How to play Hearts

The game of Hearts is a classic trick-taking card game that has been played for generations. It’s easy to learn, but can get increasingly more strategic as you play. Learn how to play below, or jump into a game on the app!

Overview of the Game

Hearts is typically played with four players, but it can also be played with three or five players. The game is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. The objective of the game is to avoid taking certain cards, specifically the hearts suit and the queen of spades, while trying to collect the lowest possible score.

Step-by-Step Guide to Playing Hearts

  • The first step in playing Hearts is to shuffle the deck of cards and deal them out to each player, face-down. Each player should have 13 cards.
  • The player with the 2 of clubs leads the first trick. In subsequent tricks, the player who won the previous trick leads.
  • During each trick, players must play a card from their hand that matches the suit of the card that was led. If a player does not have any cards of that suit, they can play any card they choose.
  • The player who played the highest card of the suit that was led wins the trick and leads the next one.
  • The goal is to avoid taking any hearts cards or the queen of spades. Hearts cards and the queen of spades are worth points, and the player with the highest score at the end of the game loses.
  • Players must follow suit if possible, but if not, they may play any card they choose.
  • The game continues until all 13 tricks have been played.
  • At the end of the game, players count the number of hearts cards and the queen of spades that they have taken. Each heart is worth 1 point, for a total of 13 penalty points possible in each hand. The Queen of Spades costs you 13 points on her own. The player with the lowest score wins the game.
  • If one player takes all of the hearts cards and the queen of spades, they have "shot the moon" and receive zero points for that round, while all other players receive 26 points.
  • The game can be played over multiple rounds, with the winner being the player with the lowest cumulative score at the end of all rounds.

Here's a video to see Hearts explained in action!

Tips for Playing Hearts

Here are a few tips that can help you play Hearts more effectively:

  • Try to get rid of your high hearts cards early in the game, when other players are less likely to be able to avoid taking them.
  • Keep track of the cards that have been played, especially the hearts cards and the queen of spades. This can help you make more informed decisions about which cards to play in future tricks.
  • On the other hand, if someone is taking all the hearts and took the queen of spades, take a heart yourself because that player might be going for shooting the moon!
  • Be mindful of the cards that you pass to other players at the beginning of each round. This can have a big impact on your strategy for that round. and play Hearts with friends!

Hearts is a fun and challenging game that takes practice. To learn the nuances of the game, and become a better Hearts player, gather your friends and family over a deck of cards, or check out the app! Play with real people in real time on, and explore other games like Spades, Liar’s Dice, or our collaborative crossword. We have daily tournaments for all of your favorite games, real prizes, and a welcoming community.

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