How to Play Hearts

Hearts is a trick-taking game that is believed to have originated in Spain in the 18th century. In each hand, each player plays one card. This group of cards is known as a “trick.” The object of Hearts is to have the lowest score at the end of the game by avoiding certain cards.

Hearts Card Game

The hearts card game is most typically played with four people. Unlike many other trick-taking games, the people that are sitting across from each other are not partners. However, there may be times in Hearts when it would be beneficial to help other players. Hearts is played with a standard 52-card deck – no jokers.

The first dealer can be chosen using any method that the players agree on. For example, each player could cut the deck and the person who revealed the highest card would be the first dealer. The position of dealer passes clockwise after each hand. The dealer deals out 13 cards to each player. This should deplete the entire deck.

After every player receives their cards, they each assess their hand and decide on three cards that they will pass to another player. These three cards are placed face down all together before the other player picks them up. A player cannot look at the cards that are being passed to him before he decides on the cards that he is going to pass. On the first hand, each player passes three cards to their left. On the second hand, players pass to their right. On the third hand, players pass to the person sitting across from them. On the fourth hand, players do not pass any cards. This cycle continues until the game is over.

Rules of Hearts

The rules of hearts require that after the players have passed three cards each, trick taking begins. The player with the 2 of clubs sets this card on the table to begin the first trick and play moves clockwise. Every player must follow suit with whatever card was led. For example, on the first trick, every player must play a card in the clubs suit unless they have no clubs. If a player cannot follow suit, they are allowed to play any card they wish. The person who put out the highest-ranking card of the suit that was led wins the trick. The card rankings from high to low are: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2. This ranking counts for every suit and there is no trump suit.

The person who wins a trick takes the trick cards into their possession and leads the next trick. As with every trick, players must follow suit if they can and players play cards one at a time in a clockwise motion.

Hearts are the special suit in this game. A card of the hearts suit cannot lead a trick until a player has played a heart as part of a previous trick. This is known as “breaking” the hearts. After the hearts have been broken, any player can lead with a heart. A player can only break the hearts on a lead if they have a hand containing all hearts.

Hearts Scoring

How to Play Hearts

How to Play Hearts

Tricks are played until every player’s hand is depleted. Then, players look at the cards they acquired from winning tricks. Every heart that a player ends up with is worth one point. The Queen of spades is worth 13 points. Remember that you want to try to keepyour score as low as possible. So, avoiding hearts and the queen of spades is key to winning.

If a player gets all the hearts and the queen of spades, it is known as “shooting the moon.” In this case, a player can either decrease her score by 26 points or have every other player’s score increase by 26 points.

The game ends when one player reaches 100 points. The person who has the lowest score at this point wins the game.

Hearts Strategy

Unless you are attempting to shoot the moon, you want to follow good hearts strategy by avoiding to win any hearts in a trick. Therefore, avoid playing the highest card in the suit that was lead if any hearts have been played in the trick. This may not always be possible, of course.

Also, many players will try to “smoke out the Queen.” This means that they will lead with low-ranking spades in an attempt to force the person who has the Queen of spades to play it and win the trick.

It is important to carefully consider the cards that you pass to an opponent. You may not want to give other players all of your hearts. If you keep low hearts, you can lead them in a trick and force other players to play higher-ranking hearts, which will, in turn, lead to your opponents acquiring more hearts than you. You may also want to consider passing cards that will leave you with as few different suits in your hand. This is known as “short-suiting” your hand. If you do this, you can have more control over what you play because you don’t have to constantly be following suit.

Hearts is a good introduction to trick-taking games because it is not quite as complicated as games such as bridge. There are many variations of hearts and people play with many different rule changes. There are even versions that allow three or five players to participate. Learning to play Hearts and its variations can be a great way for family and friends to spend time together.

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