Playing Rules

Updated October 24, 2023
General Rules

Florida State University does not provide accident insurance coverage for injuries received by Intramural Sports participants. Each participant should make sure that they have coverage either through family policies or the student insurance plan.

Florida State University PROHIBITS possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on University property. Smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco is also prohibited at Campus Recreation facilities. This includes the Rec SportsPlex, Main Campus Fields, Westside Courts, and Tully Gym. Violators will be asked to leave the area. Failure to do so can result in forfeiture of the contest, suspension of individuals and/or teams, and appropriate action by the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards and/or the FSU Police.

Sport Rules

I. The Pack

The standard 52-card pack is used.

II. Rank of Suits

The spade suit is always trump.

III. Rank of Cards

A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

IV. Object of the Each Hand

To win at least the number of books bid.

V. The Deal

The first dealer is chosen by a draw for high card, and thereafter the turn to deal proceeds clockwise. The entire deck is dealt one at a time, face down, beginning on the dealer’s left. The players then pick up their cards and arrange them by suits.

VI. The Bidding

Each team decides how many books they will be able to take. The team opposite to the dealer’s starts the bidding and, in turn, each team states how many books they expect to win. There is only one round of bidding for each hand, and the minimum bid is 4 books per team. Every team must make a bid; no team may pass. No suit is named in the bid, for as the name of the game implies, spades are always trump. During bidding, teammates may talk across the table to each other. Once the bidding has concluded, no talking may happen between teammates.

VII. The Play

The game is scored by hands, and the winner must make a certain number of points, which is decided before the game begins. The game is played to 200 points. The player on the dealer’s left makes the opening lead, and players must follow suit, if possible. If a player cannot follow suit, they may play a trump or discard. The book is won by the team who plays the highest trump or if no trump was played, the team member who played the highest card in the suit led. The player who wins the book leads next. Play continues until none of the players have any cards left. Each hand is worth 13 books. Spades cannot be led unless played previously or player to lead has nothing but Spades in their hand.

VIII. How to Keep Score

For making the contract (the number of books bid), the team scores 10 points for each book bid, plus 1 point for each book won over the bid.

For example, if the team’s bid is seven and they make seven books, the score would be 70. If the bid was five and the team won eight books, the score would be 53 points: 50 points for the bid, and 3 points for the three extra books won. If a team accumulates 10 or more books over their projected bids, there will be a deduction of 50 points. Thus, the object is always to fulfill the bid exactly.

If the team “breaks contract,” that is, if they take fewer than the number of books bid, the score is 0. For example, if a team bids four and wins only three books, no points are awarded.

One of the players is the scorer and writes the bids down, so that during the play and for the scoring afterward, this information will be available to all the players. When a hand is over, the scores should be recorded next to the bids, and a running score should be kept so that players can readily see the team’s total points. If there is a tie, then both teams participate in one more round of play.

IX. Reneging

Reneging is when a player has a card from the lead suit and can follow suit but does not. Reneging is considered cheating and penalized if proven occurred. If a team challenges reneging has occurred, they must identify which book on the table the player did not follow suit. The losing team of the renege challenge will be penalized 3 books.


1. The mission of Intramural Sports is to provide a recreational environment for the University community which is safe and enjoyable. While the game atmosphere is often competitive, ensuring participant safety, providing a fun, social atmosphere, and promoting sporting behavior among participants, spectators, and team followers are our primary concerns. The game atmosphere should remain good-natured at all times. Participants shall maintain good sporting behavior throughout their participation in all facets of the intramural program.

2. The Sporting Behavior Rating System is intended to be an objective scale by which teams’ attitude and behavior can be assessed throughout the intramural sports league and playoff seasons. Behavior before, during, and after an intramural sports contest is included in the rating. The team captain is responsible for educating and informing all players and spectators affiliated with their team about the system.

3. A team is responsible for the actions of the individual team members and spectators related to it. Additionally, FSU Intramural Sports does not recognize the use of coaches. Only the team captain shall speak to the officials regarding administrative matters (protests, ejections, disqualifications, etc.). Furthermore, the team captain’s efforts in assisting officials/staff to calm difficult situations and to restrain troubled teammates are key to controlling team conduct.

4. Sporting behavior is vital to the conduct of every Intramural contest. In order to encourage proper conduct during games, officials, administrative personnel, and supervisors shall make decisions on whether to warn, penalize or eject players or teams for poor behavior. These decisions are final. The Intramural Sports administrative staff will rule on further penalties as a result of unsporting conduct.

5. Each participant should choose their team members carefully, as all team members will suffer the consequences of any disciplinary action taken by the Intramural Sports staff against that team for violation of the intramural rules and sporting behavior guidelines. Protests or appeals of sporting behavior ratings will not be recognized. The Intramural Sports administrative staff reserves the right to review any rating given to a team.

6. Additional information regarding team and participant sporting behavior including the rating method, factors, and scale is available in the Sporting Behavior Principle of the Seven Principles of Intramural Sports, available online at the FSU Campus Recreation web site.


1. Participation is limited to currently-enrolled, fee-paying FSU students, faculty members, and full-time staff. FAMU & TCC students and members of the community are not eligible.

2. In order to participate in an intramural contest, each player must present their current, valid FSUCard. Check-in takes place at designated sign-in locations at the facility, not at the fields or courtside.

3. Additional information regarding player eligibility, team rosters, and participant check-in is available in the Seven Principles of Intramural Sports, available online at the FSU Intramural Sports web site and in the Intramural Sports Office at the Main Campus Fields (1001 W. St. Augustine Street). Requests for exceptions to any policy must be directed to the IM administrative staff during regular weekday business hours in the Intramural Sports Office. No exceptions are granted at the fields or courts.