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What sort of people to do you meet when you play Spades?
Well, Spades is just like the rest of the World! You meet some very nice people and you meet a few really horrible people. Most people that you meet are just like you and I - average people! I play most of my Spades on Yahoo, but I also play on the Pogo sites and on MSN. Most of the time the games are enjoyable, but on some occasions you can have a problem. However, these are very limited and I wouldn't worry about it too much.
What problems can you have and how can you deal with them?
1. Bad Cards The most common problem you will have is getting bad cards! It will happen 50% of the time! You can do nothing about it! What you can do is to keep quiet about it. No one really wants to hear about your bad luck. Everyone goes through a period of getting bad cards. When it happens, just bid the 1's and 2's. Don't get tempted to bid bad nils. If you do then you will fall even further behind. Your turn will come! You can still set bids even with a poor hand. Never give up!
2. Cheats Unfortunately, there are a very small percentage of players who can only win by cheating. Unfortunately, if they are cheating then it is very difficult to do anything about it. There are a couple of ways that I use to help avoid them. Check on their win/lose ratio. This is easy at Yahoo just click on their name. In my experience it is very difficult for even a good player to have a win/lose ratio much better than 2:1. If you meet players with some amazing ratio like 5:1 then I would suggest that you DON'T PLAY with them. Spades is a card game and therefore has an element of luck. Such high ratios are extremely difficult, if not imposible, to achieve in normal play! However, I am not saying that everyone with a high ratio is a cheat! A few high ratios are genuine.

I also avoid players with very crude or vulgar names. These are probably chosen by some stupid youngster, who thinks they are being clever and can bask in the anonymity of the internet.

Yahoo allows players to FF (force a forfeit) if a player is absent for some 3 minutes. This is not something that I encourage or even like, but if someone FF's then it may be unsporting, but it is not cheating.

3. Bad Partners Sometimes you get a bad partner. It's not easy, but try and grin and bear it. Yelling and swearing at your partner will not make him play better. What can you do to ensure that you partner will play well? You can't, but you can improve your chances. When I'm playing at Yahoo in the Ladder, then I check my partner's rating. I don't care where he is in the Ladder but if his rating is very low then I won't play with him. You may think this is hard, but remember at Yahoo, Pogo sites and others, that there is a beginners section. That is the place to start - not in the Ladder or Advanced Rooms!

If I make a mistake, then I always apologise to my partner probably before he realises that I've made one! I must admit that sometimes when my partner has made a mistake and doesn't apologise then I can get a bit miffed! If you have made a mistake then I suggest that you type "sp" (sorry partner). This may well stop your partner from getting upset. However hard it may be, try not to yell and scream at your partner. The time I cannot resist "having a go" is when partner makes a mistake and blames me! I had one the other day where my partner was set in a nil. He said I should have led clubs and not the suit that the other niller was out of. The other niller was out of hearts and diamonds, I had no clubs and spades hadn't been broken! What does he want me to do. I don't mind being criticised if I have made a mistake, although I'm not saying I like it!

4. Lagging Lagging is the curse of the card rooms! Lagging is a delay in response from a server, which results in a player or players being delayed for anything from a few seconds to a few minutes! There is internet lag where one person has the delay on a server that he or she is using. There can also be delay on the games server which can mean all four players have lag. Lagging can result in you being automatically ejected from your game. If you don't get back to the game within a specified time, then you may not be allowed back in the game or the other players may have ended it. In both instances your rating is reduced. I find it reasonably easy to get back into Yahoo, but it is much more difficult on Pogo sites and MSN. Occasionaly game servers crash - normally when I'm winning! This could be called ultimate lag!

I have never found out why games servers seem to have more lag than other sites. I can only assume that if a site is short on bandwidth, then the free users of the site are the ones who have the delay. If anyone knows why then please let me know.

5. Violence ! I have been threatened once with violence by one particularly obnoxious person on a Pogo site. My partner and I committed a cardinal sin in their book - we were beating them! They were trying to make my partner and I leave the game so that they could claim a win. They were definitely forgetting that Spades is only a game. Everybody likes to win, but not at any cost. However, that was an isolated instance and you certainly shouldn't worry about it happening to you.

Sometimes people start swearing for no apparent reason at all, except that things aren't going their way! The best thing to do is to ignore anyone who starts swearing at you or your partner.

The important thing to remember is that Spades is a game and not a life or death battle! Most people that you play with will be decent people who are just out for a bit of fun. Enjoy!

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(This page was last updated on 22nd April 2001)