Here's All You Need to Know about Hearts Solitaire Game

If you owned a Windows PC in the '90s, then you may have surely played the Solitaire game of Hearts that came in it by default. It was a great way to pass time when you were on your own since the PC version let you play with computer bots if you couldn't connect with friends to play online. Hearts was also the perfect game to play when you had friends or family over because everyone could participate regardless of their age group. In this post, we will be bringing back the 90's kids' nostalgic feels, teaching you exactly how this game is played, looking into the history of Hearts, and throwing in some interesting facts about it.

Simple Overview of Hearts

Solitaire card games are one of the most popular pastimes to date and Hearts is one of its many variants. The Hearts game is said to have emerged in the US around the 1880s and is believed to have originated in Germany. However, there is no explicit proof for these statements. Hearts is generally a four-player game but its different versions allow you to accommodate 3 to 6 players as well. Some such versions include:

  • Auction Hearts;
  • Black Jack;
  • Black Lady;
  • Black Maria;
  • Cancellation Hearts;
  • Domino Hearts;
  • Greek Hearts;
  • Heartsette;
  • Joker Hearts.
  • You are not allowed to lead with a Heart card unless it has been used previously on another suit.

This is a trick-taking type of game, where the objective is to avoid taking any Hearts or the Queen of Spades in tricks. The most basic skills that you will need to win a game of Hearts are card counting, tactical knowledge, and teamwork.

How to Play?

To play this card game with four players, all you need is a 52-card deck and a couple of simple instructions. So, here are the three things that you must know before playing a game of Hearts:

1. Scoring

As mentioned previously, the goal of this game is to avoid taking Hearts or the Queen of Spades cards as it would win you penalty points. Note though that acquiring points is a bad thing since the player with the least penalty points is the one who wins. The penalty points for one Hearts card is 1 and for the Queen of Spades, it is 13.

2. Procedure

First, the deck is split equally among the four players. You may take a look at the cards you have acquired but do not show them to your opponents. Then you have to select three of the most disadvantageous cards from your lot to pass onto one of your opponents. Similarly, you will as well receive three cards from another opponent. Which of the cards may be disadvantageous to you depends on the cards that you have and the strategy that you plan on following. For example, if you have a couple or more Heart cards, you may want to give away the highest ranking three out of them. This is so because if you put the highest-ranking cards, your chances of winning over a Heart led trick are greatly increased. Once you've done that, you are ready to start the actual game! The player who is in possession of the 2 of Clubs will make the opening lead with said card and the other players must follow suit if possible. If a player does not have a card of the same suit they may throw in a card from a different suit. The player who put in the card with the highest rank from a suit similar to the leading one takes the trick. And the same player will lead the next round. Likewise, you will be playing until you finish discarding all the cards in your hand. After that, the players will check their trick collection and add up penalty points for the final result.

3. Rules and exceptions

  • There is an exception when it comes to the moment when the first trick is led. If you possess no Clubs, you are not permitted to discard any Hearts or the Queen of Spades you carry in your set.
  • If you end up having the 2 of Clubs after the split, you must start the first lead, and it must be with the 2 of Clubs card itself.
  • You cannot use a card from a different suit if you do have cards from a similar suit to the lead in your set.
  • You are not allowed to lead with a Heart card unless it has been used previously on another suit.

Shooting the Moon!

According to the rules discussed so far, getting all the Heart cards along with the Queen of Spades to your trick collection must mean you are in for an ultimate loss, right? But, no. On the contrary, it might be a sign that you are about to make a big win because there's a sick twist to the game. Shooting the Moon happens when one player collects all the penalty cards (13 Hearts and the Queen of Spades). The player using this move will be left with 0 penalty points while the remaining players will be awarded 26 points each.

Play Hearts without Deck of Cards

You don't have a deck of cards at home and still want to play Hearts? Well, thanks to technology, it's very much possible. Luckily, it comes by default on PCs run by Windows OS. And in addition to that, there are numerous apps and websites that let you play Hearts on your smartphone or computer. So, yes, you can play Hearts without a tangible deck of cards!


If you read through this article, you now have a sufficient level of knowledge to play and win a game of Hearts. Plus, with practice, you can learn the best strategies to use according to the situation, and know when to take advantage of them. So, the next time you have friends over for a sleepover or you're hanging out with your relatives with nothing to do that all of you enjoy, you can pull out your deck of cards and have a go at Hearts.