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A game of Hearts usually requires four players. The object of the game is to accumulate as few points as possible, which means losing tricks that contain many cards in the suit of hearts. Additionally, it is also means aiming to lose tricks where the queen of spades appears as well.
How to Play Hearts
To play a game of Hearts requires a standard deck of fifty-two cards, and each player will receive thirteen cards from the dealer. The players must all take three cards from their hand and place them face down on the table before the hand begins. These are next passed to the player on the left.
Who Leads First
The player who holds the two of clubs leads the first trick. The other players must follow suit, in a clockwise direction around the table. The player who had the highest numbered card in the suit wins the trick and must pick up the cards in order to tally points at the end of the game.
The winner of the trick leads the next, and can now open or lead with any suit they would like.
Winning a Game of Hearts
Remember that the object of the game is to keep your total points low. This determines the strategy to be used by the players and usually means that cards of a different suit (usually hearts) will appear when a player cannot follow suit. This is a tactic used to get rid of the hearts and is usually referred to as “painting the trick”.
Leading with a heart is often referred to as “breaking hearts”, and is only permissible if the hand contains nothing but hearts or if the hand has been lead with hearts.
Additionally, many players forget about the huge penalty for holding the queen of spades, but those who remember will often lead a trick with spades to try to get the queen out in the open. Of course, the queen will remain in an opponent’s hands unless someone has the king of spades in the trick.
Once all thirteen tricks have been played, the players must tally up their cards. While each heart is a single point, and the queen of spades is thirteen, the player who wins all of the penalty cards can actually make out quite well. This is because the rules of Hearts allows them to either have their score reduced by twenty-six points, or they can opt to have their competitor’s scores all increased by twenty-six points.
Play continues until someone reaches or breaks one hundred points. The player who attained the lowest overall score is the winner.
Variations to Playing Game of Hearts
In addition to the basic variety of Hearts, there are many variations of the game as well. These include options for having a “kitty” pile that is handed over to the player who takes a penalty card (any of the hearts or the queen of spades) during a trick.
There are also options for passing, different ways of handling the hearts and even variations for scoring. Some players will also play Hearts in partnership in order to increase the challenges of winning.There are multiple sites online that provide players with the game of Hearts for free including anumber of sites offering Heart games for US online casinos. Players who are avid Hearts players can also search for different communities such as the Yahoo card game community. These provide you with a large player base so you'll always have a game available on top of being able to socialize with other Heart fans.