Regular Spades


  1. Mathematics

    1. There are 13 cards in each suit. Mathematically, your King will not ride if you have six cards in the suit you are bidding the King on (while the odds are slightly more favorable when you have five in said suit). Think about it: first throw= four cards, second= eight, but you have four to five of them in your hand already so you have half if not more of the amount in that suit and are assuming that the other half is being evenly distributed among three other players. If you must bid the King, make sure your partner is not nil and that you have a strong enough hand to have a fallback trick.

    2. If you have four spades in your hand, the only ones that are guaranteed books are Ace, King, and Queen. Jack is a 99.9% guarantee for one reason: if the opponent starts throwing lower spades and force the Jack out to be trumped, you don't always get that trick, but I still bid it anyhow; odds are, you have it. If you have Ace, King, Queen, and another spade, you may have 4 tricks. It only depends on what the fourth spade is. If it is 8 through 10, it's usually a good gamble to take a trick if you are going to be in a position to run spades.

    3. Do not bid more than two book on a trump suit. For example: you know you are going to be trumping clubs after one or two tosses, only count that as one book unless you have more than 5 spades, then you may be able to make-up for a lost book if your trump gets trumped. This rule is bumped if you have high spades in your hand and are going to be trumping after one toss or you have no cards in a certain suit; only then may you bid two, but take into account the other cards you are bidding on and the possibility of bumping with your partner (counting the same trick towards your books).

    4. Never bid your Queens of offsuits (i.e., any suit that is not spades). Anyone who has ever played Mirrors knows that the table is not always going to evenly distribute the suits; the percentage is very low, in fact, that your Queen rides if it is not a spade.

  2. Nils

    1. Do not bid nil with more than four spades. Mathematically, you are set. You can only hope and pray that you can throw under a trump, and the odds of that happening are very slim. *Note* Even a four spades nil has a very low percent rate of being successful. There only two reasons to bid nil with four spades: a. you have not one card in your hand higher than a ten, or b. you are just so far behind that you have to try. (If you have nothing to lose, may as well lose trying)

    2. Do not bid nil if you have only Queen, Jack, Ten in one suit; you are set. The only instance you may try this type of nil is if you are void of suit or have 1 card in an offsuit to be able to toss off very early on. Mathematically, your odds of achieving such a nil is slim, but not impossible; look at your partner's bid and the table bid to try and gauge whether or not he will have high enough cards to cover and guess whether or not he will be void of the suit by the third throw as that will be the throw you will be set with. Even a Jack/Ten combo alone in a suit is set depending on the table bid. If the table bid is low, the opponents will not have a problem throwing their highs off which means sacrificing their Queens and Kings under the Aces which decreases your risk for a successful nil depending on the lead card and the toss-offs.

    3. Do not bid nil if you have the lone Ace (should be a no-brainer there) or King of any suit. That is at worst a two bid depending on the amount of spades in your hand. The only time you would nil with a lone King is out of desperation. Otherwise, it is better to go set and not gain bags than to have your partner bag up on a hopeless nil.

    4. Do not bid nil if you have the King in addition to one other (even low) card. That is a two bid at best, not a nil. The only way you might want to bid the nil is if your partner bid at least 6 and you are behind. *Note* If your partner bids 6, and the table bid is high enough, it may be better to bid the two or even one and go for the set of the opponent's bid. Things to consider would be bags; if you are high on bags, a nil can counteract the loss of 100 on bagging out, but if you are low on bags, a set would not be a horrible option. Or if you would rather assure that you do not set on either the nil or your bids, take the safe route and bid one.

  3. Blind Nils

    1. Do not blind nil. I do not recommend them. Especially if it is early on in the game. Why take the chance with a blind nil early on when you can merely look at your cards and still go nil if your hand is just so awful? At least then you are not risking the loss of 200 points early on when it still matters.

    2. In cases of double nil passing, a blind nil is the easiest way to come from behind. In cases where the table bid is already eleven or more by the time the bid reaches you, a blind nil is a nice no brainer that is a really annoying way to rake up your score. Some blind nils can only be made if you are down 200 points though.


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