Each hand consists of a number of tricks (the 4-handed game contains 13 tricks using all 52 cards). The player on the dealer's left makes the opening lead by playing a single card of their choice. Players in clockwise fashion then play a card of their choice; they must follow suit, if they can, otherwise they may play any card, including a trump Spade. Once a card has left the hand of a player, it stands and cannot be retrieved unless the player who threw the card makes an effort to correct his mistake before the next player lays down a card. A common variant rule, borrowed from Hearts, is that a player may not lead Spades until a Spade has been played to trump another trick. This prevents a player who is "long" in Spades (having a large number of them) from leading Spades one after the other at the beginning of the hand to deplete them and thus prevent other players using them as trumps. The act of playing the first Spade in a hand is known as "breaking Spades", derived from its parent rule, "breaking Hearts". When a player leads with a spade (after spades has been broken), the other players must follow suit. Another common variant rule, also borrowed from Hearts, is that a player cannot lead Spades in the first trick. The trick is won or taken by the player who played the highest value card; if one or more trumps were played the highest trump card wins, otherwise the highest card of the suit led wins. The player who wins the trick gathers the cards up into a face-down arrangement that allows players to count the number of tricks taken. The contents of each trick can not be viewed after this point, except to determine whether a player reneged (played an off-suit card including trumps when they could have and thus should have followed suit). The number of tricks a player has won cannot be disguised, if asked each player must count out their tricks until everyone has agreed on their "trick count". The player who wins any given trick leads the next. Play continues until all players have exhausted their hands, which should occur on the same (last) trick. Otherwise, it is a misdeal.
Spades is a trick-taking card game devised in the United States created in the 1930s. It can be played as either a partnership or solo/"cutthroat" game. The object is to take at least the number of tricks (also known as "books") that were bid before play of the hand began. In partnership Spades, the bids and tricks taken are combined for a partnership. Spades is a descendant of the Whist family of card games, which also includes Bridge, Hearts, and Oh Hell. Its major difference as compared to other Whist variants is that, instead of trump being decided by the highest bidder or at random, the Spade suit is always trumps, hence the name.
Spades was devised in the United States in the late 1930s and became popular in the 1940s. It is unclear which game it is most directly descended from, but it is known that Spades is a member of the Whist family and is a simplification of Contract Bridge such that a skilled Spades player can learn Bridge relatively quickly (the major additional rules being dynamic trump, the auction, dummy play, and rubber scoring). The game's rise to popularity in the U.S. came during World War II, when it was introduced by soldiers from its birthplace in Cincinnati, Ohio to various military stations around the world. The game's popularity in the armed forces stems from its simplicity compared to Bridge and Euchre and the fact that it can be more easily interrupted than Poker, all of which were also popular military card games. After the war, veterans brought the game back home to the U.S., where due to the GI Bill it spread to and became popular among college students as well as in home games. It also remained widely popular in countries in which U.S. troops were stationed, both in WWII and later deployments.