If You Like Spades, Here’s Why You’ll Love Bid Whist

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  • You enjoy a fun, spirited game of Spades as much as the next person. You appreciate the competition and the camaraderie. You like working with your partner to analyze how many tricks (or “books”) you should win, then executing during the play of the hand to win at least that many, even as you prevent your opponent from winning the number they promised to win. You savor the satisfaction of a well-played game, and appreciate the virtues of a game that allows you to connect with others even as you distinguish yourself with superlative strategic and tactical maneuvering.

    Because you are a capable Spades player, much about the game of Bid Whist is already familiar to you. You already know, for example, about the Ten Fundamental Trump Card Game Principles Common to Spades and Bid Whist (and, for that matter, Bridge, Hearts and Other Trump Card Games):

    Ten Fundamental Principles That Spades and Bid Whist Share

    1. A game consists of (up to) several hands of play. For most hands (except for “no-trump” hands in Bid Whist), one of the four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds or clubs) will be designated the trump suit. The trump suit is the boss suit because it outranks the other three suits—even the “worst” card from the trump suit is more powerful than even the best card from one of the other three. In Spades, the trump suit is always—that’s right—spades.

    2. A hand consists of thirteen rounds of play. Each round provides an opportunity to win a “trick” (sometimes referred to as a “book”).

    3. To start each round, one player selects and plays a card from one of the four suits. That player is thus said to “lead” one of the suits.

    4. When a suit is led, each player must play a card from that suit unless the player does not have a card in that suit. In card terminology, this means that each player must “follow suit.”

    5. No matter which suit is led, the best card from that suit wins the trick—unless a card from the trump suit is played.

    6. If a player can’t “follow suit” that player must play a card from one of the other three suits. This means that that player is free to play a trump card to “cut” (or “trump” or “ruff”) the suit that was originally led. Whenever a card from the trump suit is played, the best trump card played during the round wins the trick.

    7. An auction is held prior to the play of the hand. The teams bid to declare how many rounds (or “tricks” or “books”) that team commits to win in that particular hand.

    8. A team must win at least the promised number of tricks required to “make its bid;” otherwise that team “gets set.” A team that “makes its bid” scores points. A team that “gets set” loses points.

    9. To calculate the score for a round, the combined number of tricks won by a player and his or her partner is considered.

    10. To determine the score for the game, the points won or lost by a team during a particular round are added to or subtracted from points scored in previous rounds by that team. A team wins the game by accumulating a pre-set number of points.


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