With our Hearts game, you can:
The player with the 2 of Clubs must start and play that card.
When trick is being played, players should match the suit of the first card played. If they cannot, they can play another suit.
Hearts can only be played as a starting card after they have been "broken," meaning after someone already played a Heart because they did not have the right suit.
The player with the highest rank of the starting suit wins the trick.
Tricks that have hearts contribute 1 point to the player's score.
Tricks that have the Queen of Spades contribute 13 points to the player's score.
Once all the cards are played, the winner is announced. The winner is the person who has the least number of points.
If a player has all the hearts and the Queen of Spades, they are said to "shoot the moon" - in this case, that player gets zero points and other players get 26 points added to their total. Thus, the player who shot the moon wins the round.
The overall game is won once a player scores 100 points across rounds.
Hearts was introduced in the United States in the 1880s. However, it is derived from a European game called Reversi which was popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. It recently took off in popularity when Windows 3 included Hearts in their operating system in 1992, and later various internet sites like Solitaired developed the game for online use. Windows 8 discontinued Hearts in 2012.
The objective of Hearts is to end the game with the fewest points possible by picking and choosing when’s best to win ‘tricks’, while making sure you steer clear of as many hearts as possible.
This is because, at the end of the game, each player’s score is totalled based on which cards they’re left with (see 'how do you keep score in Hearts?’).
Despite being a game partly defined by luck, it is ultimately down to the player’s skill and strategy that makes the difference between losing and coming out victorious. Choosing the best card in your hand at the right time will make all the difference to your score.
Generally, you should pass over the highest cards of any suits. In the game of Hearts, any aces and picture cards should be passed first.
This is because the higher value of the card, the more likely it is you’re going to win the given ‘trick’ at any time – this increases your chance of winning heart cards in the later rounds.
It can be advantageous to pass on as many hearts as possible. However, having a low-value heart in hand lets you bait other players into winning tricks containing hearts, giving you an advantage.
The cards you give to an opposing player at the start of each game will depend on your playing style, and the quality of your hand – for example, if you’re trying to ‘shoot the moon’ or avoid winning tricks.
The best time to play the Queen of spades is when you’ve run out of a suit, and an opposing player has started a new trick with that suit.
You must get rid of the Queen of spades during this time because winning a trick containing this card costs you the maximum of 13 points.
You also cannot pass on the Queen of spades at the start of a game.
Hearts is typically a four-player game. However, adaptations can be made to the game to include more or fewer players.
In a four-player game, each player is dealt 13 cards. However, when playing with three, the two of diamonds should be removed from play, and each player should be dealt 17 cards.
Similarly, when playing three-player Hearts, small changes need to be made to the deal to make it possible.
When playing with five players, you need to remove the two of diamonds and the two of clubs and deal each player 10 cards.
Shoot for the moon – This means gathering all the hearts, plus the Queen of spades. Although the objective is to collect no hearts, collecting every one in the deck – ace through to King – and the Queen of spades means all points are null and void, and the player that succeeds in collecting them all wins the round. In this instance, every other player is penalized, with 26 points added to their score.
Black Lady – Reference to the Queen of spades. Whoever wins the Queen of spades in a trick risks an additional 13 points added to their score.
Kitty – Usually used in variants of Hearts with an odd number of players, a kitty is a face-down pile of cards that are added to the trick of the first player to take a penalty card (heart or the Queen of spades).
Trick – When every player has played their chosen card onto the table, this is called a trick. In each round, the highest card in the lead suit wins the trick – as well as all penalty cards that come along with it.
Hand – This is the selection of cards each player must make moves from.
For more information, check out our guide on how to play hearts, or if you'd like to try a similar game, try our Spades game or check out other trick-taking games.