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Hearts game rules

Each deal is started by passing three cards...

After the cards are dealt and the players have seen their respective hands, each player selects three cards and places them face down.  After all four players have placed their  three cards, they simultaneously pass these cards to another player. The rules for passing these cards vary depending on which deal is being played out. During thefirst deal, the players pass cards to their neighbor on the left; on the second deal, to the player on the right. On the third deal, the cards are passed to the player sitting across the table. On the forth deal, no cards are passed at all. After the fourth deal, the cycle gets repeated and players start passing cards from to their left on the fifth deal, etc.

Game play rules...

After passing the cards, whoever is holding the two of clubs starts the play by placing this card face up on the table. In a clock-wise fashion, each player in turn, plays a card until all four players are done. A player who played the highest card of the suit that led originally, takes all of the four cards, which are called a 'trick'. The trick is then placed face down. The winner of a trick starts playing with the first card of the next trick.

If the player is able to follow suit, then he/she must play the card from the same suit.  If a player is not able to follow suit, any card may be played. On the very first trick, however, no player may play a heart or the queen of spades. A player may not lead with a heart card unless someone has already played a heart or the queen of spades in a previous trick.  A player that has only hearts left or with all hearts and the queen of spades, may lead with a heart card. Any player can lead with the queen of spades although it is usually not the best choice.

 

How the game is scored...

After the last trick has been played, the players count their scores. Each heart scores 1 point, and the queen of spades scores 13 points. (There is also an optional rule when the jack of diamonds counts as 10 points).

Usually, just taking the hearts card and the queen of spades is quite bad. However, there is a special case, called 'take-all' or 'shooting the moon' when a player could take the queen of spades and all 13 hearts - the best possible oucome.  Instead of scoring plus 26 points, a player who 'shoots the moon' scores minus 26. The player who shoots the moon may choose to add 26 points to each of the other players' scores. At GameColony.com a dialog box will appear asking the shooter whether to add the score to opponents or subtract own points. When at least one player's scored 100 points or more, the game ends. The player with the lowest score is declared as the winner.
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