Spades is a card game that has taken elements from Whist and Bridge. However, the game is trick-based, fast paced and can be completed in less than 20 minutes. It is a fast game that does require a team to work together to win each round and therefore, the game.
While the game may look and sound rather easy and simple, you do need strategies for winning at Spades. Also, there are numerous variations of the game, and that is why it is best to be prepared to play with a new strategy each time you decide to play Spades with a new group of people.
Here are some Spades strategies that will help you win when playing a game of Spades:
Remembers, your best chance of winning comes from bidding. Usually when the cards are dealt out in a normal manner, one team will end up getting 7 tricks, while the opposing team will get the balance 6 tricks. However, in Spades nothing is normal and one player may invariably end up with more cards from one particular suit than he or she requires. When you want to get a more or less accurate bid about your hand, you should try to play out the game in your mind. For instance, if you have an Ace and a King of Diamonds, but all other cards are low cards of the Diamond suit, the chances are very low that your King of Diamonds will last till the end of the second round. Jacks and Queens should be used to force your opponent to use his or her trump card as they rarely survive. So, the only cards basically you should be counting in your hand to win a trick is using Aces and Kings.
If you are not that confident about your abilities, then you should bid only what you are confident about. Count all the Aces and Kings of non-Spade suits and then take into consideration the Spades you have in your hand. Usually players take a ratio of 1:2, which means for every two Spades card that you have in your hand, you will get one cut. No doubt an Ace of Spade, which is the highest card, will allow you to win the trick, but for all other Spades stick to the 1:2 count. Remember, as you become accurate in your bidding, you will earn more points.
While playing Spades, you need to be very observant and vigilant. Look for signs of signaling, reneging and also communication between team members, as it is not allowed in the game. In order to win in the game, partners need to play as a team and in tandem. Therefore, players use all types of tactics to communicate with one another trying to tell what types of cards they are holding in their hand. So, be very observant as if you prove that the opposing team is using dubious methods to communicate with one another, politely ask them to refrain from it. Winning a game of Spades is difficult and if teams start using unfair game practices, it will become impossible to win.
The first few rounds of Spades are quite predictable. You will see that the lead player throws a high card that is not of the trump suit and all other players discard their low cards of the same suit. However, after these rounds, the game becomes extremely strategic. They will start employing methods of cut and throw off. A hand can be cut when a player does not have the same suit that is being played. Instead, he or she decides to cut the hand using a trump card and ends up winning the round. A throw off means that the player does not have the same suit that is being played, so rather than using a trump card, he or she discards another low card of a different suit and allows their partner’s high card to take the win. So, you should know when to cut and when to throw off as this can make a big difference in you or your partner winning the hand. For example, if your partner throws a high value card, instead of cutting, you should resort to throw off. Likewise, if your partner does not pay attention to the cards that have already gone, then you may want to go for cutting. In addition, in the initial rounds if you have to cut, use your low value trump cards like a 2 or 3. These should be sufficient to win the hand.
In Spades, it is extremely important to keep track of your opponents' cards. For instance, if your opponent throws a high value non-trump card in the initial rounds of the game, the possibility is very high that he or she will start cutting very soon. Sometimes, this can be used as a ruse to confuse the opposite team, but in general if a player knows that the opposite team is going to win, they will automatically throw low value cards. However, if you are left with no other option, you will have to throw a high value face card earlier than you anticipated. One way to catch whether your opponent is set to cut is by throwing a Queen early on. Usually Queens do not guarantee you a hand, but it could force your opponent to trump it.
These are some of the strategies that can help you win in Spades. As you go along and observe other players playing, you will learn many more strategies that you can practice and master with time.