The card game of Hearts is a popular pastime that has been around for a long, long time. It involves the use of skills along with a lot of good luck. You can easily learn how to play this game by getting three other people, a standard deck of fifty-two playing cards, and pencil and paper together. There are no teams in Hearts as every player is on his or her own.
The first step is to deal out one card, face-up, to each player. The first player to get a jack is the designated dealer to start out with. The deal then switches to the player on each dealer’s left. The cards are shuffled and then the dealer deals out all of the cards, one by one, to each of the four players. Everyone should end up with a hand of thirteen cards. You should separate your cards into each of the four suits–spades, clubs, hearts, and diamonds. Placing them in numerical order, from highest to lowest or vice versa would help you too to see what you have in your hand.
Before we go any further, you will need to know what the object of the game is. It is to win by having the lowest score. The game is played round after round until at least one player reaches a score of one hundred and one or higher. (The scores from every round are kept track of and added up.) Each heart, no matter whether it is a face card or a number card, counts as one point. The queen of spades, also known as the “Black Lady” counts as thirteen points. You must follow suit in whatever card is lead. If, however, you cannot follow suit, you can then throw off hearts, the queen of spades, or other cards that you want to get rid of.
Now, the player on the dealer’s left starts off by leading. The highest card in the suit takes the cards that were played in that trick. If, for example, someone could not follow suit and threw off a heart, then the person with the highest card now has one point against them. The play continues on until all of the thirteen cards in each player’s hand are played. At the end of each round, each player counts up the number of hearts they have acquired. And, whoever got the dreaded queen of spades has to add thirteen more points to their score too.
A word about throwing off cards when you cannot follow suit: Your best bet is to throw off high hearts and other high ranking cards so that you will have a lesser chance of taking in tricks that have points, (hearts or the queen of spades)in them. You will also want to get rid of a few cards in one suit so that, when it is lead again, you won’t be able to follow suit. This way, you will have the luxury of throwing off.
And now a word about another important aspect of the game of Hearts. If one person succeeds in what is known as “running” or collecting all of the thirteen hearts along with the queen of spades, then that person has the choice of deducting the full twenty-six point off of his or her score, or, adding the twenty-six points to each of the other player’s scores.