Spades Information

Spades is a partnership trick-taking card game devised in the United States in the 1930s, in which the object is for each pair or partnership to take at least the number of tricks they bid on before play began. Spades is a descendant of the Whist family of card games, which also includes Bridge, Hearts, and Oh, Hell. Its major difference as compared to other whist variants is that, instead of trump being decided by the highest bidder or at random, the spade suit is always trump, hence the name.

The first dealer is chosen by a draw for high card, and thereafter the deal passes to the dealer's left after each hand. The dealer shuffles, and the player to the right is given the opportunity to "cut" the cards to prevent the dealer stacking the deck. The entire deck is then dealt face-down one card at a time in clockwise order .

Each player decides how many tricks he will be able to take. The player to the left of the dealer starts the bidding and, in turn clockwise, each player states how many tricks he expects to win. There is only one round of bidding. Every player must make a bid; no player may pass and the minimum bid is one. As Spades are always trump, no trump suit is named during bidding as with some other variants. A common variant borrowed from the related game Oh Hell is that the sum of all bids must not equal the number of tricks to be played. This ensures that at least one player or team will be set or be forced to take an overtrick. Another game variation allows each player to optionally increase their bid by one point after all players have bid but before game play starts. A reduction in bid, once bids are made, is never allowed.

Wikipedia, Spades, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spades (as of Apr 11, 2010)

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