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Spades Game

Common Arguments at a Spades Game

All to Familiar Arguments at a Spades Game

The game of Spades is arguably one of the most popular card games ever to grace the tables of Family Reunions, and Back Yard BBQ’s. Rumored to have originated in the 1930’s. A Spade game can frequently be found going down throughout urban households, college campuses and military barracks.

Despite having a playing history spanning over 80 years. The game of Spades is fraught with rule addendum’s and localized variations that quite often lead to somewhat spirited conversations laced with colorful metaphors, between friends and even loved ones.

It seems no Spade game shall be completed without at least one argument. Here are some of the most common.


Argument number 1: The Wild Cards

Having played a game or two since the 1970’s. I’ve played all the known variations of Wild Cards. Although I prefer playing “Ace down” without any Jokers, the pre-game discussion of how many wild cards to include never ceases to amaze me. “Joker, Joker, Deuce.” “Joker, Joker, Deuce of Diamonds, Deuce of Spades.” How many wild cards do you need?

Spades Game


Argument number 2: Which one is the Big Joker

Come on Spades Players, this one should be simple. Especially if you are using a Bicycle Deck. By definition it should imply the Joker that features the larger image should it not!

But nope, here come the “Guarantee” enthusiast that claim the Big Joker is “Guaranteed” to be the boss Joker.

Spades Game

The other official brands of Spades playing cards include the memorable Tally-HO deck, which featured that most fearsome looking Ace and Joker pair i’ve ever played with…

Spades Game

The other acceptable decks are Bee, and Maverick. The latter three brands typically feature one colorful joker and one black and white. In that case the colorful Joker should be considered the Big Joker.


Argument number 3: Talking Across the Board

Spades Game
One of the biggest provocations of game disruption is Talking Across the Board. Every Spade player is aware of such an atrocious act, yet it happens in some way, shape or fashion almost every game.

Its simply poor Spades etiquette and 9 times out of 10 is directly related to the next argument.


Argument number 4: What led

Spades Game
It happens to the most seasoned of Spade Players. That split second you look away, reaching for your drink perhaps. And in the space between two heartbeats, three cards have landed on the table and you have no earthly idea of the order in which they fell.

What Led?

All it takes is for your partner to utter the words “Play to win”, which for all intent and purposes is “Talking across the board” which spawns a heated exchange yet again.


Argument number 5: Playing out of turn

Spades Game
How coincidental that someone on the opposing team mistakenly lead off with an Ace or Joker when its not his/her turn.

Playing out of turn can “turn” the tide of the game as it easily gives the “green light” to the other partner holding the King or Small Joker.

Many a table hath been flipped due to this violation.


Argument number 6: Renege


Perhaps the mother of all Spade Game argument starters. Now the common penalty of 3 books is a given. But how to pinpoint and prove the EXACT book that this vile ungodly crime took place. That is a whole ‘nother story.

Spade players have resulted to all out brawls over reneging. Familes broken up. Households divided.

Other notable arguments pertain to Blinds, Underbidding, 10 for 200, French Cuts, reverse dealing. And so on, and so on… so many variations.

Which is why I’ve made the move years ago to the grown folks game of Bid Whist. A far superior to the game of Spades in my humble opinion (let the hating begin).  But that’s a discussion I’ll leave for next time.

Feel free to email me or better yet, comment below and share your Spade experiences with the world.

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