Tournament Spades

Spades is a plain-trick game in which spades are always trump. It is most often played as a partnership game by four players.  The four players are in fixed partnerships, with partners sitting opposite each other. Deal and play are clockwise.

A standard pack of 52 cards is used. The cards, in each suit, rank from highest to lowest: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

The first dealer is chosen at random, and the turn to deal rotates clockwise. The cards are shuffled and then dealt singly, in clockwise order beginning with the player on dealer's left, until all 52 cards have been dealt and everyone has 13.


·         In Spades, all four players bid a number of tricks.

·         Each team adds together the bids of the two partners, and the total is the number of tricks that team must take in order to get a positive score.

·         The bidding begins with the player to dealer's left and continues clockwise around the table.

·         Everyone must bid a number, and in theory any number from 0 to 13 is allowed. Unlike other games with bidding, there is no requirement for each bid to be higher than the last one, and players are not allowed to pass.

·         There is no second round of bidding - bids once made cannot be altered. Example: South deals; West bids 3; North bids 1; East bids 4; South bids 4. The objective of North and South is to win at least 5 ticks (4+1), East and West try to win at least 7 (4+3).

The Play of the Hand

·         The player to dealer's left leads any card except a spade to the first trick.

·         Each player, in turn, clockwise, must follow suit if able; if unable to follow suit, the player may play any card.

·         A trick containing a spade is won by the highest spade played; if no spade is played, the trick is won by the highest card of the suit led.

·         The winner of each trick leads to the next. Spades may not be led until either

o       some player has played a spade (on the lead of another suit, of course), or

o       the leader has nothing but spades left in hand.

Playing the first spade is known as "breaking" spades.


·         A side that makes their bid scores 10 points for each trick bid and an additional point for each additional trick (overtrick) taken.

·         If a side does not make its bid (gets set), they lose 10 points for each trick they bid.


Advancing winners: Two or more tables being played.

·         Four hands are played in each round. 

·         One player keeps the table’s bids and scores for the round.

·         Scores are achieved by each team for each round but are kept individually. 

·         Each player records their side’s score for that round on his/her own score sheet.

·         At the end of each round, the side with the higher score for that round advances to the next table. (See Rotation below)

·         Upon advancement, the incoming partners split and join with the sitting partners, so that they make 2 new couples.

·         Play continues until the pre-determined number of rounds has been played.

·         The individual(s) with the highest score wins.  Some games may award prizes for high player or high male and high female players. 

Rotation and Seating

Advanced Options:  (these options are typically only used for 500 point rounds and are not used for four hand rounds and splitting partners)


Standard Tournament Play: 


Going Nil: