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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 at least the number of tricks (also known as "books") that were bid before play of the hand began. Spades are always trump. Other suits have no intrinsic value during play, but a card of the suit led in the current trick will beat a card of any other suit except a Spade. Rank of suit: Highest to lowest: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
Each player bids the number of tricks he expects 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"; the player must bid at least one if you don't want to bid "nil”.
In partnership Spades, the standard rule is that the bids by each member of the partnership are added together.
Blind and Nil Bidding:
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 player exactly meets their bid, but penalizes them if the players takes more or fewer.
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 their contract, they were "set", 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 overt rick, called an "overt rick", "bag" or "sandbag" (a bid of 5 tricks with 6 tricks taken results in a score of 51 points).