hearts

      card game in which players aim to avoid taking tricks that contain hearts. Hearts first appeared in the United States about 1880, although it derives from the much older European game of reverse. In the late 20th century a version of hearts was included with every personal computer running the Windows (Windows OS) operating system. This version of hearts became standard with the spread of computers and, later, computer software for playing hearts over the Internet.

      Four players each receive 13 cards dealt one at a time from a standard 52-card deck. After the first deal, each player selects three cards and passes them facedown to the player to the left and then replaces them with the three passed by the right-hand neighbour. In the second deal three cards are similarly passed to the right, in the third they are passed to the player sitting opposite, and in the fourth there is no passing, and each person must play with the cards as dealt. This four-deal cycle then repeats itself. The ultimate winner is the player with the lowest penalty score when one or more players have reached 100 penalty points. Penalties are scored at the rate of one point for each heart taken in a trick and 13 for taking the queen of spades in a trick; thus, there are 26 penalty points in each deal.

      Whoever has the 2 of clubs leads it to the first trick. Play proceeds clockwise, and players must follow suit if possible; otherwise, they may make any discard except a penalty card to the first trick, unless no other card is available. The trick is taken by the highest card of the suit led. The winner of each trick extracts any penalty cards it may contain, lays them faceup on the table, discards the rest facedown to a common wastepile, and leads to the next trick. It is not permissible to lead hearts until they are “broken”—that is, until a heart has been discarded to a trick—unless the player on lead has no alternative or has as the only alternative the queen of spades.

      At end of play each player counts one penalty for each heart taken, and whoever took the queen of spades counts 13 penalties for it. However, a player who succeeds in taking all 14 penalty cards (a feat known as “shooting the moon”) may either deduct 26 from his current total or have everyone else add 26 to their totals.

      A popular four-hand variant is omnibus hearts, in which capturing the jack of diamonds (sometimes the 10 of diamonds) counts for minus 10 points. Although four players make for an ideal game, other numbers of players are possible by removing enough cards (such as black 2s) to even out the deal and by adjusting the passes (usually by eliminating the cross-pass).

      Hearts is a game of skill and surprising subtleties, both in selecting three discards (it is usually unwise to pass penalty cards) and in arranging to win “clean” tricks early, with a view to losing the lead at the most advantageous time. Skill also shows in deciding when to “shoot” and in playing cooperatively when it is apparent that someone else has decided to do so.

David Parlett

Additional Reading
Reliable sources for rules include Joli Quentin Kansil (ed.), Bicycle Official Rules of Card Games (2002); David Parlett, The A–Z of Card Games, 2nd ed. (2004; 1st ed. published as Oxford Dictionary of Card Games, 1992); and Barry Rigal, Card Games for Dummies, 2nd ed. (2005).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hearts — ist ein stichbasiertes US amerikanisches Kartenspiel, das im deutschen Sprachraum vor allem als Microsoft Network Hearts oder das Microsoft Netzwerk mit Herz bekannt ist, weil es dem Betriebssystem Microsoft Windows in einigen Versionen als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • hearts — hearts; hearts·ease; …   English syllables

  • Hearts — This article is about the card game. For the Scottish football club, see Heart of Midlothian F.C.. For other uses, see Hearts (disambiguation). Hearts An evasion type trick taking game for 3–6 players The Hearts penalty cards; the object of… …   Wikipedia

  • Hearts Up — Infobox Film name = Hearts Up image size = caption = director = Val Paul producer = writer = Harry Carey Val Paul narrator = starring = Harry Carey music = cinematography = Harry M. Fowler editing = distributor = released = 2 January, 1921… …   Wikipedia

  • hearts — noun /hɑː(ɹ)ts/ a) One of the four suits of playing cards, in red, marked with the symbol ♥. b) A trick taking card game in which players are penalized for taking hearts and (especially) the queen of spades. See Also: heart …   Wiktionary

  • hearts — noun a form of whist in which players avoid winning tricks containing hearts or the queen of spades • Syn: ↑Black Maria • Hypernyms: ↑whist, ↑long whist, ↑short whist * * * plural of heart present third singular of …   Useful english dictionary

  • hearts — hÉ‘rt /hɑːt n. four chambered bodily muscular organ which pumps blood …   English contemporary dictionary

  • hearts — hearst …   Anagrams dictionary

  • hearts —    (of oak)    British    penurious    Rhyming slang on broke, from a national savings and benefit society of the same name:     It left me earts of oak. (Kersh, 1936) …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • hearts n — heartlessly adv …   English expressions

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.