Say you are playing 4 person spades, and somone bids nil and they get a book/trick what is the penalty? Does it count as a sandbag, or do they just lose the points from failing nil? Does that book count towards the partners bid?

Now in three man spades if someone bids nil and gets a book do they get a sandbag or just lose the points?

2 Answers 2


Given that there isn't exactly a single set of "official rules" for Spades, I would say that there two valid answers:

1) Tricks collected by a set (failed) NIL bid count as tricks for the partner, at which point all normal rules apply as far as sandbags, making the bid, etc. The team loses -100 (or -200 if it was a double/blind Nil) for the set nil, but scores the partner's bid normally.

2) Tricks collected by a set Nil bid are void and count for nothing. The partner must make their bid completely independently.

Players should agree on the rules ahead of play.

Personally, I've always played per #1 and would prefer that greatly. First, it makes losing the nil not quite as painful, since you can help your partner out. Second, it means that while you can take extra tricks to try to set your opponent's bid, you will risk taking sandbags for it, whereas with option 2, you could take those extra tricks with no further penalty.

  • I've played with #2 and it's actually a very good move to sometimes bid nil only to fail it and fail your opponent's bid. This was with a nil penalty of -50 also, so if they bid over 5 it's beneficial.
    – freekvd
    Sep 22, 2015 at 4:42
  • A third valid answer is to treat them as two separate bids, which means that the tricks don't help partner, and also count as sandbags.
    – bwarner
    Sep 22, 2015 at 14:22
  • True, that IS a third option; I just thought that was overly punishing. Sep 22, 2015 at 14:36

How I've played is that if you fail a blind nil you get -200 plus the penalty for your partner. for example if I bet blind nil and my partner says 4 tricks. If I fail the nil we get -240. However, If I win the nil and my partner makes all the tricks we would get a score of +240

  • Question was about failing a Nil Bid, not failing a Blind Nil Bid. Nov 27, 2016 at 14:59

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