Marion’s Favorites: Spades

by | Aug 7, 2020 | Marion's Favorites, Wisdom From Kammbia Column | 0 comments

I grew up playing card games.  I have played Blackjack 21, Tonk, War, Bid Whist, Uno and Spades, my favorite card game all of my life. Spades is played with a partner and the object of the game is to win as many bids as possible. I have one rule when playing with a partner in Spades:  Do Not Renege!

In Spades, you must play the suit that lead the hand.  For example, I can lead the hand with an Ace of Diamonds and everyone else (including your partner) must play the Diamond suit if they have it in the hand.  In this scenario, the highest diamond card (which is the Ace of Diamonds) wins that round.  However, if you don’t have a diamond suit, then you play Spades as a wild card to win the book.

If you play a Spades but still have a diamond card in your hand, then you have reneged.  The penalty of reneging is 3 bids and that usually kills your chance of winning the entire game either to 300 points or 500 points.  Do Not Renege!

I just mentioned that you can play a 300 point game or 500 point game.  Most games are played at the 300 point game level and that is usually four to five hands. To score points: the team scores 10 points for each bid, plus 1 point for each overbid. For example, if the player’s bid is Seven and they make seven of them, the score would be 70. If the bid was Five and the player won eight tricks, the score would be 53 points: 50 points for the bid, and 3 points for the three overbids. In some games, overbids are called “bags” and a deduction of 100 points is made every time a player accumulates 10 bags. Thus, the object is always to fulfill the bid exactly.

If the team does not make the numbers of bid for that hand, their score is 0. For example, if a player bids Four and wins only three bids, no points are awarded.  Bidding is extremely important in Spades and the goal is to bid correctly.

Spades is a game of strategy, counting, and intuition. That’s I why love playing it so much.  People’s personalities tend come out during a game of Spades.  There are those who like to talk trash or bluff.  And there are those of us (like me) who don’t like to say much.  Just play.  I just love the dynamic of a good Spades game.

This game is a big part of African American culture and if you don’t know how play Spades…you will get teased.  However, it does not matter your ethnic background if you love playing card games, then I recommend playing Spades. It is an easy game to learn but hard to master though.

I will share that in my second novel, Diondray’s Journey, I created a card game called Blacks which was my homage to Spades. Two characters, Bonita Golde and Big Daddy Red were the best blacks players in the city of Alicia. For those of you have read Diondray’s Journey, you can read an actual Spades game on the page.  I have a future novel featuring Bonita Golde and Big Daddy Red around the game of Blacks.  Stay tuned.



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