The game gain popularity during the 1990s, as it became more easily accessible due to the internet and the formation of many tournaments. Mainly being popular in the USA, the game has spread to many different countries since its creation.
The main objective of the game is to score a certain number of points. Players can accumulate points by winning the number of tricks they have bid before the beginning of each hand. They can also lose points by not succeeding in taking the stated number or exceeding it.
Dealing and Playing
There is one special case: Nil bid – when a player declares that they will not win any tricks during the round. If successful, bonus points are awarded, and if not, a penalty are reduced from the final score.
The round begins with the player to the left of the dealer. Any card can be played at the beginning, apart from a spade. Afterward, players follow suit whenever they can. If unable to do so, any card can be played.
When cards of the spade suit are involved, the highest spade played takes the trick. When no spades are played, the highest card of the lead suit is the winner.
Spades can be led when the following conditions are met:
- A player must have already played a spade
- A player has only spades in his hand
When the first spade is played, it is known as “breaking spades”.
If a player could not reach their bid, 10 points for each trick are deducted from the score. For example, a player has declared a bid of 3, but they won less than 3 tricks. The result will be a deduction of 30 points.
A successful Nil bid rewards 50 points, and if it is not – 50 points are deducted from the score.
When a player wins more tricks than declared, they score 1 more point for each additional trick (overtricks). Overtricks accumulate in the so-called bag. 5 overtricks will deduct 50 points from the score, and the bag will reset to 0.