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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.


I can assure you that with your understanding of the fundamentals of Spades, you are well-prepared to learn and enjoy Bid Whist. Moreover, the not-yet-familiar aspects of Bid Whist will enthrall and thrill you once you incorporate them into your repertoire. We will get into some of those in our next conversation. In the meantime, if I neglected to mention a fundamental trump card game principle that you regard as fundamental, weigh in in the comments section and tell me about it—and share with me some of your favorite elements of trump card games.

REGISTER NOW for the 2014 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion taking place August 28- September 1, 2014 in Orlando, Florida! For booking information visit here.

2014 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion

Saturday August 30th | 9a-5p

• Bid Whist Workshops & Free Play

• Cracker Barrel Step-Show

• Live Performances

Sunday August 31st | 12p-5p

• Bid Whist Tournament & Prizing

• Motown Gospel Revue’s

“Living the Gospel Roundtable” featuring Anita Wilson, Smokie Norful, Kierra Sheard & Vashawn Mitchel

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Our Favorite Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion Moments!
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2 thoughts on “If You Like Spades, Here’s Why You’ll Love Bid Whist

  1. MsWity on said:

    I love to play bid whist, but not too many people play in Az. Years ago, BAW had an online Spades and Bid Whist game, where you could play with people across the country. I wish you would bring them back online.

  2. Just because you play spades that’s no indication you can play bid whist. There are not 13 rounds of play. Each player receives 12 cards and there’s a 6 card kitty. The object of the game is to be the first team to 7. Seven is the magic number to win the game. It can be done in one hand or several hands. I’m a whistologist.

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