To play Spades, choose the first dealer, and have him deal out all the deck clockwise, starting with the player to his left. Each player should end up with 13 cards. The four players work in teams of two; each player makes a bid for the tricks he can catch.
Because each player has 13 cards, there are 13 tricks available in each hand. If a player bids nil, meaning he can't win any tricks, he gets a special reward for completing the hand without winning any. His partner is allowed to win tricks, but he can't pick any up. After all four players have bid, the hand begins.
The player on the dealer's left plays any card other than a spade. Going clockwise, each player has to follow suit; in other words, if the first player puts down a club, others must play clubs if they have them. If following suit isn't possible, the player is allowed to play any card. Spades are the trump suit, but if no spade shows up, the highest card in the suit that the first player led with wins the hand. The winner of each trick leads on the next trick. No player is allowed to led with a spade unless a spade has already been played or the person in the lead only has spades left.
A team that gets at least as many tricks as it bids gets 10 times that number of tricks as its point total. Additional tricks add one additional point. These extra tricks are known as sandbags, and teams that get 10 bags or more lose 100 points from their score. Sandbags add up from one hand to the next. The first team to reach 500 points is the winner of the game.