How to Play Hearts

Hearts is a trick-taking game with many variations. Often times other variants like "black lady" and "black maria" are also called hearts.

Hearts Game Rules

| Players: 4 | Type: trick-taking | Supplies: 1 Deck, paper and pen |


The objective of hearts is to have the lowest score at the end of the game.


Deal 13 cards to each player, one at a time. Players may look at their cards.

Card Rank

(Highest) Ace, King, Quen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 (Lowest)

The highest ranking card in the lead suit takes the trick. Lead suits beat all cards not of that suit. The lead suit is the first card played for each trick.

Game Play

In the first round, each player passes three cards to the left. In the second round, each player passes three cards to the right. In the third round, each player passes three cards to the player across from them. In the fourth round no one passes cards. This cycle continues throughout the game.

Pass the cards according to what round you are on. The player with the two of clubs plays it in the middle to lead the first trick. Play continues clockwise. Each player after must play a card with the lead suit, if possible. If they do not have a card of that suit, play any card. The exception being, a player cannot play a heart suited card or a queen of spades on the first trick.

After each player plays a card, the highest ranking card based on the lead card (the first card played) takes the trick. Once a trick has been taken, that person leads the next trick. The round is over when all tricks have been collected. Tally up score and begin another round after shuffling. The game is over once a player reaches or passes 100 points.


Score is based on the cards in the tricks you take. Players get one point for each heart they take. The player who took the queen of spades gets 13 points. There is one exception, if a player takes every heart and the queen of the spades, it is known as “shooting the moon,” and that player receives no points and every other player receives 26 points.

Additional Rules

-The first trick must start with the two of clubs. During the first trick if a player does not have a club, they must play a diamond or a spade.

-A heart cannot be the lead card until hearts are broken. Hearts become broken when a player plays a heart suited card on a trick


After a player reaches or passes 100 points, the game is over. The player with the least amount of points at the end of the game is the winner.

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