[Editor’s Note: These rules come from an April 10, 2004 snapshot of my original website; While the websites to play on may no longer exist, the way to play has not changed.]

– Amrozi 27-July-2019

Suicides Spades was my favorite game to play. There used to be a great site to play on called MPlayer USA, but they have merged with GameSpy, and I don’t even want to get started about that. Then there was Mplayer-Europe and they closed. Then there was MPlayer-Asia, and they are no longer in existence.

Now there’s MPlayer-Arabia.com, and they are here to stay!! Check them out! (ED: Nope they closed too!)

If you’re looking for a fun game of Suicides Spades, look me up. I’m Amrozi (of course) and I also will play regular spades, mirrors, or even that Blind Nil version of spades. Or if you run into BugPatrol or Babbles40, grab them as a partner because they kick arse :)

Here’s information on how to play regular spades. The variation rules (Spades, Mirrors, Blind Nil) are at the very bottom of this page.

Object of Spades

You win by achieving the highest score, through a process of bidding and adding of points by winning “tricks” and making your “contract”.

Overview

Spades uses a standard 52-card deck. Within each suit, the cards are ranked from lowest to highest: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A. Spades is played with two to four players. The Spades suit is always trump. That means any Spade will win over any card of any other suit. Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds all have equal value below Spades. So, the 2 of Spades has a higher value than the Ace of any other suit.

The Rules: Bidding

The game begins with a single round of bidding. The goal of bidding is to predict correctly the number of tricks you will win. A trick is a set of four cards, one card from each player. Players examine their cards and bid the number of tricks they think they can win in that hand.

Players may also bid “Nil” or “Blind Nil”. You now have a “contract” which you must fulfill by getting the number of tricks you bid. A bid of Nil means the player will try not to win any tricks at all. A successful bid of Nil earns substantial bonus points if it is made, and substantial penalty points if it is set. A bid of Blind Nil doubles these points, but players can bid Blind Nil only before examining their hands. The bidding round is completed when each player has made a bid.

The Rules: Playing

The goal is to make your contract. You make a contract by winning or losing tricks. That is, if you have bid high, you want to win tricks. If you’ve bid low, you want to lose tricks to your opponents. The highest card played in either the trump or the suit led wins tricks. The person who leads off a round determines the suit led. So if, for example, the player who leads off a round plays a 10 of Hearts, then Hearts is the suit led. Play then proceeds clockwise. Each player in turn must follow suit–that is, play another card of the suit led. If a player holds no cards of the suit led, that player may play any card she or he chooses. The trump suit is always spades. The highest card in the trump suit always wins the trick. If no trump cards are played, the trick goes to the highest card of the suit led.

The Rules: Scoring

Once all 13 tricks have been played, the score is tallied. Each trick is worth ten points, so a contract of six is worth 60 points if completed. Remember, the number of tricks bid at the beginning of the round determines the value of each contract. If a contract is set by winning fewer tricks than was bid, the player is penalized the entire value of that contract (or 60 points, in the above case). If a contract is set by winning more tricks than was bid–called bags–the player receives the value of their contract, plus one additional point per bag. In the above case, if seven tricks were won, the player would receive 61 points. Their penalty for going over their bid is to receive one point per bag.

A Bag point by itself has no value. However, these Bag points accumulate. When you accumulate ten bag points, you are penalized 100 points. Once the points are deducted, the bags are emptied. Making a Nil bid is worth 100 points, and making a Blind Nil bid is worth 200 points. These bids bring with them 100-point and 200-point penalties, respectively, if they are set (that is, if the player who bid Nil or Blind Nil is forced to take a trick during the hand). The first player to reach the maximum number of points, typically 500, wins the game. If two players go over in the same hand, the player with the higher score wins. The game will also end if a player finishes a round at or below the minimum number of game points, typically -200.

Bidding Strategies

Spades are trump, and therefore will win over cards of the other suits. Therefore, the Ace of Spades is a guaranteed trick. Having many trump means you will have extras after other players have run out, and this may result in extra tricks you can take. Aces in other suits are likely to take tricks, especially if played in the first round of that suit. Once a few rounds have gone by, players are more likely to be out of that suit, and can then play trump. The total number of tricks bid by all four players is important. If the number of tricks bid comes exactly to 13, then one extra trick taken by you will set the opponents. On the other hand, if the bids are very low, there will be overtricks and the corresponding penalty points. Play your hand so that your opponents get stuck with the bags and not you.

Playing Strategies

If you have bid high and need to take extra tricks, you can try to short-suit your hand. Then you can play trump the next time that suit is led. Nil Strategies: If one of your opponents bid Nil, you must reverse your strategy. Lead low in order to force the Nil player to take a trick. If he has the highest card showing on the table, make sure you don’t play higher or trump the trick. Watch for any suits he is out of, and avoid those. Do not give him any opportunities to discard his high cards if possible.

Suicides

Suicides is my favorite version of Spades. Every round one partner will bid and the other will Nil. Example, if it is your turn to bid before your partner, you can decide wether you want to bid or Nil, your partner will then do the opposite of you. So if you Nil, your partner will bid, and if you bid, your partner will Nil. But watch out, if your partner bids first, make sure you nil, and if they nil make sure you bid!

Mirrors

Mirrors is an easy version of Spades. All you need to do is make your bid amount equal the amount of spades you have. So if you are dealt 7 spades, you will bid 7, if you are dealt 0 spades, you Nil. The total bid of all 4 players each round will equal 13.

Blind Nil

This Blind Nil version of spades is the easiest to bid but the hardest to win. Everyone bids Blind Nil, it’s that simple. The hard part is getting your nil. You know that there is always 1 person who will not get their nil since they will have the A of spades, and hopefully that person will cover you 🙂 It’s not a real favorite of mine, but it’s something different to try 🙂

Partners

It also helps if you have an excellent spades partner. It appears Michigan is over-flowing with people that know how to play spades. If you see Babbles40 or BugPatrol in your travels, just ask them to play and you are sure to win your next game:)