The predecessor of Hearts, which was played in the 18th century and was known as Reverse, got its name because the game’s objective was to fail to win specific tricks rather than succeed.
- Players: 3 to 7, best with 4
- Deck: Standard 52-card deck
- Rank: A (high) to 2 (low)
- Goal: The winner of the game is determined by which player finishes with the fewest points
Your objective, on each hand, is to: Either try to win no tricks that include a heart or the Queen of Spades (also known as the Black Maria), or you should try to win all 13 hearts and the Black Maria.
In a game with three players, the two diamonds are taken away, and each player is given 17 cards. In a game with five players, the two diamonds and two clubs are taken away, and each player is given ten cards. In a game with six players, the 2 and 3 of diamonds and the 3 and 4 of clubs are taken away, and each player is given eight cards. In a game with seven players, the 2 and 3 of diamonds and the 3 of clubs are taken away, and each player is given seven cards.
Each player picks three cards from their hand, then deals them face down to the other. Before considering the cards dealt to an opponent, all players must pass their hands.
In a game with four players, the passing order is first hand to the player on your left, second to the player on your right, third to the player across the table, and fourth hand, no passing. The rotation then continues till the contest is over. The passing rotation is: (1) to your left, (2) to your right, then repeat until less than four players participate.
After the pass, the player who still has the two clubs plays that card to begin the first trick. In a three-player game, the three clubs are led if the two clubs have been eliminated.
If feasible, every player must follow suit. You may discard a card from any other suit if a player has no cards in the suit that was led. However, you cannot play a heart or the Black Maria if a player has no clubs when the first trick is lead.
A trick is won by the highest card of the suit led. The trick-winning player maintains all of the cards in a single, face-down stack in front of them. The trick winner starts the first trick.
Utilize a score sheet that has a column for each player. Count the Black Maria and the number of hearts each player has taken after each hand. The Black Maria has 13 points, and hearts are worth one point apiece.
A player who successfully shoots the moon—winning all 13 hearts and the Black Maria—can opt to deduct 26 points from their score or contribute 26 points to all other players’ scores.
Hearts are played to a maximum of 100 points; any score may be decided upon before the game, although 50 is a reasonable starting point. The game is over when one participant achieves or surpasses the predetermined score. The winner is the player with the lowest score.
It’s also possible to play Cancellation Hearts and Omnibus Hearts, among other variations of the card game Hearts.