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Hearts is a trick-taking card game for four players. The game is also known as Black Lady and is one of the most popular evasion-type of games. The main goal is to avoid hearts suit and Queen of Spades in winning tricks. Those cards are giving penalty points.

See our additional tips about Hearts rules, dealing & scoring.

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History of Hearts Card Game

The card game Hearts became popular around 1750 in Spain. In this game, a penalty point was awarded for each trick won, plus additional points for capturing J♥ or Q♥. Over time, additional penalty cards were added to Reversis, and around 1850, the game gave way to a simple variant of Hearts, where each heart was worth 1 point. The Q♠ was introduced in a variant called Black Maria which then became known as the standard Hearts game, and soon thereafter, the idea of “shooting the moon” was introduced to the game to add depth to the gameplay. Passing cards, breaking hearts, leading 2♣ are more recent additions.

How to Play Hearts

The card game Hearts is played by four players, each one playing solo. A standard French deck with all 52 cards is used. Cards in each suit rank from Ace to 2, Ace being the highest and 2 being the smallest. The player holding the lowest card – 2 of Clubs, starts the game.

Game Goal

The goal of the game is to not win any tricks containing Hearts or the Queen of Spades or to collect all the Hearts and the Queen of Spades. Each Heart card gives you 1 point and the Queen of Spades gives 13 points. If you collect all the Hearts and Q of Spades though, you score 0 points and all of your opponents score 26 points instead. It is called Shooting the Moon. The scope of the game is to collect as few penalty points as you can. The winner of the game is the one that has the lowest score.

Dealing and Playing

Dealing and playing is clockwise. Each player receives 13 cards and is asked to pass 3 cards in the beginning and receives other 3 cards by another player.

  • In the first round, the cards are passed to the player to the left.
  • In the second round, the cards are passed to the player to the right.
  • In the third round, the cards are passed to the opposite player.
  • In the fourth round, there is no passing.

The game starts with the player who has the 2 of Clubs. The players are obliged to follow the suite and if they cannot they can give any other card. The one who plays the highest ranked card wins the trick and has to initiate the next trick.

There are certain conditions that have to be followed before you can play Hearts or the Queen of Spades:

  • You can’t play them on the first trick.
  • You can’t lead a Heart before someone “breaks the Hearts”.
  • You can lead a Heart if you do not have any other card in your hands.


The scoring depends on how many penalty points each player has collected. Each Heart gives one penalty point and the Queen of Spades gives 13 penalty points. This means there are 26 penalty points in each round. If a player manages to collect all the penalty points (all the Hearts plus the Queen of Spades) each opponent collects 26 points and he gets 0 points. This case is called “Shooting the moon”. The game is completed when a player reaches 100 points. The winner of the game is the one who has the fewest points.

Custom options

In The Lobby “Play with Friends” you can adjust the following options:

1. Choose whether to pass cards or play with the ones you are having.

2. You can add + 26 points for Shooting the Moon or withdraw – 26 points.

3. Jack of Diamonds option: if you turn it on you are getting minus 10 points from the final score.

4. Adjust the max score – 50, 100 or 150 points.

Test your skills


Then enjoy more opportunities now: Euchre or Crazy Eights.

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