The Language of Spades - Variations on a Card Game

How many variations are there of Spades? If you ask ten players you would probably get that many different answers. The number of variations is so numerous that no one knows how many there are. Whether you go across the nation, across the state, or across the road, you are bound to find a different way that Spades is played.

Different Words

Spades has developed its own language you might say. Some phrases are unique to Spades, or at least card playing. Do you know what a Big Bemo is? You know if you've ever been set by bidding it.

All you have to do is pick up the first 9 tricks of the hand to win 90 extra points. Of course, if you don't, you lose the same amount. If you aren't bidding quite so high, you can go for the Little Bemo which is only the first six tricks.

What if someone bids Moon or Boston; would you know what they mean? These two are one and the same, depending on where you hang your hat. It simply means the team is bidding to get every trick.

This usually means a gamble of 200 points win or lose, and in some stakes as much as 400 to 500 points. The very good card team might even bid a Blind Moon before picking up their cards. That's worth a minimum of 400 points, good or bad.

Additional Curves for Your Game

Here are some interesting variations to keep the game fun.

1. Last Trick with High Spade – If the player picks up the last trick using a Spade that is a 9 or higher AND that pickup allows them to meet their bid, an extra 10 points goes to that team. If a player does not meet the bid or bags (another one of those words that means getting more tricks than were bid), there is no bonus for picking up the last trick.

2. First Trick Clubs Lead – This was borrowed from Hearts and means that the player with the 2 of Clubs must lead. If deuces are wild, this becomes the 3 of Clubs. All other players can play whatever they want as long as it isn't a Spade. This allows a discard round for most players, but it still counts as a trick.

3. Play to Beat – Another rule that forces players to use certain cards. A player leads with a suit other than Spades, and the next player puts a Spade on it to trump. If either or both of the following players don't have the suit that led, they have to try to play a higher trump than was already played. If a player doesn't do so, that team forfeits all its points to the other for that hand.

Each time you play Spades you can try another different wrinkle until you find the games you like best. You don't have to worry about finding variations, either, as there are many to choose from.

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