How To Play Hearts

The game of Hearts is a popular card game. Essentially a trick taking game, the objective of the game is to avoid the winning tricks which contain hearts. The advent of the game can be traced back to the 19th century. Today, Hearts is played in most countries. Furthermore, a number of variations of the game have also appeared, although the American version is the most popular.

Number of Players

The number of players in the American version of the game is four. Each of the players plays individually, although partnerships can be formed. Hearts can also be played by two up to six players. Only a single player is needed to play against the computer.

  • Hearts Basics: Another place to find out more about Hearts rules.
  • Hearts Ancestor: Brief outline of the game “Losing Lodam,” considered the precursor of hearts.
  • How to Play: Provides Hearts rules for two to five players.

The Object of the Game

The object of the game is to avoid scoring points. When one of the players reaches or exceeds 100 points, the game ends. Then, the player with the least number of points is declared the winner.

  • iPhone Hearts: Provides links for people who want to play Hearts on their iPhone.
  • Card Suits: Discusses the history of card suits.
  • Hearts: An overview of the game of Hearts with some variations like Black Lady Hearts, Cancellation Hearts, and more.

How to Set Up the Game

The standard deck of 52 cards is used. The cards are dealt and played in a clockwise manner. All the cards are dealt between the four players, so that each player has 13 cards in hand. In other variants, sometimes, two decks of cards are used.

  • Computer Hearts: Good place to test your Hearts skills against the computer.
  • Omnibus Hearts: BBC shows the rules of Omnibus Hearts along with several other useful Hearts tips and tricks.
  • Microsoft Hearts Tips: Some tips on playing the Microsoft version of hearts.


After the deal, the first hand requires the first player to choose three cards, and pass them to the player on the right by keeping the three cards face down. After picking up the three cards, the second player similarly passes three cards to the player on the right, and the same game play continues for the third and fourth player. The second round is identical to the first. In the third round, the players start passing the cards to the player opposite to them. In the fourth round, there are no passings of cards. This is the cycle which continues until the game ends.

  • Hearts Tips: Some excellent tips and guidelines on the game.
  • How to Win: Offers some advice on how to play winning Hearts.

Card Values

Each of the cards belonging to a particular suit is ranked conventionally, that is from ace at the top to two as the lowest ranked card. However, there is no trump suit in the game of Hearts.

  • Shoot the Moon: Provides basic strategy on how to “shoot the moon” in the game of hearts.
  • FAQs: Answers some of the most common Hearts questions.


In the tricks which a player has won, penalty points for those cards are scored by the player. Each of the hearts scores one point while the queen of spades scores thirteen points. These cards are called point cards. If a player captures all the point cards, it’s called “shooting the moon”. 


The game ends when one of the four players reaches a hundred points. The winner is the player with the least points.

  • Hearts: An overview of the game with information on scoring, variations, and more.


The player who possesses the two of clubs has to make the first trick. The second player must play a card which belongs to the same suit, if he doesn’t have a card of the same suit, he can play any other card. Leading a trick with hearts is not legal, unless there is no card in any other suit to play. Discarding of a card belonging to the heart suit which subsequently allows hearts to be led is called Breaking Hearts. Painting the Trick on the other hand is the term used when a player discards a penalty card to a trick. Spades can be led to any trick. A number of players try leading lower spades in order to discard the queen. This tactic is called Smoking out the Queen.

  • Variation Checklist: Provides a checklist for the prevalent variations of Hearts.
  • Passing Strategy: Offers some strategies for passing cards in the Hearts game.
  • Heart Game Links: A list of links to online card games, including Hearts.
  • Passing in Hearts: More passing strategies for the game of Hearts.
  • Alan’s Hearts: Expert comments and tips on Hearts from Alan Hoyle.
  • Hearts Variations: Provides instructions on the game with some variations like Turbo Hearts, Black Maria, and Dirty Nasty Filthy Hearts.

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