Note: Like Standard Solitaire and Free Cell, this card game comes standard with Windows computers (Start Menu/Programs/Accessories/Games/Hearts or Start Menu/Programs/Games/Hearts.) But the game is also fun if you play it with 3 other people.
Deck: All 52 cards
Deal: one card at a time to each player, so each player gets 13 cards.
After the players look at their cards,they have to pass three cards to another player, except for every fourth hand. The 1st hand is pass to your left, the 2nd hand is pass to your right, the 3rd hand is pass across, and the 4th is stay(no pass). Repeat this cycle if the game is not over after four hands.
This is a trick-taking game. The object of the game is to avoid capturing any Hearts or Calamity Jane (Queen of Spades) or to capture all 14 of them. Calamity Jane is also called the Black Maria, Black Lady or “The B****”. Note: There are certain times when you should not use the last name for the Queen of Spades.
The player who has the two of clubs (after passing) starts play by leading it.
Each player, moving clockwise, chooses one card to play.
You must play a card in the same suit if possible. (following suit). If
you do not have one, you can play any card (called “throwing off”), except
that you cannot play a heart or the Queen of Spades on the first trick.
The odds of getting dealt a hand of all point cards is 635 billion to 1, so that's nothing toworry about.
You must follow suit on the card that led the trick.
The person who plays the highest card of the same suit as the card led takes the trick. Aces are high. That player starts the next trick by choosing a card to lead. You cannot lead a heart until a heart has been “thrown off” on a previous trick. (until Hearts has been broken)
At the end of each hand, each player gets one point for each heart in his hand and 13 points for “Calamity Jane” if he has it. The game continues until one player gets 100 points or more. The player with the smallest amount then wins.
If you win all the Hearts and the Queen of Spades in one hand (called Shooting the Moon), then you get zero points added to your score and each other player receives 26 points. [You could also choose to subtract 26 points from your score and add no points to the each of the other players’ scores.] Shooting the Moon is also called running ‘em.
The first trick can be considered a free trick (no point cards allowed), so you might as well take it and get high Clubs out of your hand. You would want to keep high Clubs if you are trying to “Shoot the Moon”, because you could use them to take tricks that have the Queen of Spades and/or Hearts in them.
Try to trap other players with one (or more) of the 14 point cards. Play them when you can’t follow suit. You will want to get rid of all the cards in a suit so you can do this.
Exception: With Spades, try to keep one other card besides the Queen (if you have it) so you are not forced to use the Queen to take a Spades trick. (a trick where Spades was lead) You may play the Queen if the King and/or the Ace is already in the trick, since somebody else would end up with the trick. You also would not want to keep the King or the Ace for very long, so you would have a lower probability of having to use one to take the Queen of Spades.
Remember, all of this is reversed if you are trying to “Shoot the Moon”.
Play the King and/or the Ace of Spades early so as to not be forced to use them to take the queen. Play them when a heart, diamond or club was lead. You could play either one if you are the last player to play on a Spades trick and neither the King or Ace have been played to the trick yet. Also, you could try passing the Ace or King to another player if it is a passing hand.
Watch the cards that other players take. If, for example, you notice one player about to Shoot the Moon, you can try and stop that player by taking a few Hearts yourself. Also, it may be useful in other cases to “watch the cards”.
However, “Shooting the Moon” is difficult. Make sure you
have enough high Hearts first. The Queen, King, and/or Ace of Spades would
be helpful. If another player gets a couple of the point cards, you’re
trapped with a lot of points. I can’t say this enough.
(maybe that’s why I made it bold, italic, and underlined)
This page © Alan Gilfoy, 2004-2005.