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Hearts Rules




Playing Hearts
Hearts Rules







Object Of The Game

The object of Hearts is to earn as few points as possible. When any player reaches 100 points, the game ends. The player with the fewest points wins.

Game Setup

Hearts uses a standard deck of 52 cards (no jokers). Within each suit, the cards are ranked from lowest to highest: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A.

A regular game of Hearts is played with four players. There are no partners; each player plays independently.

Each player is dealt 13 cards at the beginning of each hand.


The only cards with a point value are those in the Heart suit -- worth one point each, regardless of face value -- and the Queen of spades, worth 13 points.

There is another way of "awarding" points to players, based upon the fall of the cards. This is technique is known as "Shooting the Moon". Instead of avoiding points, players can try to take every point card in the deck (all 13 Heart cards plus the Queen of Spades). Shooting the Moon is a high-risk, high-reward strategy. If successful, the player who Shoots the Moon receives zero points, and each of the other three players receives 26 points. Shooting the Moon is often attempted by players approaching 100 points, but it can be tried at any time by those who think they have a strong enough hand.

Playing The Game

Before play begins, all players must pass cards. After the cards are dealt, each player selects three cards to pass to another player. This is done at the beginning of each hand. The direction the cards are passed rotates with each deal. The passing rotation goes as follows:

Hand 1: Pass Left
Hand 2: Pass Right
Hand 3: Pass Across
Hand 4: Hold (in other words, you play the cards you are dealt -- no passing)

This rotation continues throughout game. After the Hold hand, rotation repeats (Left, Right, Across, Hold).

Players will not see the cards being passed to them until they have passed the cards they have selected. Play begins when the players have finished passing cards.

The player with the 2 of Clubs opens the first round and leads with that card. Play then proceeds clockwise.

Each player in turn must follow suit -- that is, play another card of the suit led. If a player holds no cards of the suit led, that player may play any card he or she chooses, with this one exception: Hearts or theQueen of Spades may not be played on the first round of a hand. The highest card in the suit led wins the trick, and that player leads off the next round.

Players who lead may play any card they wish, with one exception: no player may lead with a point card (namely the Queen of Spades or the Hearts) until one has been discarded (or "broken") in a previous round, or unless these are the only cards left in the hand. Once a point card has been discarded, any card may be led.

Example 1: North leads with the 10 Diamonds, East plays the 8 of Diamonds, South plays the King of Diamonds, and West plays the 3 of Diamonds. South wins the trick and leads off the next round.

Example 2: North leads with the 3 of Diamonds. East has no Diamonds and can't follow suit; so, East plays the King of Hearts. South can't follow suit either and therefore plays the 10 of Hearts. West can't follow suit either and thus plays the Ace of Spades. North wins the trick and leads off the next round because the 3 of Diamonds was the only (and therefore highest) card played of the suit led.

Play continues in this fashion until all 13 tricks have been played.

Playing Strategies

Players may choose between two basic strategies: (1) avoid taking the Queen of Spades and any Hearts, or (2) Shooting the Moon by taking the Queen of Spades and every Heart.

Ask yourself the following questions:


Do you have enough high cards to take every trick in which a Heart card is played? 


Are you susceptible to getting the Queen of Spades because of your high Spades, other high cards, or a long suit? 


Are you going to lose unless your opponents receive a lot of points in this hand? 


An attempt to Shoot the Moon may backfire, and you would end up with the most points yourself.

Avoiding the Queen of Spades and Hearts

Pass high Spade cards ( Queen, King, or Ace). 

Pass your highest cards to ensure taking as few tricks as possible, especially unguarded high cards. 

Lead low Spades early to draw out the Queen (assuming you don't it have yourself). 

Pass the 2 of Clubs so you can discard a high card in the first round. Neither the Queen of Spades nor any Heart card can be played in the first round, so play the Ace if you have it. 

If you keep the Queen of Spades, you might be able to decide which player will take her, but be sure you have enough low Spades to protect her from being forced out. 

Create a void in one suit when passing so you can discard Hearts, the Queen of Spades, or other high cards when other players lead that suit. 

Shooting the Moon

Pass your low cards. 

Discard low cards in the first couple of rounds when it is unlikely that a Heart will be played. 

Keep your high cards, especially your high Hearts. 

Lead Hearts once they are played. Take as many points as you can as early as you can. Once your opponents realize what you are trying to do, they will try and stop you. 

If a trick goes by without any points in it, let someone else take it. Save your high cards for when they count. 

Lengthy, or being long-suited, is an asset. Having six cards in one suit, including the high cards, almost guarantees a successful outcome if you can lead that suit. 






Copyright 2000 Intersite Technologies, Inc All Rights Reserved


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Copyright 2000 Intersite Technologies, Inc All Rights Reserved