bags, another 100 points come off the score. Every 10 bags costs another 100 points!

If a player does not get enough tricks to make their bid, they lose 10 points for every trick they originally bid. So if a player bid 5 and does not make it, he deducts 50 points from his score.

If you bid nil and succeed in taking 0 tricks, you earn 100 points. If you fail and end up taking a trick, then 100 points are deducted from your score.

Blind nil is twice as valueable...or dangerous. Going blind nil (going nil before viewing your hand) is worth 200 points if you succeed but -200 if you fail. Players can only go blind nil if they are down by at least 100 points. This is truly a desparate gambling tactic that can pay off big dividends or seal your fate.

Spades is usually played until a score of 200 or 500 is reached depending on how long you want the game to last.

The player who reaches the agreed score first, wins. If more than one player reaches the agreed upon set point on the same deal, the higher score wins.