Prison can be a rough place. Oftentimes it’s very difficult for newcomers to make friends. It’s hard enough getting a hello from someone, let alone getting them to make eye contact with you without some sort of evil intent behind it.

That’s why I’ve volunteered to take time out of my twenty-year stretch to teach you all about the most played social game in the clink… SPADES! Spades was invented in the early 1930s as a way to manipulate trust while also utilizing the buddy system. In the old days of prison if you were bored and lonely you would try to escape or simply kill yourself… but that was before Spades came along and made life in prison a billion times more fun!

First you’ll need a deck of cards. This can be obtained through the trade of cigarettes, mystery meats or sexual favors. Whatever works for you! Don’t be afraid to haggle. In a world where a game of cards can be more dangerous than a game of knives and a table in the rec room can determine whether or not you get buried in a graveyard or outside of your cell window, you might be surprised at how much you actually enjoy it!

Did you get the deck of cards? Great! In the game of Spades trust is rule number one, so try to pick a partner you can count on that won’t stab you in the back before, after or during the game… LITERALLY. Without trust there can be no progress. Without progress, you’ll never survive in prison! Now that you have all the players, the next thing you’ll need to do is establish the dealer. This can be determined by a good old fashioned staring contest. This is also the one and only time in Spades when having a partner with a dead eye comes in handy. Once the dealer is established (if he is in fact on your team) his job will be to count out the deck and make sure that you guys get all the best cards (labeled “best”) in the deck. Once the deck has been dealt, each player will draw blood from the player to their left and the player with the thickest blood goes first. After this is decided the game can officially begin! Crush, kill, DESTROY! Victory is only fifty-two cards away, my friend!

At the beginning of each turn you will examine your hand (also known as “Stroking” the hand) to see if there are any spades or “Rashes” in your possession. These cards cannot be used until another player has “Broken out in Rashes” or you yourself have nothing but rashes to add to the game. Once you are done “Stroking Your Hand” you will then pick the prettiest card you have and place it on the table. Your prettiest card is either the Queen, The Fancy Ace or any card with the heart or “Valentine’s Day” insignia on it. Once you’ve placed your card on the table, the other players must attempt to place a prettier card on the table in order to win the pile, or “Wife,” thus ending the turn. At the end of the game, the team with the most wives wins! The winners are rewarded with an unbreakable and confusing bond of loyalty while the losers have to sleep in the shadows for a week. It’s that simple!

Now that you have a basic understanding of Spades, get out there and make some new friends! Just because you’re “locked up” doesn’t mean you can’t “get down” and have a little FUN. Open up your social circle a bit (but not too much). Your incarceration is only temporary! And remember, even a bird in a cage flaps its wings at least once a day! GOOD LUCK!



The Higgs Weldon is a humor website with funny stories, articles, cartoons, and one liners. It was started by the Los Angeles stand-up comedy community, but takes submissions from everybody. Please read and enjoy our jokes!


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