Best Way to Pass Time While Doing Time

Spades

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"We play two against two," a current inmate of the Cook County Jail says. "Some dudes will gamble—they'll play for 50 cents or a dollar, so they can buy some viable food from the commissary, because the food they serve us is horrible. But a lot of people will just play for fun." A one-on-one card game called casino is also played by many prisoners. Dominoes is one of the most popular games in Illinois's penitentiaries, where inmates are allowed to use the actual porcelain or wooden tiles. But in the County Jail, only card facsimiles of dominoes are available, which is why spades is more popular. "Spades is good recreation," the inmate says. "You get good at counting suits and cards. It takes your mind from your situation. We have nothing else to do in the day room but watch TV."