Although the very name of the game indicates the importance of the Spade suit, some variations of play allow other cards to take the trump, and some game rules dictate when Spades can be played. By playing with variable rules, the game stays more interesting for everyone involved. Here are a few ideas you might want to incorporate in your next Spades match.

Breaking Spades

One way that a card game borrows from another, this is a standard in Hearts. Spades cannot lead in the game until a player has used a Spade as a trump because they did not have the suit that led the trick.

Once a Spade is used to trump a trick, any future tricks can be led with a Spade. This style of play has an impact on bidding because tricks can't always be won the same way as when Spades can be played as trick leads prior to trumping.

Jokers High

Using the Jokers as the top two trumps adds a little spice to the game of Spades. If both Jokers go down in one trick, the Big Joker takes it. In a 4-player game, the 2 of clubs and 2 of hearts are taken from the deck to make a 52-card deck. In a 3-player game, no cards need to be taken out after the Jokers are added.

Other variations allow the Jokers to take the place of the Jack of Clubs and Jack of Spades. Another variation of the Jokers as trumps is called "Joker-Joker-Deuce-Ace." The top four cards are the Big Joker, then the little Joker followed by the deuce of Spades and then the Ace of Spades.

Another option is that if the Big Joker leads a trick, then all other players must play their highest trump. This makes it more difficult to bid because a high Spade might not be a sure winner.

One more option to leave you with; both Jokers count as the highest Spade and there is no difference between Big Joker and Small Joker. If both are played in a trick, the Joker played first gets the pickup.

Deuces High

Played without the Jokers, this variation has deuces higher than all spades. Their hierarchy is 2 of spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts. Of course, there are other variations where the Jokers are used and the 2 of hearts and 2 of clubs are left out.

Bauer Trumps

Spades again borrows from another game. This time it is Euchre. The highest trump in the game is the Jack of Spades. It is called the right bauer, and the Jack of Clubs is next in ranking and called the left bauer. The order of importance goes back to normal for the other cards. Some people prefer to pull the 2 Jacks and use the Jokers for the bauers instead.

Adding variety to the game makes it more fun for everyone. Hopefully you'll try one of the above variations next time you play Spades.

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