How to Play Hearts


Hearts is a popular and strategic card game, played with a standard deck of 52 cards. It is a trick-taking game, where players aim to avoid taking points and the player with the fewest points at the end of the game wins. This game is suitable for 3-6 players and is best played with four.

Object of the Game:

The goal of Hearts is to have the fewest points at the end of the game. Points are acquired by taking cards with hearts and the queen of spades in them.


Shuffle the deck and deal the cards evenly to all players. For three players, each player receives 17 cards. For four or six players, each player receives 13 cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in the center, forming the stock pile.

The player with the 2 of clubs starts the game by playing the card. The following players in a clockwise direction must play a card of the same suit if they have it. If they don’t have a card of the same suit, they can play any other card.


Each trick consists of four cards, one card from each player. The player who plays the highest card of the lead suit wins the trick and starts the next one. The lead suit is determined by the first card played in the trick. If a player cannot follow the lead suit, they can play any card, including a heart. However, a player cannot lead with a heart until a heart has been played in a previous trick or the player has run out of other cards.

The player who wins the trick leads the next one. This continues until all players have exhausted their cards.


After all the cards have been played, players count their points. Hearts and the queen of spades are worth one point each, whereas the jack of diamonds (sometimes called the “piggie”) is worth zero points. If a player takes all the hearts and the queen of spades, they score 13 points (also known as “shooting the moon”) and every other player scores 26 points.

End of the Game:

Once a player reaches 100 points, the game ends and the player with the fewest points wins. If more than one player reaches 100 points, the player with the lowest score wins. In case of a tie, the players who tied play a tiebreaker round.

Additional Rules:

  1. If a player is unable to follow the lead suit and they have only hearts and the queen of spades, they can choose to play the queen of spades and “shoot the moon.”

  2. In the first round, no player can play a heart or the queen of spades as the lead card.

  3. If the stock pile runs out before the game ends, the discard pile is shuffled and used as the new stock pile.


Hearts is a fun and challenging game that requires both strategy and luck. With these clear and concise instructions, you are now ready to gather your friends and family and start playing. Remember, avoid taking hearts and the queen of spades, and you may just end up winning the game!

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Clear and concise instructions on how the Hearts standard deck card game is played.


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