Rules for Spades with Five Suits

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The rules for the game of Spades with a five suit deck as played at the Marlborough, Massachusetts offices of Sun Microsystems (formerly HighGround Systems).

The rules described below are changes to standard HighGround Rules for Spades to allow play with a five-suit deck of cards. Don't play this variation until you understand the rule set these changes are based upon. Other sets of rules for four-suit Spades can be found on the web, several pointers are found in my Spades hotlist.

Send your comments on these rules to .

(spade) Setup

Use any standard five suit deck (five thirteen-card suits plus two jokers). We have been using Stardeck cards with a fifth suit of Stars.

(spade) Deal

Deal sixteen cards to each player, leaving the extra three in the center to be picked up by the player holding the low club.

(spade) Bidding

The minimum team bid is five, the blind bid is now Blind Seven.

(spade) Play

Two cards are exchanged if one player goes naught, four for double naught, and, of course, the player who picked up three cards drops three.

(spade) Scoring

The minimum team bid for a score to be doubled is twelve instead of ten.

It might be necessary to tweak the rest of the scoring to re-balance the game, but we haven't noticed any systemic problems in the games we have played.

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Optional rule: Stars are Sub-Trump

If standard five suit Spades is too boring, here is a way to spice it up: Treat stars as a trump suit, but less powerful than spades. To be explicit: If no spade is played on a trick the highest star played wins, otherwise the highest card played of the suit led wins.

Note that stars and spades are separate suits. Leading the Ace of Stars will win a trick unless someone is void and plays a spade, and leading a spade doesn't compel a spade-less player to play a star.

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This page is maintained by B.J. Herbison.
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Copyright © 1997-2009 by B.J. Herbison.
Last modified 09:17 Saturday 28 March 2009.