Race & Politics

10 Things You Need To Know If You Ever Play Spades

picture-8Spades is the official card game of the African-American community.  I don’t want to hear about bid whist or gin.  I almost think it should be taught to little Black boys and girls since anytime I meet a Black person who can’t play spades…

…I don’t trust them and think their upbringing was lacking.

Spades is the kind of game people get stabbed over.  Friendships have been f*cked, relationships ruined, and new love interests have turned to utter disgust at their very sight.  This can happen all within a matter of seconds.

Thing is, all of this can be avoided – quite simply too.  You see, just like anything in life, there are rules to this sh*t.  Here are 10.

1.  Never ever ever ever ever overstate your spades abilities. More fights could be avoided if somebody didn’t front like they were better than they are.  If you’ve been playing spades for a solid 2 weeks, there’s no way you’re going to be able to team up with somebody who’s been playing for 10 years.  Stay in your lane, Hyundai.

2.  Because rules differ by region, ALWAYS MOTHERF*CKING ASK THE RULES IF YOU’RE NEW TO THE CREW THAT’S PLAYING. This serves two purposes: 1) you won’t be the reason your team loses because you “didn’t know” that the 2 of Diamonds trumps the 2 of Spades; and 2) you won’t have to say some stupid sh*t like, “well I didn’t know because we don’t play like that where I’m from” which will more than likely piss of your partner who assumed you knew since you probably pretended you could hang no matter where you were.  Don’t die behind the deuce, dumas.

3.  Do not be wrong on calling out somebody for renigging. Saying somebody renigged gets the same reaction as a white chick saying she was raped by a Black man in the 1800s.  Anger, disbelief, etc.  You better be right and you better be able to pick out the book that’s fugazi.  Saying somebody renigged is basically calling them liars.  In the wild West, it got you shot.  In Brooklyn, it might get you street sweepered.  Plus if you’re wrong, your partner pays the price.  Be sure, b*tch.

4.  Don’t talk across the board. You ain’t bleeding and and everybody knows what you mean when you start mentioning the Black B*tch.  You’re not fooling anybody.  Just stop it.  People have been shot for less.

5.  If you can’t take it, don’t dish it. Do not be the jacka** who stands up, sticks the cards to his forehead, and talks beaucoup sh*t when winning if you get all salty and b*tchmade when  your’e down 100, you Game a** ninja..  Real talk, I’ve seen fights break out because of trash-talking at the spades table.  I’ve also been involved in one.  I shouldn’t have slapped that dude with the Big Joker.  Oh well, we won.

6.  Play to win.  If you have Ace’s, lead with them.  Don’t try to get cute by starting out with a 10 of Hearts just to see what everybody else has like that’s a real strategy.

Speaking of…

7.  Learning how to properly count books and possibles is a skill.  (And everybody can’t do it). I HATE people who constantly underbid because they don’t know how to read their hand.  If you have 13 cards and only 1 of them is a Heart, well, you have CUT CARDS.  That means you probably have more books than you think.  On the other hand, if you have 6 spades, ranging from 3-8, well, you just might not have the 8 books that you think you do.  Plus, depending on where you’re playing, sandbagging might get you f*cked up in the game.

8.  Pay attention to the cards that are being played. More people suck at spades because they don’t know how to read the table.  Observation will get you everywhere.  Stop looking at the chicks who aren’t watching you watching you play.

9.  Make sure you know which Joker is the BIG Joker. This is important enough to get its own line.  I will be ready to fight you if you “think” you have the BIG Joker and you don’t.  Ask before you start playing dummy.  Then again, if I’d chosen my partner wisely,  I wouldn’t have had that problem.  Bitter daze.

10.  If you must be cocky and animated, PRACTICE YOUR DAMN CARD SLAP ON YOUR OWN TIME. I’ve mastered the slap-and-spin.  Whether on the table by itself or on top of other cards.  My cut-card will spin like its life depended on it.  Also, I like to get that nice crisp slap that just lets other people around know you just got your a** handed to you.  And I will slap the table with cards a lot.  I win, b*tch.

BONUS:  As with any game, if you lose, get your happy a** up off the table, say good game and congratulate the people who beat you.  Nobody likes the Lebron a** ninjas salty b*tches who can’t take losing with dignity.

These were just 1o of the general rules associated with playing spades and keeping your life.  What are the other rules people need to know about spades playing??



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Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • http://nextbigthing.blogsoome.com Hostess

    Just don’t play. I learned this rule after:

    1) being raised in the D where you will get stabbed, shot, and pissed on for messing up a hand of spades

    2) seeing a woman slap a grown ass man with a spiral notebook (used for scoring) over a spades game

    3) realizing nobody wins when Patron and spades happen at the same table

    Needless to say, I don’t play or encourage spades playing. I don’t allow people to play in my home either.

    • KingPineNut


      Damn straight…..lol hell naw…

      I’ll be the negro sippin something outside….

      on a diff note…i love bein back in dc these last two weeks!!!

    • http://www.myspace.com/wudaman19 WuDaMan


      Psssshshshshst *eye role*


    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Hostess, booooooooooo.

      and let’s be real, you can get stabbed, shot, and pissed on for more reasons than messing up a hand of spades in the D.

      i mean, it’s the D. it’s so cooold in the D, how the f*ck is anybody supposed to have peace??

      • http://www.myspace.com/wudaman19 WuDaMan

        @Panama Jackson,


      • Gem…BeThatAsItMay

        @Panama Jackson,

        LOL good one

      • http://nextbigthing.blogsome.com Hostess

        @Panama Jackson, True. But playing spades increases the chances 13-fold.

      • Rose

        shoooo, i know thass right.

    • http://naturallyalise.blogspot.com Naturally Alise


      2) seeing a woman slap a grown ass man with a spiral notebook (used for scoring) over a spades game

      I have seen that too! Funniest. sight. ever.

    • AshleyNeicole


      by the D, do you mean Detroit? That’s what we call Detroit lol.

      • http://nextbigthing.blogsome.com Hostess

        @AshleyNeicole, Yes. The D is Detroit. It’s actually ‘The D, N-word! The D’. That’s the way they used to say it when I was stuck lived there.

        • AshleyNeicole


          LOL yes that’s my city!

    • Such a learning curve of life…

      OK, I’m white, but I play spades. I didn’t even know it was an African American rite of passage until I was watching Real Housewives Atlanta.
      I try to play nice. It’s taken me 20 years just to read the nuances of the table, and any one of you could probably kick my butt since I get a little ADD now and then.
      But my grown ass brother and sister have literally flipped the table, thrown things and stormed off cussing up a storm all in front of my then 70 year old mom.
      The thing I’ve noticed about Spades is that it is the most forensically autopsied game EVER. Every hand requires analysis and post hand discussions that take up more time than the game itself. And you’re always gonna have to play with your dickey older brother who expects you to be psychic.
      My main reason for coming here is that I want to know who the yahoos are that play Microsoft online spades. Are people really that stupid?
      Thanks for letting me crash your party.
      Black game maybe, but we white girls like it too.
      Thanks. Kathy

  • http://www.satyasslant.blogspot.com Satya

    Do not under any circumstances stop the game so you can:
    -get another drink
    -call your boo
    -use the bathroom
    -or any other tom foolery.
    Handle bidness before the game begins

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Satya, stop a game? i’ve never even heard of such f*ckery. in fact, during the summer before my freshman year of college, i was in a summer program. one night, me and the 3 other chaps who were playing spades, literally played from 10pm until 7am the next morning b/c folks kept getting set…and peep this, we were ONLY PLAYING TO 300.

      it took us 9 hours to finish one game.

      the funny part is, one of my boys was there when we started, went to sleep, came down the next morning like, “damn, y’all ninjas are STILL playing?? that’s dedication.”

      • http://www.satyasslant.blogspot.com Satya

        @Panama Jackson, lol, at my cousin’s bbq one player tried to stop the game to call his woman. He barely escaped a whuppin for even suggesting it. And at another party someone tried to say hold the game so the could refill their drink…NEGATIVE. the game does not stop for anyone

      • Geezy

        First off…. How the fuck does a game to 300 take 9 hours?! 2 sets and that game shoulda been done! Amateurs!

    • http://blackcynic.com/blog T. Troy Stewart

      @Satya, I don’t care if Halle Berry my partner…she better come to play or take her butt home to that Himbo he-concubine/sperm conceptacle she shackin’ with…and that means, no calls from your agent or Dave Justice and Eric Benet saying that they sorry…again, no potty breaks, no signing autographs, drunk @ss Uncle Leonardo can wait with his dirty old man self and NO bragging about your stank Oscar for that jiveassed Monster’s Ball low grade dog food mess…shut up and bid, Halle!

      • Gem…BeThatAsItMay

        @T. Troy Stewart,

        lmao wowsers

  • Ms. Hall

    I hear you Hostess.

    My first boyfriend was a great Spades player and the worst winner in the world. He was a loving Dr. Jekyll most of the time. But when we played Spades he turned into a patronizing, ish talking, jacka33 Mr Hyde. I hated him during those games and would often leave the table humiliated and disgusted with him. I swore off the game if for nothing else than to save our relationship. Now, I can’t even stand to watch people play.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Ms. Hall, Now, I can’t even stand to watch people play.

      i feel this same way about backgammon. only, not at ll.

      • Ms . Hall

        @Panama Jackson,

        Have some compassion Panama. I was traumatized.
        **walks away misty-eyed**

    • Carlitos

      @Ms. Hall,

      I need to play THAT nicca!!! No… I need that nicca on my TEAM!!! Might wanna update my AIG policy first though….

  • http://singlesisterspeak.wordpress.com Jac

    Hm..for people like me I say just don’t play.

    I have no idea wtf I’m doing and let me admit another staple of young black America.

    i knownothingbouttupac

    V. Renee can prolly read that.

    • V Renee


      Et tu Jac????

      You taking shots, and know nothing about Tupac?

      You need to get your priorities in order.

      ::snatching your Black card away::

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @Jac, how does one make thru life and not know anything about ‘Pac? little kids in Mongolia know about ‘Pac. motherf*cking snuffelupagus knows about ‘Pac. i swear i heard him say “picture me rollin'” when he started rollerskating down Sesame Street.


      • Gem…BeThatAsItMay

        @Panama Jackson,

        motherf*cking snuffelupagus knows about ‘Pac. i swear i heard him say “picture me rollin’” when he started rollerskating down Sesame Street.

        u stoopit. lmao

      • AshleyNeicole

        @Panama Jackson,


  • SouthernGirl

    lololol. my cousins taught me how to play when i was a kid so it always amazes me too when people don’t know how to play. and you ain’t neva lied about No.1. or No. 3.

    a few years back i was at a family gathering with my boy, i think it was around mardi gras time, and they decided to play spades. why they decided to let him play after he was all wishy washy about whether he knew how to play or not, me no know…..well, i think the other team thought it would be an easy win/sh!t talkin’ fun time.

    anywho, after i wiped the look of shock off of my face at his lack of knowledge and i gave him a quick tutorial, the game begins. i’m trying to help him read his hand and call his books. then they’re like, no you can’t help him so i sit back and shut up.

    then i saw it happen and all i could do was put my head down. he cut hearts with a spade when he had hearts in his hand. of course he gets called out later, shouting ensues and his uncle (and parter) is all, why didn’t you say something? well, because ya’ll told me to stay out of it and i explained that sh!t to his @ss before the game started. and props to No. 8 and paying attention, a family friend on the opposite team was like, didn’t you see her put her head down?!?!

    *sigh* how he messed up that game followed him for years.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @SouthernGirl, non-observant people, in general, baffle me. perhaps its partially my own upbringing but i’m always aware of my surroundings and what’s going on. i watch the board like a hawk and read the people i’m playing.

      plus, it increases my a**hole factor exponentially on the spades table when i’m in the zone and i can read your own hand better than you can.

      “go ahead, its okay. you might as well play that card now since you don’t have sh*t else. in fact, play your little joker first so i can eat it up, THEN play that deuce of spades…it doesnt matter. i’m better than you. you embarass me. you embarass yourself.”


      • V Renee

        @Panama Jackson,

        Yeah I feel like you’ve said that verbatim.

  • miss patterson

    This is all Greek to me, homie. When folks play spades, I drink or check out the cute guy who’s winning. I *know* I wasn’t raised right, but you can trust me. I swear that since I became aware of my spades deficiency (at age 12) folks were playing like they came out of the womb making books and sh*t. I blame it on the North Hills. I’m too old to learn now. Cocktails, anyone?

    • http://www.myspace.com/Elendak El

      @miss patterson, oh hell naw, you need to learn! Go sit at the kids table the next holiday and learn. Get your game up over the fall and winter and come out next spring ready. Cocktails do not stop the insults in the black community.

    • http://www.museacdonline.com pgh muse

      @miss patterson, North Hills…

      Don’t feel bad. There are better educations to have. North Hills will get one much farther in life than Spades and Tonk. Learning to play is easy.

    • AkShone


      Spades is like education…you’re never to old to learn.

      Plus, it can d@mn near be an aphrodisiac. I was on the fence about this girl I was dating once and we played a game of spades at one of my boy’s house sets and the mixture of her spades intellect, confident sh*t talking and low cut baby t…led to a quick exit after the win.

      From then on she was nicknamed…”The Librarian”.

      Learn it.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @miss patterson, yeah, you’re never too old to learn to play spades.

      i think the only thing you can be too old at in life is too old to start smoking weed. seems like something you just shouldn’t start doing at 40 unless the doctor says you have to.

    • Gem…BeThatAsItMay

      @miss patterson,

      once you’re back in the burgh, me and Ivy will teach you!! we put on spades clinics for ppl all the time, so we’re used to schooling folks.

      hopefully you’ll be back in time for Game Night at my new apt in August!!! yay!!!

      • http://www.myspace.com/wudaman19 WuDaMan


        Really!? Those who can’t… Teach


        • Miss Patterson

          @WuDaMan, oooooh. that was a low blow, wuda. when are you coming back to the burgh…for your a$$ whoopin’, that is. and i don’t mean in spades. i mean with a foot and a fist, for talking trash to my girl. :)

          • Gem…BeThatAsItMay

            @Miss Patterson,

            thanks for the back up, saks 5th. *hi 5*

        • Gem…BeThatAsItMay


          HI hater.

      • Miss Patterson

        @Gem…BeThatAsItMay, you found an apt??!!! yay!!! text me girl. where is it? i bet you’re excited! there’s hope!

    • overit

      @miss patterson, gettin in line behind Miss p…i kinda never knew until college, and the seriousness of spades games was not the best space to be learning and ish.

      ya’ll can trust me though, i’m overit and sh*t.

  • maximillian

    Good list. I would like to add:

    1. Never, EVER misdeal.

    2. Learn how to shuffle properly. That ‘I’m gonna spread out all the cards and wax-on, wax-off’ thing gets annoying.

    3. Playing for money takes the game to a whole ‘nother level. Act accordingly.

    • A-Town Genius


      Also, don’t be doing weird a** 8 way cuts and what not and flipping cards. I hate that ish

      • maria

        @A-Town Genius,

        to me, that’s a form of cheating…it don’t fly

        • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie


          HAHA. Sholl is. Anyone who does special dealing tricks during Spades is Beazulbub.

      • http://www.museacdonline.com pgh muse

        @A-Town Genius, Wait a minute… It has a name like “French” shuffling or something like that. OMG… I haven’t played spades in a LONG time… somebody tell us what the name of that shuffling is where you cut the deck 8 times and flip over the cards??? It’s going to kill me till i remember!

        • Datalore

          @pgh muse,

          We call it “French cutting” and I hate that ‘ish with the power of 10,000 suns…

    • http://lizburr.com Liz

      @maximillian, LOL @ wax on wax off LOLOL. I have family who would do that ALLLLL the time. def annoying.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @maximillian, you know, the shuffling properly thing is definitely a major issue. i HATE when folks don’t know how to shuffle a deck of cards. that just seems like something everybody should learn how to do at some point in life.

      just so you can hear the flapping sound.

      • http://www.myspace.com/igotastory melekaj

        @Panama Jackson,
        I can’t shuffle to save my life *holds head down in shame*. Ironic thing is i’m a pretty serious spades player and sh*t. I keep a deck in my car.

  • A-Town Genius

    Adding to #3…

    DO NOT RENIG! If you do ensure that you can’t be caught by talking more ish and being as obnoxious as humanly possible to distract the other team while you do it. It’s probably better if you just don’t do it though. If you do get called on it, again be as loud and obnoxious as possible and make threats about how many books the person that called you out will lose if they are wrong to make them lose their train of thought.

    • http://www.itssaulewright.blogspot.com Saule Wright

      @A-Town Genius,

      Again, my boy will renig on purpose, but shuffle the books so that when you call the book, it’s always the wrong one.

      • 8th Wonder

        Oh no, that’s cause for a shoot-out right there

        • http://blackcynic.com/blog T. Troy Stewart

          @8th Wonder, that’s an Extinction Event level right there…they shot up Tombstone for less than that

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            @T. Troy Stewart, too true. Them OK Corral ninjas were just Alright that day.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @A-Town Genius, or, as an addendum to DO NOT RENIG. In the even that you just so happen to do so, AND YOU REALIZE IT, do not draw attention to yourself and for the love all things polyester, make sure the other team doesn’t figure it out until the end at which point picking out the renigged book is like picking out your favorite kid – you shouldn’t be able to do it.

      • 8th Wonder

        Yeah, I hate when people renig and then gasp or look real stupid, like they shot Mr. Boddy in the hall with the effin revolver…

      • A-Town Genius

        @Panama Jackson,

        Most definitely agree with that. And if you are a spades player and you renig you should realize it. There should never be a time you renig and just don’t know. If you don’t realize it just stop playing spades. It’s not for you. All black people can’t play basketball and all black people can’t play spades either so just leave it alone.

        • http://blaquedawl.blogspot.com Tha Management

          @A-Town Genius,

          I reneged once. I was so shocked that it happened (made the mistake of putting like colors together) I attempted to leave the table in shame. I shudder when I think about it. Despite the fact that we still won the game, that occurrence horrified me and to this day, I take my time when laying out my hand, for prides sake.


    Teach your children, “when mommy has cards in her hand, don’t bring yo bald headed fat a** over here, okay?!? mmmkay!”
    I have seen many children get their feelings hurt over what their parents said to them in middle of a spades game.

    • http://www.satyasslant.blogspot.com Satya

      @THE DUTCHESS, lol. make sure you give yor kid some kool aid and cheetos before the game. If you get up from the table to tend yo chilrens there will be a problem



        oh and dont bend my CARDS! there has been one too many fools that have gotten a natural cuss’n bout dey cheat’n @ss bending the corners, twisting the left side of the cards, rippin my sh!t.

        • http://www.satyasslant.blogspot.com Satya

          @THE DUTCHESS, that should be a rule. Bent cards are not accepted

        • http://www.sistersoundoff.blogspot.com Cheekie

          @THE DUTCHESS,

          I hate folks tearing up my cards, too. However, after a while, if they aren’t damaged in some way (i.e. time for a new crisp deck), you ain’t playin’ right. lol

    • http://www.myspace.com/thagrindaholic BLUNTBLAZER

      yea i caught a few opp’s upside the head tryna ask mawmaw ?’s but I learned if you can dodge the backhands thas the best time to ask cause they always say yes. lol

  • maria

    No Table Talkin has made me quit mid-game b/c NO mutha…I ain’t dumb…we know wtf you and ur partner are doing…then to sit there and deny that $hyt!!! It’s a wrap, then call me a cry-baby…please…you just cheatin and mad that we ain’t havin it.

    And if you do drink while playin, know your limit…don’t get all $hytfaced and forget whose turn it was or what was the last card played…NO ONE IS GOING TO TELL YOU…and if you’re my partner I’ma put you in the corner sin-drink…

    Don’t be takin too-long smokin or bathroom breaks…it’s not suppose to take 3 hrs for one game…c’mon kids…for all that play monopoly or something…

    Don’t eat while playin-no one wants your greasy @ss hands on their deck…

    And the worst is pple who don’t know what sandbaggin is or don’t wanna play with the rule AND know it’s cuz they ALWAYS gonna have overbooks b/c they scared to play their hand right or too slow to know what they got in their hand…

    Personally, I ain’t gonna play with folks who are overthetop trash-talking, don’t stop talking, talking the entire game, every hand, every deal, every play–FFFF###CCCKKK, for real? That’s how you going?

    That is all…

    • Leila

      @maria, I co-sign on the whole list especially “Don’t eat while playin-no one wants your greasy @ss hands on their deck”

    • http://www.myspace.com/Elendak El

      @maria, to piggy back just a smidge… please don’t take more than 5 seconds to pick a card to play. I hate a slow moving spades game! Pick a mf card dayum. And pay attention so you will know it’s your turn ***rolling my eyes and saying it’s on you… again***

      • Datalore


        CO-SIGN! You only got 13 cards…if in doubt..PLAY to WIN!

    • peachi


      “No Table Talkin has made me quit mid-game b/c NO mutha…I ain’t dumb…we know wtf you and ur partner are doing…then to sit there and deny that $hyt!!! It’s a wrap, then call me a cry-baby…please…you just cheatin and mad that we ain’t havin it.”

      haha, no singing either….we know that if y’all have been partners a long time, y’all have code songs too (don’t play)


    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      @maria, i’m all about the flapyappin’ during Spades. it makes for more a more entertaining experience. especially since some people are really fun sh*t talkers.

      in fact, i’m pretty sure my yappin’ abilities are how i picked up a stray chick some years back. i could see the spark in her eye when i started telling her which cards she was finna play in the most cocky manner possible.

      she hit me with the, “i can’t believe this ninja. i think i love him” face