Duplicate Spades, a tournament-based game, is a format of Spades created by Joe Andrews, a frequent contributor to SafeHarborGames, and is targeted at the medium to advanced player.
Once you have a basic understanding of Duplicates Spades, click on this page for information on how Duplicate Spades is implemented on SafeHarborGames.
In Joe Andrews' own words Duplicate Spades is "A tournament form of Spades in which identical deals are played in order to compare individual scores."
As originally introduced and discussed at a TheSpadesConnection tournament weekend, the ranking was solely based on the table score achieved by the team, as defined by standard Spades scoring. What had yet to be formally determined was how to keep track of the ranking from hand(round) to hand(round).
There were several points of discussion regarding the scoring:
  • Ranking of the final score of each round. What was more significant in determining the skill level of the team? The actual numberical score or the ranking of the score (First, second, etc)?
    There are advantages and flaws in either method. The goal was to identify the most reasonable measure.
  • Setting their opponent. Typical Spades strategy is to not only make your team's bid, but also to set their opponents. Since the results of a single hand/round are what determines the score/standing, should a team receive a bonus for setting their opponent's bid(s)?
  • How do you handle a situation where noone makes their bid. IE all scores are negative?
  • Only like hands are compared. Thus the separation of N/S and E/W team scoring
  • How many rounds would be considered a good determining factor for measuring a tema's skill?
Hands per Round
One round TRADITIONALLY consists of one hand (see Variants). The teams receive points from the computer for the top four scores from the round.
Rotation of Teams
At the beginning of each round, E/W teams (in seats 2 and 4) are moved to the next table. N/S teams stay in the same position, thus making sure each team gets to play with a different team each round. Example:
Table Scores
There are several differences in scoring in Duplicate Spades versus classic Spades scoring.
  • In Duplicate Spades, a team receives a bonus score by setting their opponents. The team receives a bonus when their opponents fails to make a bid.
    Failing to make a nil bid by their opponent, grants the other team a +100 to their score.
    Failing to make a bid of 1 or more by their opponent, grants the other team a +(bid times 10).
  • A point is deducted for every bag that a team gets. (each Bag == -1 point)
  • For the next hand or round, the scores and bags are reset to 0.
  • In Duplicate Spades, teams are ranked with all other teams sitting in the same seats.
    At the end of each round, the north/south teams are ranked and scored separately from the east/west teams. The top teams are awarded a predetermined amount of points based on their standing, and the traditional table scores are cleared at the end of each round.
  • In Duplicate Spades, a negative score gets can still be in the top ranking.
  • A round can consist of one or more hands. The teams receive points for the top X scores from the round. The awarded points are accumulated for each round.
  • First place receives more points than second place. Second place receives more points than third...etc.
    In Duplicate Spades, PLACEMENT is based on the Table Score, so if more than one team has the same Top Score, they are both ranked as First place.
Final Ranking
  • At the end of the tournament, the teams are ranked by the total number of points accumulated.
  • First place ("winner") would be the team with highest number of points.
  • Scoring can vary by site, so refer to the SafeHarborGames Duplicate Spades Page for specifics.
In Duplicate Spades, for each round/hand, every table gets the same deal, and correspondingly, each position gets the same hand at every table. The deal changes for each round. The goal is how well a team plays the hand they are dealt - not how well they play against their opponents.
From Joe Andrews on YouTube:
Duplicates in Spades    Techiques for Playing Duplicates
  • Multiple hands per round.
    Ranks are determined each round, by the TOTAL of all hands played during that round.
  • Number of top ranked spots.
    The number of top places that receive points may vary. Some implementations have points for the top four spots.
    The value and number of top ranked spots could vary based on the number of tables (teams) playing in the tournament.
    More tables encourages more points awarded for each spot.
  • Scoring versus points.
    The scores are accumulated, with an additional bonus score for the top ranking spots.
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