How to Play Spades with Black People

Jackie Williams
3 min readApr 24, 2018

Summer is almost here! Probably the most popular time for Black families to get together and enjoy cook-outs, family reunions and my favorite activity- Spades.

I’m being incredibly selfish with this post, because I LOVE spades, and nothing irritates me more than someone sitting down at the Spades table not knowing the rules of the game or worse, the rules when you play with Black folk.

So, I’m going to provide some much needed common sense rules on how to play spades this summer.

Note: This is for the Spades Beginner or Enthusiast who hasn’t played with Black people before. Learning how to play Spades is the easy part…here’s something you’ll actually need to survive a full game:

Rule #1: Do not play if you cannot shuffle.

No matter the family member, their politics, their age, what they did or didn’t do, everyone is invited to play. BUT, before you throw down cards you have to learn how to shuffle. Nothing is worse than getting a hand with 10 out of 13 cards from the same suite because you didn’t shuffle enough. You partner will be pissed. I will be pissed. Everyone will be pissed.

If your shuffling skills need improvement, practice on the side with another deck of cards before you take a seat.

Rule #2: Joker, Joker, Deuce.

This is pretty common but the top 3 cards in most Black folk games are Big Joker, Little Joker, and the 2 of Spades respectively. So, if you forget the Ace of Spades doesn’t beat the Two of Spades, you’re in trouble… and likely going to get to set.

Rule #3: Any additional game rules are clarified BEFORE the first hand is dealt.

Sandbags, going blind, double blind, whatever weird rules you want to play- make that clear up front before the first hand is dealt.

For example, if going blind wasn’t discussed at the start of the game, and you want to go blind in the last hand after my partner and I kicked your ass the last 6 hands — we’re going to flip over the table.

Rule #4: Know How To Bid.

Jackie Williams

Storyteller | My musings on thriller and horror writing, hip-hop dance, and creativity. Subscribe to my newsletter: