Strategies and Tips on Winning Spades: A Step-by-Step Guide

Strategies and Tips on Winning Spades: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here is the Ultimate Spades Step-by-Step Strategy Guide Everyone Should Know

Spades is the most popular trick-taking game of the Whist card game family. It’s fun, and anyone above seven could learn it without a hitch. But just because kids can start playing Spades in minutes doesn’t mean it’s a surface-level game that does not require strategies of any sort. In fact, you’d be surprised to know that any type of success in Spades requires keen observational and perception skills.

Learning all the strategies involved in Spades may take a long time, possibly years. However, it wouldn’t hurt to familiarize them and see which works right off the bat.

Step-by-Step Guide on Spades Strategy

The best thing about card games like Spades is that every match begins the same way. It’s played with the same standard deck of cards in every deal. That means the opening and, possibly, the closing strategies are pretty similar. In this guide, you will be taught tips on how to bid, play the right cards, and other techniques that might help you at various game stages.

Knowing How to Bid

The initial part of the Spades card game after the deal is to bid. “To bid” means to guess precisely the number of “tricks” or “rounds” you’re going to win. This is a critical part of the game since guessing it wrong either way has steep penalties. Any trick that’s gone over your bid (called “bags”) accumulates; and if it gets to ten, 100 points will be deducted from your score. “Bidding under” also costs points; ten points will be removed for each trick they bid.

Since bidding is such a crucial part of the game; here are some tips that should point you in the right direction:

  • If you have non-spade cards, always bet on an Ace. If you have an Ace and a King of the same suit, you can win two tricks right away. 
  • Only bet on your King if you have two or three more cards of the same suit. This way, you can “flush” the Ace using the lower-ranked cards and swoop in on the next trick by playing the King. This does not guarantee a win since someone may use a trump card, but the odds are heavily in your favor.
  • Like your bidding strategy centered on the King, you can only bet on a Queen if you have at least four lower-ranked cards to “flush out” the Kings and Aces. Even so, you must be careful with this strategy because it doesn’t always work out.
  • Betting on your trump cards, the Spades is an easier proposition. You may count against your bid if you have the 10 of Spades and higher. Even if you have lower-ranking Spades in your hand, you can still bet on them if you got six or seven of these. That’s because leading with a single Spade could help clear out all the other Spades in your enemies’ hands.
  • Remember that an Ace of Spades is an automatic win. If you have the Ace and King of Spades, you may tally those tricks already.

Play the Right Cards


In Spades, the player to the left of the dealer leads the first round. If it’s your turn to lead, the best move is to play an Ace (except the Ace of Spades) to get yourself going in the scoring column. This will keep the pressure on the opponents.

Now, if your cards are composed only of Queens or Jacks; the best strategy is to keep track of the cards and remember if the Kings and Aces are already on-board. This way, you can “hijack” a round by playing a Jack out of nowhere.

Another thing you must remember is to always be mindful of the bids and throws of your partner. If your partner, seated in front of you in a four-player game, tries to make a play, never intervene. At times, you may also have to “save” your partner if he is in danger of not completing a nil bid. (A “nil” or zero bid gives your team 100 points if successful.) The whole point is to play the cards with others in mind, be it your partner or your opponent.

More Spades Strategies

These strategies may be situational, but it should pay off knowing about them when you’re stuck in these circumstances.

  • Do not worry too much about bags. Taking an extra bag or two may not hurt, especially if it comes at the expense of not letting your opponents take their desired bid.
  • Plant seeds of doubt by starting out strong and aggressive. When you come out of the gates with force, it may cause your opponents to overthink.
  • To prevent a team from reaching 500 points, you can do the strategy called “cutting.” “Cutting opponents” means taking as many tricks as possible so that the opponents fall short of their bid and get penalized. This should work, especially if your bag count is low, and should only be done if you’re behind on points. If you have a high bag count, this could work out against you, and you’ll lose 100 points in the process.
  • As soon as leading with a Spade is legal, do not hesitate to lead with a trump card if you have a long suit of Spades. For example, if you have 7 trump cards in your hand, it’s usually a good idea to lead with a Spade. This strategy is called “flooding.” The idea is to force other players to lose a Spade so you can dominate the later rounds.
  • It’s usually better to use the middle-numbered Spades to trump and a lower-numbered Spade for “flooding.” When the strategy is to “flood” the Spades, you don’t necessarily want to win the trick. The goal is to force the opponents to let go of their higher-ranked Spades.

Why Bother Playing Spades?


Spades is popular for a reason and played by millions, online or not. In that same vein, you may find that playing online gives the best ever experience on a Spades for desktop and mobile because you don’t have to physically shuffle and deal the cards. If you are into learning and playing card game Spades quickly and conveniently, it’s highly recommended to go play online.

Apart from the fun, excitement, and time-passing elements this game can give you; it also provides many benefits you won’t even know. For our elderly companions, playing Spades is an excellent way to help sharpen cognitive functions and improve memory. The socialization involved should also help combat stress, and family bonds could develop even stronger after sitting for a couple of hours playing the card game.

In any case, as long as your family is looking for a wholesome way to pass the time or play a new card game on a Friday night, Spades should be at the top of your list.

Final Thoughts

There are more than a hundred ways to occupy your time on a dull weekend afternoon; but only a few are as beneficial as Spades. Not only does it nurture children’s math skills; but it could also do the seniors a lot of good by helping improve their memory and cognitive skills.

If you’re neither a toddler nor a senior, you may find mastering Spades strategies fascinating. It’s incredible to think that such a simple game could inspire Napoleon-like tactics and detective-like observation skills. Whatever you may find interesting in Spades; it couldn’t be denied that it provides wholesome fun and excitement for the whole family.

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