In the game of Spades, after spades are broken, you can lead a trick with a spade. In which situations it is best to lead spades?

I thought about three situations:

  1. Hold high cards in a side suit where an opponent is void. Before leading that side suit, you want to remove the ability of the opponents to cut.

  2. Long spades suit. By playing spades you can remove all other spades in the round, then from your ~4th spade you are the only player with spades and each spade is a take.

  3. Only have spades

I looking for a full list of situations where leading spades is the best move.

4 Answers 4


In a nice spades strategy guide (written by Buckey) the situations to lead spades are the following:

  1. Your partner has their bid or you can cover their bid.

  2. You know your partner bid high spades. Not leading spades might just give your opponents a chance to set you by trumping with lower spades.

  3. Either one or both of your opponents are void in any non-spade suit you could lead.
  4. If you're trying to slough and have nothing better to slough in.
  5. One way you can set your opponent is if you are two suited (spades being one of the suits.) You can run spades and make your other suit good. (be very careful that you do not set yourself by setting your partners bid in the process).
  6. If your partner first led spades and is going for a set.
  7. When trying to set a nil.

If you have high spade cards--such as the king or queen--but not the top spades, you might lead a mid or low spade to attempt to pull out the higher spades in an attempt to make your high cards sure winners.


From another nice guide by Tyler Wong:

You should lead trump if:

  1. You don't have a good non-trump lead (maybe your RHO is out of the suits you hold).
  2. You want to run out trump. Running out trump can be a good tactic if you suspect your opponents are shorter and/or have worse trump than you and your partner (perhaps they both have trumped earlier in the round). By running out trump, you turn the round into a battle of non-trump high cards, so be sure that you have high non-trump, or that your opponents are out of the suits you own. You can run out trump a couple of ways:

Start from the top and lead down. This is effective if you have a few boss trump, or are very long in spades (six or more). You lead low trump, your partner plays as high as possible (if partner's highest spade is higher than your LHO's spade). If your partner gets the lead back, she leads low, and you play high. This will work even if your opponents have higher trump than you, as long as you end up with the last trump and can lead suits in which your opponents are weak or void.

Take this hand: ♠AQJ954 ♥QJT97 ♣9 ♦5

Without the big trump power, you would count none of your hearts as tricks. But in this hand, if you draw out the ♥A and ♥K then run out trump, the rest of your hearts will be boss and will be worth two to four tricks.

  1. Once you suspect your opponents are out of spades, stop leading them.

The book Master Spades by Steve Fleishman dedicate a full chapter for when leading spades is the right move. It stats that

the refusal to lead spades when appropriate is by far the weakest aspect of most players' game.

In general it is beneficial to lead spades as soon as possible if your side has more spades than the opponents.

Next it describes a list of situations of when to lead spades:

  1. 5 or more spades
  2. bid + partner's bid is at least 8
  3. Partner's bid is at least 6
  4. Partner leads low Spade: if you can, win the trick and re-lead spades
  5. When you want to cut down opponents ruffs
  6. When you only have spades

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