How to Play Hearts

Hearts is a classic card game that has been enjoyed for many years, with the earliest published rules being from 1887, although earlier variations are believed to have existed. It is a trick-taking game, meaning that players aim to win tricks by playing the highest card in each round. Other similar trick-taking card games include Spades, Bridge, and Whist. More information about games can be found at! If you enjoy any of these similar games, then you are sure to enjoy a game of Hearts as well.

How is Hearts Played

Hearts is played using a standard deck of 52 cards and can accommodate two to six players. The objective of the game is to win as few hearts as possible during each round, as hearts are worth points, and players want to avoid collecting too many points. At the start of each round, the players cut the deck to determine the dealer. The dealer then shuffles and deals 13 cards to each player, one at a time, in a clockwise direction. The player to the left of the dealer leads with any card, and the following players must play a card of the same suit if possible. If it is not possible for a player to play a card of the same suit, then they can make the choice to discard any card. The highest card of the suit led wins the trick, and the winner of each trick leads to the next round until all the cards have been played.

Points in Hearts

One of the unique aspects of Hearts is that the Queen of Spades and all hearts are worth points, while all other cards are worth nothing. The Queen of Spades is worth 13 points, while each heart is worth one point. Therefore, players want to avoid winning tricks that contain hearts or the Queen of Spades. After each round, players count the number of hearts they have collected.

There are several scoring methods available to determine the winner, including a simple method where players put up one point for each heart they have taken, and the player with the fewest hearts wins. In the sweepstakes method, each player puts up one point for each heart taken, and the player who takes no hearts wins the pool. In the Howell method, players put up points equal to the number of players in the game for each heart taken, and the number of points taken out of the pool depends on the total number of hearts played.

Variations of Hearts

The game can also be played using variations such as Blackjack, where the Jack of Spades counts as 10 hearts, or Black Lady, where the Queen of Spades counts as 13 hearts. Each round can be treated as a game itself, as players can agree to play to a certain number of points to determine the overall winner.

Overall, Hearts is an accessible and enjoyable game that can be played by anyone with a deck of cards and a few friends. The Official Rules of Card Games, Hoyle Up to Date 1913, provides a comprehensive guide to playing the game and its various scoring methods.