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spades board
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Rules for Spades
The four players are in fixed partnerships, with partners sitting opposite each other. Deal and play are clockwise.

Rank of Cards
A standard pack of 52 cards is used. The cards, in each suit, rank from highest to lowest: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

The Deal
The first dealer is the player who started the game. The turn to deal rotates clockwise.

The Bidding
Each team must make a bid, which is the number of tricks they expect to take. It is important to realize that in Spades both sides' bids stand (it is not like other bidding games in which only the higher bid counts).

The first partner on each team hints to his partner the number of tricks he thinks he can take. Then the second player on each team sets the bid for the team. The first person to hint is to the left of the dealer. It's important for the second player to know he is bidding the total tricks his team needs to take.

Nil is a declaration that the player will not win any tricks during the play. Any single player may bid nil. The nil bidder's partner will also bid the number of tricks to be taken by the team.
Please note: Bidding nil and bidding 0 tricks is not the same. Bidding 0 tricks does not carry the consequence of a 50 point penalty due to failure, nor the 50 point gain if successful, but will merely score 1 point per trick taken.

Blind nil may only be bid by a player whose side is losing by at least 100 points. It is a nil bid declared before a player looks at his cards. The bidder must exchange two cards with partner - carefully click two cards from your hand to pass.

When a team has the opportunity to bid blind nil, the first player on the team may choose to see his cards. In this case he then hints to his partner, and the partner still has the option to bid blind nil.

If the first player bids nil after seeing his cards, it will be scored as a regular nil.

The Play of the Hand
The player to dealer's left leads any card except a spade to the first trick. Each player, in turn, clockwise, must follow suit if able; if unable to follow suit, the player may play any card.
A trick containing a spade is won by the highest spade played; if no spade is played, the trick is won by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of each trick leads to the next. Spades may not be led until either:
  • some player has played a spade (on the lead of another suit, of course), or
  • the leader has nothing but spades left in hand.
Playing the first spade is known as "breaking" spades.

A spade may not be played on the first trick (except in the highly unlikely event that the player has all 13 spades in his hand).

A side that takes at least as many tricks as its bid calls for receives a score equal to 10 times its bid. Additional tricks (overtricks) are worth an extra one point each.

Sandbagging rule: A side which (over several deals) accumulates ten or more overtricks has 100 points deducted from its score. Any overtricks beyond ten are carried over to the next cycle of ten overtricks - that is if they reached twenty overtricks they would lose another 100 points and so on. (Note: it is not necessary to keep track of overtricks separately as the cumulative number of overtricks taken appears as the final digit of the team's score, if positive).

If a side does not make its bid, they lose 10 points for each trick they bid.

If a bid of nil is successful, the nil bidder's side receives 50 points. This is in addition to the score won (or lost) by the partner of the nil bidder for tricks made. If a bid of nil fails - that is, the bidder takes at least one trick - the bidder's side loses 50 points, but still receives any amount scored for the partner's bid. A bid of blind nil scores twice as much as an ordinary nil - it wins 100 points if successful and loses 100 points if it fails.

The side which reaches 250 points first wins the game. If both sides reach 250 points in a single deal, the side with the higher score wins. If either teams reaches -250 then the other team wins.

The winning score may optionally be set to 500.

Other options: If both players on a team bid nil (a double nil) then the points awarded can be doubled (100 for each nil bid instead of 50). If one player on a team bids blind nil and his partner also bids nil then both nil bids are worth 100 points (total 200). Optionally, this can be doubled to total 400.

The winning score and nil bid options may be set by the player who starts the game.
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