Hearts


Basic Rules:

Object: An avoidance game where you do not want to take tricks that contain hearts in them.

Players: Three to seven can play, although four-hand provides the most enjoyable game. No partners.

Cards: Use a standard deck of 52. Depending on the number of players, the following cards need to be discarded so all players can be dealt the same number of cards:

     # players   Discard

     3 players:  2D
     4 players:  none
     5 players:  2D   2S
     6 players:  2D   2S   2C   3D
     7 players:  2D   2S   2C
In each suit the cards rank: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. There are no trumps.

Deal: Choose the first dealer by low cut. Deal the whole pack, face down, one at a time in clockwise rotation. After each hand, the deal passes to the player on the dealer's left.

Play: The player to the left of the dealer leads first. ( Variant: the opening lead is made by the player holding the 2C .) Each player after the lead must follow suit if he can. If he cannot, he may play any card he desires. Tricks are won by the highest card played of the suit led. The winner of a trick leads the next. Hearts cannot be led until hearts have been broken (a heart has been discarded on a previous trick). Obviously, if a player only has hearts in his hand, he can lead a heart even if they have not been broken. Variation: Hearts cannot be broken on the first trick. This rule takes away from strategy relating to the suit of clubs, so most players would rather avoid this variation.

Scoring:

After each hand, players receive one penalty point for each heart card in tricks they took. Player with fewest number of points when any player reaches 50 points (or some other preset score or time limit) wins.

Misdeal: A misdeal occurs if the dealer exposes a card, gives any hand the wrong number of cards, or departs from normal procedure. A misdeal may be called before the first trick is completed; otherwise the deal stands. If a misdeal is called, the cards are thrown in and redealt by the next dealer.

Incorrect Hand: If a hand is found to have an incorrect number of cards after the first trick has been played, this hand must take all the cards left over in the other players hands after the last full trick is played. If two or more hands are incorrect, the excess cards go into all alike, and each faulty hand is charged with the full number of hearts in the excess cards.

Play out of turn: There is no penalty for a lead or play out of turn. However, any player who has not yet played to the trick may demand that it be retracted (which also requires any cards already played on it to be retracted). If no player demands retraction, the out-of-turn play stands. The owner of the out-of-turn play may not retract it unless properly demanded by another player.

Revoke: If a player fails to follow suit when able, there is no penalty if he corrects his error before the trick is completed. If a revoke is not corrected in time, and is discovered before the deal has been scored, the offender is charged for all the hearts in that deal and no other player scores any penalty points.


Black Lady:

See the basic rules for Hearts given above.
Black Lady differs only in the following features:

Black Lady: The QS is a penalty card in addition to the hearts. The hearts count 1 point each, while the Black Lady counts 13 points. Thus, the focus of play is to avoid winning the Black Lady.

Variant rule: The player holding the QS must get rid of it on his first legal opportunity.

Shooting the Moon: If a player takes all thirteen hearts and the QS: (a) this player scores -26; or (b) all other players score +26.

Scoring: When nobody shoots the moon, the points taken by each player are added to their running total on a score sheet (1 point for each heart and 13 points for the Black Lady). A game ends when a player reaches 100 points or a preset time-limit. The player with the lowest score is the winner.


Spot Hearts:

See the basic rules for Hearts given above.
Spot Hearts differs only in the following scoring feature:

Each heart card counts as many penalty points as its face value. The King counts 13, the Queen counts 12, and the Jack counts 11. (Almost any heart variation can be scored with the spot method.)


Passing Hearts:

This is probably the most popular hearts variation. See the rules for Black Lady given above.
Passing Hearts differs only in the following features:

Players: Four.

Passing: After the deal each player must select three cards from his hand to pass to an opponent. The cards must be selected before looking at the cards being received from an opponent. The direction of the pass alternates for each deal. The first deal is passed left. Second deal is passed right. Third deal is passed across. The fourth deal has no pass and players are stuck with what they are dealt. The next deal then restarts the loop with pass left.


Greek Hearts:

See the rules for Black Lady given above.
Greek Hearts differs only in the following features:

Passing: After the deal each player must select three cards from his hand to pass to the player on his right. The cards must be selected before looking at the cards being passed to him.

Scoring: Hearts are scored as in Spot Hearts, except the QH counts 50 points. If one player takes all the penalty cards, he does not score that hand and instead all other players score 150 points each.


Omnibus Hearts:

This variant is Black Lady with two additional rules.

The 10D is worth -10 points to the player that takes it in a trick. Variation: use the JD instead. One strength of this game is that it adds strategy to diamonds, so now all four suits are important.

If a player wins all thirteen hearts, the QS, and the 10D, he only scores -26 points. Variant: he would score -36 points.


Cancellation Hearts:

This is a variant for six or more players. Use two standard 52-card decks shuffled together. Deal them out as far as they will go evenly. The extra cards go face down on the table. The rules are the same as in Black Lady, plus one extra rule: When identical cards (such as two 7C) fall on the same trick, they cancel each other out so that neither can win the trick. It is possible for all cards in the trick to be canceled out, making the trick unwinnable. In this case, this trick is held aside and goes to the winner of the next trick. If the last trick of the deal is cancelled out, the cards are dead and not scored.

Domino Hearts:

See the basic rules for Hearts given above.
Domino Hearts differs only in the following features:

Deal: Six cards are dealt to each player with the leftover cards placed face down in the center to form the stock.

Play: If a player cannot follow suit, he must draw cards one at a time from the stock until he can follow suit. Drawn cards of other suits remain in the hand to be played at a later time. When all the cards have been drawn from the stock, game play reverts back to that of basic Hearts.

Each player drops out when he has played all the cards in his hand. The last player in scores penalty points for hearts in his hand as well as his tricks. All others score points normally.

If a player wins a trick with his last card, the lead passes to the next player on the left.

Winner is the player with the lowest score when any player reaches 31 points.


Joker Hearts:

See the basic rules for Hearts given above.
Joker Hearts differs only in the following features:

Discard the 2H and replace it with a Joker. The Joker ranks between the JH and the 10H. It is the only trump and wins any trick it is played on, regardless of the suit led, unless a higher heart appears in the trick (in which case the higher heart takes the trick).

The Joker counts 5 penalty points.


Heartsette:

See the basic rules for Hearts given above.
Heartsette differs only in the following features:

Players: Three to six.

Cards: Discard the 2S when there are three or four players.

Deal: There will be a widow of extra cards face down in the middle of the table. Widow size varies: with three or four players, three cards; with five players, two cards; with six players, four cards. All other cards are dealt out to the players.

Play: Winner of the first trick must also add the widow to it and scores any penalty points contained in the widow.


Black Maria:

(aka: Slippery Anne)

See the basic rules for Hearts given above.
Black Maria differs only in the following features:

Penalty Cards: All hearts at one point each. The QS (Black Maria), 13 points. The KS, 10 points. The AS, 7 points.

Pass: As in Greek Hearts.


Two-Handed Hearts:

See the basic rules for Hearts given above.
Two-Handed Hearts differs only in the following features:

Deal: Each player is dealt 13 cards with the remainder placed face down in the center to form the stock.

Play: After each trick, the winner takes the first card from the stock, the loser takes the next card. Game continues until all cards have been played.


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