Hearts is a card game where players aim to score the fewest points. A deck of cards is dealt to players, who then choose a strategy. Players pass cards to each other before starting the game. Scoring is based on hearts and the queen of spades, with shooting the moon being a rare and valuable strategy.
Hearts is a strategic card game that involves taking tricks. Players have to plan a strategy for themselves, interpret other players’ moves and remember the cards that have been played. Ace is high in the game of hearts. The objective of the game is to score the fewest points in the end. The game ends when one or more players reach 100 points. Hearts is best played by four players and the instructions below are for that number. There are many variations you can find, which include different numbers of players and other game and scoring rules.
How to set up the Hearts card game
A single deck of cards, with the jokers removed, is shuffled and dealt to the players, one at a time in a face-down pile, so that everyone has 13 cards. At this point, players make a preliminary decision on one of two strategies. Players can choose to try to avoid winning any of 13 hearts and the Queen of Spades, called the Black Lady, or they can try to win all 13 hearts and the Queen of Spades, known as Shooting the Moon.
The first step
After making this preliminary decision, each player chooses any three cards from their hand and simultaneously passes their cards face down to the player to their left. Only after all cards have been passed can players examine the new cards. At this point, the new information will help solidify their strategy. The rule of passing is that the first hand passes to the left, the second to the right, the third through and then the sequence starts again.
Start of the game
The first player is the one who has the 2 of clubs after the pass. Each player must follow suit if possible, and if not, any other card, with the caveat that on the first trick, the queen of spades and all hearts cannot be played. There is no trump suit, so the highest card of the suit that was led always wins the trick. The player who won the trick picks up the trick, places it in front of him and leads the next trick.
Hearts game scoring is based on hearts and the queen of spades only, but depends in part on whether a player managed to shoot the moon, which is rare. If nobody shoots the moon, each heart counts one point, while the queen of spades gives a player 13 points. If a player shoots the moon, several things can happen:
Some rules award that player 0 points, while others subtract 26 points from that player’s score.
Alternatively, some rules allow a player who Shoots the Moon to have a score of 0 or choose instead to increase the scores of all other players by 26.