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An evasion-type trick-taking game for 3-6 players
Hearts Penalty Cards.jpg
The Hearts penalty cards; the object of Hearts is to avoid taking tricks containing any of these cards
Origin Polignac, Reverse, Four Jacks
Alternative names Black Lady, Black Swear, Chase The Lady, Crubs, Rickety Kate
Skills required Card counting, Tactics, Teamwork
Age range 7+
Type Trick-taking
Players 3-6, (4 Best)
Cards 52-card (51 or 54 for 3 or 6 players, 50 for 5)
Deck Anglo-American
Play Clockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2, no trump
Playing time 5 minutes per hand
Random chance Low — Moderate
Related games
Black Lady
Notes: Hearts, while not trump, award one penalty point each, hence the game's most common name.

Hearts is an "evasion-type" trick-taking playing card game for four players, although variations can accommodate 3-6 players. The game is also known as Black Lady, Chase the Lady, Crubs, Black Maria, and Black Bitch,[1][2] though any of these may refer to the similar but differently-scored game Black Lady. The game is regarded as a member of the Whist family of trick-taking games (which also includes Bridge and Spades), but the game is unique among Whist variants in that it is an evasion-type game.


History of Hearts

The game of Hearts as currently known originated with a family of related games called Reversis, which became popular around 1750 in Spain.[3] In this game, a penalty point was awarded for each trick won, plus additional points for capturing the Jack of Hearts or the Queen of Hearts. A similar game called Four Jacks centered around avoiding any trick containing a Jack, which were worth one penalty point, and the Jack of Spades worth two.

Over time, additional penalty cards were added to Reverse, and around 1850, the game gave way to a simple variant of Hearts, where each Heart was worth 1 point. The Queen of Spades 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. In the 1920s, the Jack of Diamonds variation (ten positive points) was introduced, and some time later the scoring was reversed so that penalty points were expressed as positive instead of negative. Passing cards, breaking Hearts, and leading the Two of Clubs are more recent additions.[3]

Recently the game has become popular in live play among grade school students in the United States, and is enjoying more widespread popularity through Internet gaming sites and due to a Microsoft version of the game packaged with most workstation versions of its popular Windows operating system, beginning in version 3.1 (see Hearts (Windows) for more information on the software game).



A standard deck of 52 playing cards is used. The objective of the game is to have the fewest points at the completion of the game.[4] Tricks containing any heart and the queen of spades give points to the winner of the trick. There is no trump;[5] the highest card of the suit led wins each trick.

Dealing the cards

Thirteen cards are dealt singly in turn to each of the four players.

  • When there are only three players, the 2♣[1] or 2[2][5] is removed from the deck before play commences, and each player receives 17 cards. Alternately, two Jokers can be added, and count as an off-suit, non-Heart card. Each player then receives 18 cards. In another alternative, a randomly chosen card is set aside face down at the beginning of play; this card goes to whoever takes the first heart.
  • When there are five players, the 2♣ and the 2 are both removed, and each player receives 10 cards.[1][2][5] Alternately, three Jokers (usually the two from one deck plus one from a similar deck) can be added, and each player receives 11. In another alternative, two randomly chosen cards are set aside face down at the beginning of play; these cards go to whoever takes the first heart.

Passing cards

The basic game of Hearts does not include card passing, but the most common variants do. Before each hand begins, each player chooses three cards, which they do not want or which they think will be damaging to another player, and pass them to another player. There are many variations on passing; the most common in computer versions of the game (and thus popular in live games) rotates passing through four deals; on the first deal, players pass to the left, then on subsequent deals to the right, then across the table, and then on the fourth deal no cards are passed.

Other variations on the passing rules include:

  • Subsets of the four-deal passing sequence, such as only passing in one direction each deal, alternating between passing left and right, or sequencing through passing left, right, and across, or left, right, and no pass.
  • When playing with three or five players, cross-passing is not technically possible as no one player is seated directly across from another. In these cases, "star-passing" may be substituted for cross-passing. The players choose only two cards, and pass one each to the two players situated closest to the exact opposite side of the table. Star-passing is so named because the pattern of passing routes forms a five-point star.
  • Alternately, with an odd number of players, players may choose three cards and discard them to a central pile. The Dealer will gather, shuffle, and re-deal these cards. This method is known as a center mixer.
  • Passing the Ace, King and/or Queen of Spades may be allowed or prohibited.[1]
  • When there are more than four players, only two cards are passed.[1]
  • The Dealer may choose how many cards and where to pass.

The play of the game

An example trick. South has led the J.

Common variants include:

  • The player holding the 2♣ must lead it to begin the first trick.[6] When playing with three or five players and the 2♣ has been removed, play starts with the 3♣[7]
  • No penalty card (a Heart or the Queen of Spades) may be played on the first trick ("no bleeding on the first trick"), however the player must follow suit and can play a penalty card if they would otherwise renege. The odds of being dealt a hand composed entirely of penalty cards is roughly 1 in 45 billion. However, the Hooligan Hearts variation which makes the 7♣ a penalty card, as well as variants in which the opening lead doesn't have to be a Club, present a far more likely situation in which a player might have only a penalty card in the opening trick's suit.
  • Hearts may not be led until they have been "broken" (discarded on the lead of another suit), unless the player who must lead has nothing but Hearts remaining in his hand. In some variations, any play of a penalty card, including the Q♠, "breaks hearts".
  • In a sub-variation of the above, if a player has nothing but Hearts and the Q♠ in his hand, he may elect not to throw the Queen on himself and instead still play a Heart. Either way, hearts are broken by his play.


Each heart won in a trick scores 1 penalty point against the player winning the trick, and the player winning a trick containing the queen of spades scores 13 penalty points. Therefore, there are 26 penalty points in each deal. The game ends either when one player reaches 100 points or after a predetermined number of deals or time has passed. In either case, the winning player is the one with the fewest penalty points.[4]

Simplified scoring with chips is possible: all players contribute one chip to a central pool of chips and the pool is divided equally between those players taking no penalty cards on a deal; if all players take penalty cards, the pool remains on the table and is added to the next pool; once one player has won all available chips, or once another player has run out, the game ends.

Scoring variants

There are many scoring variants including:

  • The 10 or J is a "bonus" card, subtracting 10 penalty points from the player who captures it. This is called the "Omnibus" variant and is very popular in some regions.
  • The 7♣ is another penalty card, worth 7 points, in a variant called Hooligan Hearts.[8]
  • A player reaching exactly 50 or 100 points subtracts 50 points from his score.
  • Different points are allocated to each penalty card.
  • The A♠ can also be a penalty card, and sometimes also the K♠ and 10♠. This is unpopular as it means any penalty Spade, not just the Queen, must be "sloughed" by playing off-suit.
  • Higher penalties for the high hearts (e.g. A=5, K=4, Q=3, J=2).
  • A player who takes no tricks in a deal subtracts 5 points from his score.
  • A player may declare before the first card is played that he or she will not take any hearts on the upcoming hand. If they succeed in their pledge, they may subtract 10 penalty points, but if they take any hearts they are assessed 10 additional penalty points.
  • Each numbered Heart (2-10) is assigned the numeric value in points, each face card and the Ace of Hearts counts as 10 points, and the Queen of Spades counts as 25 points, making a total of 119 in any given deal.

Shooting the moon

Shooting the moon, also known as getting control, capmangoe or running, is a very common scoring variant. If one player takes all the penalty cards on one deal, that player's score remains unchanged while 26 penalty points are added to the scores of each of the other three players. This is known as playing by "old moon" rules. Attempting to shoot the moon is often a risky strategy, as failure to capture even one of the penalty cards will result in the remaining penalty points (as many as 25) being added to one's score. An alternate rule allows giving a player who shoots the moon the option of subtracting 26 points from his own score instead of adding 26 to his opponents' scores; this variant is called "New Moon".

Three other sub-variations to the moon rule provide:

  • That a player who shoots the moon must add unless doing so would end the game with the shooter losing (e.g., in a 100-pt game, if the shooter has 90, another player 95, and the leader 63, adding on a moon would sink the shooter). In such a case, he may subtract.
  • That a player may subtract after a predetermined score has been reached by him or any other player.
  • That a player who shoots the moon and takes all the tricks in so doing (a grand slam) adds 52 points to the other players' scores, subject to the other variations listed above. This is known as "shooting the Sun".


Strategy varies from hand to hand, according to the cards one is dealt. Because the Q♠ is worth 13 points, strategy generally revolves around who will win this card.

Although fundamentally a game between individuals, with each player attempting to ensure that the others get the penalty cards, teamwork is sometimes seen. As there is typically one leader and all the other players trailing, the most advanced strategy appears when the trailing players team up to give the leader points. Playing the Q♠ and other penalty cards only when the player with the lowest score can take them, passing favorable cards to trailing players, and setting up the leader all require teamwork and unselfish play. Teamwork is especially important when one player is (or appears to be) trying to shoot the moon. For example, a player may find himself with the choice of taking the Q♠ for 13 points or risk getting 26 points if the other player shoots the moon.


Which cards to pass from one's hand is the first decision that must be made. It is an opportunity to rid oneself of cards that may become dangerous during the play. It is nearly always a mistake to pass low spades (jack or under). If one holds, or is passed, the Q♠ it is important that it is well protected by other cards in the suit. A common strategy is to attempt to void oneself in clubs or diamonds, as this will give the player an opportunity to discard a penalty card, or a card that presents a danger, when that suit is led during the play. However, such a strategy can often be ruined if one receives high cards in the same suit.[9]

Often a player will pass a mid-rank or low heart so as to deter an opponent from shooting the moon. This has been shown to be quite effective.

One can also read passes from other players as unintended signals. A player passing ace, king or queen of spades is likely to be short of this suit. A player passing low cards may be attempting to shoot the moon.


The simplest strategy is not to win any tricks, as this guarantees that one cannot take any penalty points. However, it is not too common to play an entire hand without taking any tricks; thus, it is important to choose which tricks might be safe to win. This often means taking tricks early in the hand, when it is likely that all other players can follow suit and thus cannot discard penalty cards. This is especially true when one is the last to play to a trick, as it is then possible to see that a trick is penalty-free before capturing it. Players who take a trick then usually lead a card that is likely to lose the next trick, thus losing the lead or "exiting".

The general progression of play for a hand is normally to first attempt to empty one's hand of a particular suit, known as "voiding" that suit, and then use tricks in which that suit is led to play high-value off-suit cards, known as "sloughing". During this time, players also usually attempt to force the player holding the Queen of Spades to play it by playing a large number of Spade tricks. This is called "flushing the Queen," "hunting the bitch," or "smoking it out". The logic is that the player with the Queen, if they have few other Spades, will be forced to follow suit with the Queen, and is likely to take that trick and its points, known variously as "eating it" or "taking it to the grave". To avoid this, players generally hoard Spades when passing in case they are dealt or passed the Queen. If the player with the Queen has enough other Spades, he/she can avoid having to eat it, and can later slough it off onto another player. When this is not the case the best strategy is an aggressive approach to playing the other suits to open them up for "sloughing".

As the winning of tricks is to be avoided, when a player must follow suit it is usually best to play the highest-value card that will not win the trick. For instance, if the Jack of Spades is the leading card in the trick and a player wishes to lose the trick, laying down the Ten, if available, is the best play. This allows the player to save lower-value cards in case they must try to lose a later trick in which they must follow suit. If the player cannot help but take the trick, this tactic changes; they should then lay down the highest-value card of that suit in order to get rid of it. This is especially true when playing last to a trick. The only exception is in Spade tricks when the Queen has not yet been played; players should avoid playing the King and Ace at all costs unless they can be sure the Queen cannot be played on the trick, which is generally one of five cases: when playing last to the trick, when holding the Q♠, when playing after the player known to hold the Q♠, when all players yet to play have voided Spades, or when a player has no clubs on the first trick.

The decision to "break Hearts" by playing the first Heart should be contemplated carefully. The optimum time to do so varies by player and hand. Generally, the earlier Hearts is broken, the more difficult it is for all players to avoid taking penalty points, because players have less opportunity to void suits and slough high-value cards. However, a player who can void and slough early in the game due to a favorable deal might choose to break Hearts early as they are unlikely to be forced to take points. A player who holds the Ace, King or Queen of Hearts may also choose to break Hearts early in order to slough that card quickly. Conversely, players who do not hold a low Heart (2, 3 or 4) should avoid breaking Hearts for as long as possible unless they must slough a high Heart. Once Hearts are broken, the trick that frequently follows it involves leading a low Heart, and the player whose lowest Heart is a 5 or greater has a substantial risk of taking that trick (and four points).

Sometimes it is preferable to take a trick containing one or two Hearts, rather than risk winning the Q♠ in a later trick, especially as capturing a heart or two prevents other players from shooting the moon. Such a case might be when a player holds the Ace of Spades and is last to play on a Spade trick containing a Heart but not the Queen of Spades. Playing the Ace captures a point, but the player now cannot be forced to play the Ace over the Queen.

It is a useful skill to be able to count how many cards remain in each suit, and to remember which players are void in which suit. This knowledge can influence a player's decision to play one card over the other, to their advantage. If a player knows that most or all other players are void in a suit, he or she will avoid leading a card in that suit and will instead try to slough that card.


Playing lead to a trick is risky, especially late in the hand when suits have been voided and Hearts are played freely. The risk is that the card led will take the trick because other players can undercut or play off-suit, which could be a penalty card. It is usually best to lead a card that must be topped by at least one other player (meaning at least one player is not void in that suit and doesn't have any cards that will undercut it). Keeping track of cards played becomes of foremost importance when making such a play. On the other hand, the player with the lead has the benefit of determining the suit for the coming trick.

A low or middling spade (Jack or below) is often the safest lead, because it is not possible to win the Q♠ with such a lead.[9] It is possible however to take points and/or keep the lead.

The strategy for the player holding the Q♠ is usually different. Leading a low or middling spade can lead to the Queen becoming unprotected; in addition it might give the holder of the Ace or King the opportunity to get rid of that card, denying the holder of the Queen an opportunity to drop the Queen under one of those cards later in the hand. Instead, the holder of Q♠ will often want to void himself in one of the other three suits in order to have an opportunity to discard Q♠ on a subsequent lead. Unlike the other players, the holder of the Q♠ can lead any card, even high cards in clubs and diamonds, safe in the knowledge that the Black Lady cannot be discarded on it.

Besides taking into account the cards one might receive when leading, one must take into account the player one seat counter-clockwise from the leader, who will play last in the trick. The player to play last has the most options, and therefore guessing their intentions, and thus their play, is advantageous to each player. An example might be that halfway through a hand, with Hearts broken, a player currently second-place in points is contemplating their lead. The best choice for them individually, not knowing anything about any other hand, is a low Diamond to lose the lead. However, this player knows that the person to their right, who is in first place with the fewest points, has voided Diamonds. That player will likely play a Heart making it a penalty trick, which will likely be taken by one of the other players who already have high scores, hastening the end of the game. The lead player also knows the player to his right still has a high Club because it was passed from the leading player to his right, and it hasn't been played yet. The player has a middle Club they can lead; the other players have voided Clubs, and would thus likely play Hearts. Knowing that the last player must follow suit and is likely to have to play the high Club to take a trick with points, leading the middle Club is the better play than the low Diamond.

"Team" play

The previous point illustrates a point that is critical to Hearts game strategy; players other than the leader should seek to give points to the person with the fewest points, avoid giving points to the person with the most, and of course avoid getting points themselves. For the leader, this is almost exactly the opposite; the leader seeks to avoid points, and to give points to the second-place player (to widen the lead) and to the person in last place (to hasten the game's end). The common purpose of everyone except the leader creates an "all against one" mentality of the leader versus everyone else. These allegiances of course change as first place moves between players.

This competition also tends to create roles for each player according to their points ranking. The leader, of course, is the target; everyone else attempts to play tricks that result in the leader taking points, while the leader attempts to defend against this and give points to others. The second-place person is the "challenger"; the leader seeks to give him points while the third and fourth-place people are either neutral to him or actively help him avoid points. The third-place player is the "sacrificial lamb"; when points must be taken, for instance to prevent another player shooting the moon, they are the player in the best strategic position to do so. The player in last place is the VIP; the more points that player takes, the sooner the game ends, thus everyone but the leader avoids giving the last-place player points.

All ranking is disregarded when someone attempts to shoot the moon. All other players then attempt to stop him by ensuring at least one point goes to another player. As a player successfully shooting the moon gives 26 points to all other players, all players have a vested interest in taking at least a few. The only exception to this is when the leading player has a lead greater than 26 points over the person attempting to shoot the moon; in such a case the player would still be in the lead and the successful moon shot would hasten the game's end.


As with most games of skill, reading a player's tendencies and cues are keys to success. With Hearts, one must also be concerned with vengeance, as well as lack of knowledge of the game. Players who take risks that result in a decrease in the probability for others to win is deemed as selfish (in a game that thrives on teamwork). Some players might retaliate against this player by distributing point cards to that player. A good rapport with the other players is always a plus, as it's nearly impossible for one player to beat three good players teamed up against the one.


Royal Hearts

A game produced by Parker Brothers (owned by Hasbro) by the name of Royal Hearts is a commercialization of the basic Hearts game. The deck can be used to play the classic Hearts game (and those rules are included), but was designed to center around new powers of the four Queens when scoring:

  • The Queen of Spades ("Most Evil") is worth 26 points instead of 13.
  • The Queen of Hearts ("Broken Hearted") doubles the point value of all Hearts captured by the player who takes it, and is itself also a Heart.
  • The Queen of Diamonds ("Best Friend") subtracts 10 points from the score of the player taking it. However, this cannot result in a negative score for the hand.
  • The Queen of Clubs ("Most Kind"), when captured by a player who has also taken the Queen of Spades, negates the Q♠'s point value.[10]

There are thus 52 total points per hand that can be taken (however that is a moon shot; the highest score any one player can take on a hand is 50), minus the value of the Q. The actual number of points awarded depends on who captures each Queen and how many other Hearts and/or previously-awarded points each of those players has. Shooting the moon is also different; it is defined as capturing all penalty cards as before, but the bonus to the player who shoots the moon, or the penalty to all others, is based on the total point count of that player, so capturing one or both of the two beneficial Queens actually reduces the benefit to the player; capturing the Q (-10) makes the benefit 42 points, the Q♣ (-26 with Q♠) reduces it to 26, and both of these combined make the reward only 16 points.[10] This gives players attempting to prevent a moon shot other options; the players could instead force him to take all four Queens in addition to all Hearts which drastically mitigates the value of a moon shot.

The game can easily be played this way with a standard deck. However, as Royal Hearts introduced these new effects in the first place, the variant is not commonly seen when playing with a standard deck. The main advantage to the commercial Royal Hearts deck is that the effects of each card are on their faces; with this new variant easily translating to a standard deck (at half the price), the Hasbro Royal Hearts game did not sell well and was discontinued as of the 2008 Hasbro catalog.

Other Variations

  • Rickety Kate - A game almost identical to hearts bar a few rules, including scoring and lack of 'shooting the moon'. It is mostly played in Australia.[11][12]
  • Hearts (Windows) - the PC version of the game
  • Complex hearts - scoring uses complex numbers, while trying to keep the absolute value of your score less than 100.
  • Danger Hearts - 10 rounds are played using standard scoring, yet each player has three lives. If a player receives 15 hearts (and over) in a round, they lose a life. Further rounds are played until an overall winner is decided.[13]
  • Double Deck Cancellation Hearts – good for six or more players.
  • Chinese Hearts (拱猪) (Pinyin - gŏng zhū, literally "chase the pig") – scoring works slightly differently as the Q♠ and the hearts are worth different amounts of penalty points. In addition, the 10♣ and J both have functions. Shooting the moon now takes into consideration these two additional cards.[14]
  • Booster Nines – if a nine is played then an extra round in the suit is played.[15]
  • Joker Hearts – adding the joker cards, which can be played any time and count for zero points.[16]
  • Shooting the Sun – taking all the tricks, not just all the points, gives all other players 52 points.[17]
  • Jack of Diamonds — the J becomes a point card. Unlike the normal practice of having the Q♠ add 13 points to one's score, the J subtracts 10. In these games, a player attempting to 'shoot the moon' may be required to capture the J as well in order to do so. Another variant of this game is to have the 10 as the point card.
  • In Hooligan Hearts, the 7♣ is another penalty card, worth 7 points.[8]
  • Hearts — the Xbox version of the game including single player games & multi-player online games.
  • The MSN version of hearts allows hearts to be played if the queen has been played first. Hearts do not have to be "broken".
  • Queens - A version of hearts where all the queens are worth 13 points plus the regular point cards(hearts) making the total one can achieve, 64. The game ends when a player reaches 108. Another major difference is that the a player cannot 'Shoot the moon'. The dealer of each round is the player who received the Queen of Spades Q♠ in the previous round.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Parlett, David (1987). The Penguin Book of Card Games. London: Treasure Press. ISBN 1-85051-221-3. 
  2. ^ a b c "Hearts and Other Trick-taking Games". Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  3. ^ a b Hearts History on MindZine
  4. ^ a b "How to Play Hearts, page 2". Retrieved 2007-06-04. 
  5. ^ a b c Arneson, Eric. "Hearts Rules". Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  6. ^ Kansil, p. 163
  7. ^ Kansil, p. 164
  8. ^ a b Newman, David (ed.) (1963). Esquire's Book of Gambling. London: Frederick Muller Ltd.. pp. 177. 
  9. ^ a b "Hearts Play Strategies". Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  10. ^ a b Royal Hearts Instructions
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^[1]
  14. ^ Rules of Card Games: Gong Zhu
  15. ^ Card Games: Hearts
  16. ^ Rules of Card Games: Hearts Variations
  17. ^ Hearts: Hearts with Shooting the Sun | Quamut: the go to how to

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HEARTS, a game of cards of recent origin, though founded upon the same principle as many old games, such as Slobberhannes, Four Jacks and Enfle, namely, that of losing instead of winning as many tricks as possible. Hearts is played with a full pack, ace counting highest and deuce lowest. In the fourhanded game, which is usually played, the entire pack is dealt out as at whist (but without turning up the last card, since there are no trumps), and the player at the dealer's left begins by leading any card he chooses, the trick being taken by the highest card of the suit led. Each player must follow suit if he can; if he has no cards of the suit led he is privileged to throw away any card he likes, thus having an opportunity of getting rid of his hearts, which is the object of the game. When all thirteen tricks have been played each player counts the hearts he has taken in and pays into the pool a certain number of counters for them, according to an arrangement made before beginning play. In the fourhanded, or sweepstake, game the method of settling called "Howell's," from the name of the inventor, has been generally adopted, according to which each player begins with an equal number of chips, say loo, and, after the hand has been played, pays into the pool as many chips for each heart he had taken as there are players besides himself. Then each player takes out of the pool one chip for every heart he did not win. The pool is thus exhausted with every deal. Hearts may be played by two, three, four or even more players, each playing for himself.

Table of contents

Spot Hearts

In this variation the hearts count according to the number of spots on the cards, excepting that the ace counts 14, the king 13, queen 12 and knave 11, the combined score of the thirteen hearts being thus 104.

Auction Hearts

In this the eldest hand examines his hand and bids a certain number of counters for the privilege of naming the suit to be got rid of, but without naming the suit. The other players in succession have the privilege of outbidding him, and whoever bids most declares the suit and pays the amount of his bid into the pool, the winner taking it.

Joker Hearts

Here the deuce of hearts is discarded, and an extra card, called the joker, takes its place, ranking in value between ten and knave. It cannot be thrown away, excepting when hearts are led and an ace or court card is played, though if an opponent discards the ace or a court card of hearts, then the holder of the joker may discard it. The joker is usually considered worth five chips, which are either paid into the pool or to the player who succeeds in discarding the joker.


In this variation the deuce of spades is deleted and the three cards left after dealing twelve cards to each player are called the widow (or kitty), and are left face downward on the table. The winner of the first trick must take the widow without showing it to his opponents.


The object of this older form of Hearts is to avoid taking either the first or last trick or a trick containing the queen of clubs. A euchre pack (thirty two-cards, lacking all below the 7) is used, and each player is given 10 counters, one being forfeited to the pool if a player takes the first or last trick, or the- -ontaining the club queen. If he takes all three he forfeits four points.

Four Jacks (Polignac or Quatre-Valets) is usually played with a piquet pack, the cards ranking in France as at ecarte, but in Great Britain and America as at piquet. There is no trump suit. Counters are used, and the object of the game is to avoid taking any trick containing a knave, especially the knave of spades, called Polignac. The player taking such a trick forfeits one counter to the pool.

Enfie (or Schwellen) is usually played by four persons with a piquet pack and for a pool. The cards rank as at Hearts, and there is no trump suit. A player must follow suit if he can, but if he cannot he may not discard, but must take up all tricks already won and add them to his hand. Play is continued until one player gets rid of all his cards and thus wins.

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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Hearts is a card game of trick-taking, played with a standard 52-card poker deck, that bears some resemblance to Spades.



  • 3 to 5 players, ideally four
  • a 52-card poker deck of playing cards (no jokers)
  • pen and paper for scorekeeping

Game play

All the cards are dealt out to each player evenly; if there are three or five players, one or two cards are left face down in the middle as a "kitty" so that each player ends up with the same number of cards.

Whoever has the 2 of clubs leads the first "trick", or round of play, by laying that card face up in the center of the table. The player to his left then follows by playing a card of the suit that was led (in this case, a club), if she has one. If she has none, she may play any other card (however, many tables forbid the playing of hearts or the queen of spades on the first trick; see Variants.) Once each player has played a card, the player who laid the highest card of the suit led takes the trick and lays it aside, face down. (If there is a kitty, he takes one or all of the cards from it as well.) He then proceeds to lead the next trick with a card of his choice from his hand. However, no player can lead with a heart until "hearts have been broken," i.e. until hearts have been played and taken in a trick. Play continues in this way until everyone's hand has been exhausted. Points are tallied, the deck is reshuffled, and the player to the left of the previous dealer deals a new hand. Usually, the game ends when one player's score exceeds some predetermined limit such as 100 or 200 points.


The object of the game is to be the player with the least amount of points in the end (when a player reaches a pre-determined score, usually 100). Every heart taken in a trick is one point. In addition, the queen of spades (the "Black Lady") carries 13 points. In a common variation, the jack of diamonds subtracts ten points. However, if one player can succeed in getting all the cards that carry points - all the hearts plus the queen of spades -- that player gets no points, and every other player gets 26 points. This is known as "running" or "shooting the moon".


Hearts is a game with several variations, any of which can be combined to form a number of variants. To avoid disputes, the question of which of these rules are in effect should be decided before starting a game.


After a hand is dealt, but before the first trick is played, each player passes three cards to another player in the following order:

  • Three players:
    • Pass to the left
    • Pass to the right
    • "Hold hand" (do not pass)
  • Four players:
    • Pass to the left
    • Pass to the right
    • Pass across the table
    • "Hold hand" (do not pass)
  • Five players:
    • Pass to the left
    • Pass to the right
    • Pass two places to the left
    • Pass two places to the right
    • "Hold hand" (do not pass)

At which point, the cycle begins again.

The Kitty and the First Trick

If there aren't four players, there will be a "kitty" containing the remainder of the cards after the deal. These cards are taken with the first few tricks. At some tables, the first trick takes one card, and the second trick takes the next, until the kitty is exhausted. At others, the first trick takes all the cards in the kitty.

Also, some tables regard the first trick to be "safe"; that is, no one can play hearts on that trick. However, this does not prevent the player who takes the first trick from taking ("eating") a heart, or even the queen of spades, if she takes one from the kitty.

Alternately, if there are three or six players, the two Jokers can be added to the deck so there is no kitty. If five people are playing, a third joker from another deck can be used. Jokers in this game are usually played as valueless cards that always follow suit, but cannot win a trick and do not count as points even if they would technically count as a heart when played.

Shortened deck variant

In some variants the 3 of clubs is disgarded in three player games and the 3 of clubs and diamonds in five player games. In this variant the first trick is always safe.

The Queen of Spades and the Jack of Diamonds

In addition to hearts counting as points, the Queen of Spades, known as the Black Lady, is virtually always a penalty card, costing the player who wins the trick in which it is played 13 points. Thus there are 26 penalty points to be given out each hand, half of them on a single card. Optional, but still common, is to make the Jack of Diamonds a bonus card; the player winning the trick containing this card subtracts ten penalty points from their score.


Here are strategies for winning at Hearts.

Passing cards

One of the most important parts of hearts is knowing what cards to pass. You want to get rid of the most dangerous parts of your hand and if possible short suit yourself. Shortsuiting yourself means having no cards in one suit. You should never try to short suit yourself of spades below the Queen. If you have five or more low spades then you do not have to worry if you have any of the high spades and should concentrate on discarding another suit.

Keep track of the cards played

Count hearts

On the first hearts trick after hearts are broken, somebody will most likely lead a low heart, like 4, 3, or 2. If you are leading, lead low. The other players will use up their low hearts trying to lose the trick. If you lead a middle card, it is likely you will get the hearts. On the second heart trick, it is usually safe to lead a middle card, like 5, 6, 7, 8 because the lower cards have been used up. To get rid of the high hearts, discard them on other tricks.

High cards and low cards

Avoiding the Queen

The two and most apparent rules to avoid the Queen are to either avoid having the King and Ace of spades or to get rid of them as quickly as possible by either discarding or playing them when all the other players have already played. You will not have to worry about them if you have a long suit of spades or you have the Queen of Spades though it may still be useful to get rid of them as they are high cards. In the passing you should never throw away spades below the Queen of Spades.

However, there is one thing you need to watch out for. If people are dealt or passed the QS short (i.e. with few other spades,) they will try to shortsuit and play the Queen when someone leads the suit. This is probably the main reason to not lay high if possible unless you are shooting the moon and want the Queen or are the last person in the lineup and the QS hasn't been played.

Getting the Jack

To get the Jack of Diamonds, which subtracts 10 points from your score, you should keep your high diamonds. If you have the Jack, you should not pass it away. While playing, when someone leads a diamond, play one of your lower diamonds. If the Jack appears, you should take it with one of your higher diamonds. If you have the Jack, do not lead it unless all of the higher diamonds have already been played. You will not get the Jack by leading other suits because the holder of it will obviously not discard it unless he is forced to, on the last trick.

Shooting the Moon

Shooting the moon is when you to win all the hearts and the Queen of spades. If you succeed you gain no points that round and every other player gains 26 points. It is extremly diffcult to shoot the moon without most of the high hearts, the Queen of Spades and possibly a long suit. A variant is Shooting the Sun, when you win all of the tricks, then the other players get 52 points.

Cheating at Hearts

It is not easy to cheat at hearts due to the common practice of dealing each card one at a time. However there are two main methods, the first being to look at the cards that are passed to you before you discard your cards. The second is to shuffle low hearts to the top of the pack and then deal them to yourself. You should be wary of anyone who collects low hearts at the end of a round or who shuffles so that they can see the faces of the cards.

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Heart article)

From BibleWiki

According to the Bible, the heart is the centre not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life. "Heart" and "soul" are often used interchangeably (Deut 6:5; 26:16; comp. Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30, 33), but this is not generally the case.

The heart is the "home of the personal life," and hence a man is designated, according to his heart, wise (1 Kg 3:12, etc.), pure (Ps 244; Mt 5:8, etc.), upright and righteous (Gen 20:5, 6; Ps 112; 78:72), pious and good (Lk 8:15), etc. In these and such passages the word "soul" could not be substituted for "heart."

The heart is also the seat of the conscience (Rom 2:15). It is naturally wicked (Gen 8:21), and hence it contaminates the whole life and character (Mt 12:34; 15:18; comp. Eccl 8:11; Ps 737). Hence the heart must be changed, regenerated (Ezek 36:26; 11:19; Ps 5110-14), before a man can willingly obey God.

The process of salvation begins in the heart by the believing reception of the testimony of God, while the rejection of that testimony hardens the heart (Ps 958; Prov 28:14; 2Chr 36:13). "Hardness of heart evidences itself by light views of sin; partial acknowledgment and confession of it; pride and conceit; ingratitude; unconcern about the word and ordinances of God; inattention to divine providences; stifling convictions of conscience; shunning reproof; presumption, and general ignorance of divine things."

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

what mentions this? (please help by turning references to this page into wiki links)

This article needs to be merged with HEART (Jewish Encyclopedia).

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