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|Alternative names||Call Bridge|
|Players||4 (standard) to 6|
|Skills||Card counting, tactics|
|Rank (high→low)||A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2|
|Playing time||90 min.[ citation needed ]|
|Bid Whist • Contract Bridge • Tarneeb • Oh Hell|
Spades is a trick-taking card game devised in the United States in the 1930s. It can be played as either a partnership or solo/"cutthroat" game. The object is to take the number of tricks (also known as "books") that were bid before play of the hand 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 always trumps, hence the name.
Spades was devised in the Mid-West of the United States in the late 1930s.Bridge author, George Coffin ascertained that it originated in Cincinnati between 1937 and 1939. The game is descended from Whist and is closely related to Bridge, Pinochle and Euchre. It appears like a simplification of Contract Bridge such that a skilled Spades player can learn Bridge relatively quickly (the major additional rules being dynamic trump, the auction, dummy play, and rubber scoring).
The game's rise to popularity in the U.S. came during World War II, when it was spread by soldiers traveling around the globe. The game's popularity in the armed forces stems from its simplicity compared to Bridge and Euchre and the fact that it can be more easily interrupted than Poker, all of which were also popular military card games. After the war, veterans brought the game back home to the U.S., where due to the GI Bill it spread to and became popular among college students as well as in-home games.It also remained widely popular in countries in which U.S. troops were stationed, both in WWII and later deployments.
The first dealer is chosen by a draw for "first spade" or "highest 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 (with four players, each player should receive 13 cards).The players then pick up their cards, verify the correct count of the cards, and arrange them as desired (the most common arrangement is by suit, then rank).
A misdeal is a deal in which all players have not received the same number of cards or a player has dealt out of turn. A misdeal may be discovered immediately by counting the cards after they are dealt, or it may be discovered during play of a hand. If a single card is misdealt and discovered before players in question have seen their cards the player that is short a card can pull a card at random from the player with an extra card. Otherwise a hand is misdealt, the hand is considered void and the hand must be redealt by the same dealer (unless the reason for the redeal is the hand was dealt out of turn).
Each player bids the number of tricks they expect to take. The player to the left of the dealer starts the bidding, and bidding continues in a clockwise direction, ending with the dealer. As Spades are always trump, no trump suit is named during bidding as with some other variants. A bid of "zero" is called "nil"; players must bid at least one if they don't want to bid "nil" (see below).
In partnership Spades, the standard rule is that the bids by the two members of each partnership are added together.
Two very common variants of bidding are for a player or partnership to bid "blind", without having looked at their cards, or to bid "nil", stating that they will not take a single trick during play of the hand. These bids give the partnership a bonus if the players exactly meet their bid, but penalizes them if the players takes more or fewer. A combined bid of two "blind nil" is usually allowed and is worth both the blind and nil bonuses or penalties. In some variants, the player bidding nil passes one or two of their cards (depending on the variant rules) to their partner and receives an equal number of cards back from said partner. Nil passing may be allowed only in the case of a blind nil. Usually teams must be down by 100 points to bid blind nil.
Each hand consists of a number of tricks; a four-handed game consists of thirteen tricks using all fifty-two cards. The player on the dealer's left makes the opening lead by playing a single card of their choice.Players in clockwise fashion then play cards of their choice. They must follow suit if possible; otherwise they may play any card, including a trump spade. Once a card has left the hand of a player, it stands and cannot be retrieved unless the player who threw the card makes an effort to correct his mistake before the next player lays down a card.
A common variant rule, borrowed from Hearts, is that a player may not lead spades until a spade has been played to trump another trick.This prevents a player who is "long" in spades (having a large number of them) from leading spades one after the other at the beginning of the hand to deplete them and thus prevent other players using them as trumps. The act of playing the first spade in a hand is known as "breaking spades", derived from its parent rule, "breaking hearts". When a player leads with a spade after spades has been broken, the other players must follow suit.
Another common variant rule, also borrowed from Hearts, is that a player cannot lead spades in the first trick.
The trick is won or taken by the player who played the highest card of the led suit; if trumps were played, the highest trump card wins.The player who wins the trick gathers the cards up into a facedown arrangement that allows players to count the number of tricks taken. The contents of each trick can not be viewed after this point, except to determine whether a player reneged. The number of tricks a player has won cannot be disguised; if asked, each player must count out his tricks until everyone has agreed on the "trick count". The player who wins any given trick leads the next. Play continues until all players have exhausted their hands, which should occur on the same (last) trick. Otherwise, it is declared a misdeal.
A partnership reneges on their contract if they violate the rules of play; most often this happens when a player plays offsuit when he could have—and therefore should have—followed suit. This may not be noticed until later in the game.
Common penalties for reneging are for the reneging player to automatically lose their bid, or for the reneger to have three tricks added to their bid as a penalty, meaning that the team may still make contract but must take three additional tricks to do so. It does not matter whether the player reneged on purpose.
Once the final trick is played, the hand is then scored. Many variants for scoring exist; what follows is the basic method. All players must align tricks earned from time played consecutively to last hand
Once a hand is completed, the players count the number of tricks they took and, in the case of partnerships or teams, the members' trick counts are summed to form a team count.
Each player's or team's trick count is then compared to their contract. If the player or team made at least the number of tricks bid, 10 points for each bid trick are awarded (a bid of 5 would earn 50 points if made). If a team did not make its contract, it was "set" and 10 points for each bid trick are deducted from the team's score (e.g.: six bid and any number less than six taken results in minus 60 points).
If a player/team took more tricks than they bid, a single point is scored for each overtrick, called an "overtrick", "bag" or "sandbag" (a bid of 5 tricks with 6 tricks taken results in a score of 51 points).
To this contract score, players add bonuses earned and subtract penalties assessed based on whether the player successfully did or failed to do any of the more specific things they said they would in the bidding phase. Many variants exist that award or penalize according to certain behaviors; they are covered below. For the basic Nil and blind bids, points are awarded as follows:
|Bid made||If bid met exactly||If player took fewer||If player took more|
|Double Nil||400 or Game||N/A||0 or −200|
|Double Blind Nil||800 or Game||N/A||0 or −400|
Though some variant bonuses or penalties are based on the contract score, normally a bonus or penalty does not affect and is not affected by any other bonus or penalty, or the contract score. As a result, a partnership can have a net positive score even if they failed to make their contract. For instance, if one player successfully made a Nil bid, but their partner bid 5 tricks and only took 4 tricks, the partnership still gets the bonus which is represented as −50 points + 100 points = 50 points. Conversely, a partnership can have a net negative score in much the same way; if a player failed a nil bid but the partnership bid and took 5 tricks, the net score is −50 points.
If a Nil bid is set, most tournament rules dictate that the overtricks make the nil invalid.
A common scoring variant is designed to penalize players for underestimating the number of tricks they will take, while at the same time not removing the possible strategy of intentionally taking overtricks, or "bags", in order to "set" the other team. This is accomplished by keeping track of bags in the ones place on the scorecard, and assessing a 100-point penalty when 10 bags are accumulated and the ones place rolls over.In shorter variants of the game, where players play to 250 points (instead of the standard 500 points), sandbag penalties can be assessed earlier. In these variants, a 50-point penalty would be assessed when 5 bags are accumulated.
For example, if a team's bid is 5 tricks and they take 8 tricks, the score for the hand is 53 points. If the team's total score before this hand had a first digit of 7 or more, for instance 108, the team has "bagged out" or been "sandbagged"; the hand's score is added to the total and then 100 points are deducted. In the example, the score would be 61 points after the penalty. The 10 bags could be considered to make the penalty 90 points (the penalty can instead be 110 points to offset this, or the ones' place can simply not be carried when adding). Anything over 10 sandbags is retained in the first digit and count towards future overtricks; a player or team can bag out multiple times in a game. Sandbags do not count as points.
One of the players is the scorer and has written the bids down, so that during the play and for the scoring afterward, this information will be available to all the players. When a hand is over, the scores should be recorded next to the bids. Alternatively, the scorer can turn the bid into the contract score by writing in the number of bags (zero if there were none) behind the bid, and a minus sign before it if the team was set, then add bonuses and subtract penalties beneath. A running score should be kept so that players can readily see each other's total points.
The most common condition is the first to reach 500 points, or forcing the opposing team to drop to −200 points. Alternatively, the game could be played for a fixed number of hands or a fixed time limit; with four players, eight hands can generally be played in about an hour. If there is a tie, then all players participate in one more round of play until a winner is decided.
As with any widely played game of such a flexible nature, Spades has many variations, ranging from significant changes in play to small tweaks that suit individual or household preference.
Traditionally Spades is played with four players in two partnerships. However, there are variations that allow for greater or fewer players. Partnerships are optional even with four players. All other rules should be agreed upon beforehand by the players.
The differences Partners Spades and Cutthroat bidding and play are substantial. In Partners, a player would bid a trick for every Ace, King, and Queen in a side suit (i.e.: non-Spade). In Cutthroat, a player would rarely bid on a King in a long side suit (5+ cards) nor a Queen in any length side suit because of the risk of their being trumped. This risk is reduced in Partners by the possibility that partner may be out of the long suit and able to discard or to overtrump an opponent.
In Partners, Nil bids are easier to make because the Nil bidder's partner can overtake or trump the Nil bidder's high cards. In Cutthroat, this safety valve is not available.
Partners allows a mix of weak and strong players by pairing a weak player with a strong one, resulting in a more satisfying game (provided that the division of talent is about even) than in Cutthroat where individual weak players would stand little or no chance against strong players.
Conversely, against a computer program where the object is for a human to beat the computer software, being saddled with a weak computer partner does not provide a satisfying game. Thus, Cutthroat makes more sense for a computer game than Partners.
Contract bridge, or simply bridge, is a trick-taking card game using a standard 52-card deck. In its basic format, it is played by four players in two competing partnerships, with partners sitting opposite each other around a table. Millions of people play bridge worldwide in clubs, tournaments, online and with friends at home, making it one of the world's most popular card games, particularly among seniors. The World Bridge Federation (WBF) is the governing body for international competitive bridge, with numerous other bodies governing it at the regional level.
Pinochle, also called pinocle or penuchle, is a trick-taking, Ace-Ten card game typically for two to four players and played with a 48-card deck. It is derived from the card game bezique; players score points by trick-taking and also by forming combinations of cards into melds. It is thus considered part of a "trick-and-meld" category which also includes the game belote. Each hand is played in three phases: bidding, melds, and tricks. The standard game today is called "partnership auction pinochle".
A trick-taking game is a card or tile-based game in which play of a hand centers on a series of finite rounds or units of play, called tricks, which are each evaluated to determine a winner or taker of that trick. The object of such games then may be closely tied to the number of tricks taken, as in plain-trick games such as contract bridge, whist, and spades, or to the value of the cards contained in taken tricks, as in point-trick games such as pinochle, the tarot family, briscola, and most evasion games like hearts. Trick-and-draw games are trick-taking games in which the players can fill up their hands after each trick. In most variants, players are free to play any card into a trick in the first phase of the game, but must follow suit as soon as the stock is depleted. Trick-avoidance games like reversis or polignac are those in which the aim is to avoid taking some or all tricks.
500 or Five Hundred is a trick-taking game developed in the United States from Euchre. Euchre was extended to a 10 card game with bidding and a Misere contract similar to Russian Preference, producing a good cut-throat three player game like Preference and a four player game played in partnerships like Whist which is the most popular modern form, although with special packs it can be played by up to six players. It arose in America before 1900 and was promoted by the US Playing Card Company, who copyrighted and marketed a deck with a set of rules in 1904. In 1906 the US Playing Card Company released the improved Avondale scoring table to remove bidding irregularities. 500 is a social card game and was highly popular in the United States until around 1920 when first auction bridge and then contract bridge drove it from favour. It continues to be popular in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where it has been taught through six generations community-wide, and in other countries: Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Shetland. Despite its American origin, 500 is the national card game of Australia.
Euchre or eucre is a trick-taking card game commonly played in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, and the United States. It is played with a deck of 24, 28, or 32 standard playing cards. Normally there are four players, two on each team, although there are variations for two to nine players.
Ninety-nine is a card game for 2, 3, or 4 players. It is a trick-taking game that can use ordinary French-suited cards. Ninety-nine was created in 1967 by David Parlett; his goal was to have a good 3-player trick-taking game with simple rules yet great room for strategy.
Rook is a trick-taking game, usually played with a specialized deck of cards. Sometimes referred to as Christian cards or missionary cards, Rook playing cards were introduced by Parker Brothers in 1906 to provide an alternative to standard playing cards for those in the Puritan tradition, and those in Mennonite culture who considered the face cards in a regular deck inappropriate because of their association with gambling and cartomancy.
Rubber bridge is a form of contract bridge played by two competing pairs using a particular method of scoring. A rubber is completed when one pair becomes first to win two games, each game presenting a score of 100 or more contract points; a new game ensues until one pair has won two games to conclude the rubber. Owing to the availability of various additional bonus and penalty points in the scoring, it is possible, though less common, to win the rubber by amassing more total points despite losing two games out of three. Rubber bridge involves a high degree of skill but there is also a fair amount of luck involved in who gets the best cards. A popular variation of rubber bridge is known as Chicago.
Pedreaux is an American trick-taking card game of the All Fours family based on Auction Pitch. Its most popular variant is known as Cinch, Double Pedro or High Five. Developed in Houma, Louisiana, by Chris Levron and Brad Greco in the 1880s, it was soon regarded as the most important member of the All Fours family. Although it went out of fashion with the rise of Auction Bridge, it is still widely played on the western coast of the United States and in its southern states, being the dominant game in some locations in Louisiana. Forms of the game have been reported from Nicaragua, the Azores, Niobe NY, Italy and Finland. The game is primarily played by four players in fixed partnerships, but can also be played by 2–6 individual players.
Bid whist is a partnership trick-taking variant of the classic card game whist. As indicated by the name, bid whist adds a bidding element to the game that is not present in classic whist. Bid whist, along with spades, remains popular particularly in U.S. military culture and a tradition in African-American culture.
Pitch is an American trick-taking card game derived from the English game of All Fours. Historically, Pitch started as "Blind All Fours", a very simple All Fours variant that is still played in England as a pub game. The modern game involving a bidding phase and setting back a party's score if the bid is not reached came up in the middle of the 19th century and is more precisely known as Auction Pitch or Setback.
Bid Euchre, Auction Euchre, Pepper, or Hasenpfeffer, is the name given to a group of card games played in North America based on the game Euchre. It introduces an element of bidding in which the trump suit is decided by which player can bid to take the most tricks. Variation comes from the number of cards dealt, the absence of any undealt cards, the bidding and scoring process, and the addition of a no trump declaration. It is typically a partnership game for four players, played with a 24, 32 or 36-card pack, or two decks of 24 cards each.
These terms are used in contract bridge, using duplicate or rubber scoring. Some of them are also used in whist, bid whist, the obsolete game auction bridge, and other trick-taking games. This glossary supplements the Glossary of card game terms.
Bluke or Blook is a trick-taking card game known to parts of the East Coast and the Midwest and possibly other parts of the United States of America. The game features use of the Jokers, which are sometimes referred to as the Blukes.
400 is atrick-taking card game played in two partnerships with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. The object of the game is to be the first team to reach forty-one points. The game somewhat resembles Spades, but with subtle differences. It was in the early years after the Ottoman Empire. Historically, the game is mainly played in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Honduras, and The Philippines. It is similar to the game Tarneeb, which is also played in the region.
Smear is a North-American trick-taking card game of the All Fours group, and a variant of Pitch (Setback). Several slightly different versions are played in Michigan, Minnesota, Northern and Central Iowa, Wisconsin and also in Ontario, Canada.
Serbian whist is a variant of whist. It is popular in Serbia, and there it is simply called "whist".
Dummy whist is one of many variants of the classic trick-taking card game Whist. The general rules of dummy whist are similar to that of bid whist, with two notable exceptions. Bid whist is played by four players, whereas dummy whist is played by only three. Secondly, instead of dealing a kitty, a dummy hand is dealt to be on the team of the player who wins the auction.
The card game of Euchre has many variants, including those for two, three, five or more players. The following is a selection of notable Euchre variants.
Call-ace Whist or Danish Whist is a card game for four players playing in variable partnerships. It is the most popular form of Whist in Denmark, where it is often just called "Whist". It has a well developed bidding system and has imported from the traditional Danish game of Skærvindsel the feature of determining the partnerships by 'calling an ace'. John McLeod records that there is also a version of Danish Whist in which there are fixed partnerships.