The History of Spades!
A great thing about playing cards is that they lend themselves to the invention of an infinite variety of games like Spades. This can sometimes result in a history that is somewhat hard to identify. Where the game of Spades is concerned one can only arrive at a general conclusion of where the game was invented.
Most agree that Spades originated in the United States, specifically the Midwest, in the 1930’s. Cincinnati, Ohio is thought to be the birthplace of this fun game. It appears that college students who were familiar with the card games Whist and Bridge wanted to create a game that was competitive and strategic and also suited itself to team competition. Spades seems to have spread quickly on college campuses because of its fast-paced nature; a game could be played in twenty minutes or so.
It wasn’t until America became involved in the Second World War, however, that Spades really came into its own. The war saw many young people drawn into service and the game was popular with them because it required only a deck of cards whereas other games required pieces that were not practical or portable. Once the war ended, many young people returned home and took advantage of the G.I. Bill which allowed them to go to college. Spades returned once more to the college campus.
As more people became familiar with Spades it became a popular choice for factory workers who played it on their lunch break or office workers. Unlike Bridge which had always been more highly regarded among the members of upper society, Spades was a game that appealed to many different social classes.
As recent as 1969 there was no mention of Spades in many rule books for playing card games such as the Official Rules of Card Games which is published by the United States Playing Card Company of Cincinnati, the very place where Spades may have originated! Even though the game is extremely popular it has remained a somewhat underground game, perhaps because of its initial association with those who could only afford a simple deck of cards for entertainment.
In recent times things have changed, largely in part to the Internet where online Spades games can be found at any hour of the day or night. Players can easily find a game and can even participate in tournaments or clubs. On some websites Internet players can even play Spades for real money. It is also very telling that Spades has become a popular product offering from Yahoo, MSN, and even social platforms like Facebook.
As always, Spades remains popular on college campuses across the United States where young people still enjoy spending an hour or two away from their classes with a deck of cards and good friends.