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GOALS | RULES | SHOOTING THE MOON | CONTROLS | SCORING | STRATEGY | DID YOU KNOW? | CREDITS

Game Goals

Have the fewest points at the end of the game.

Game Rules

In Hearts, you will be playing against three computer-controlled opponents (named Left, Across, and Right). You want to take as few points as possible. Each Heart is worth 1 point, and the Queen of Spades is worth 13 points. The rest of the cards have no point value.

You start the game by passing three cards. In the first hand, you pass to the left; in the second hand, you pass to the right; in the third hand you pass across; and in the fourth hand, there is no passing. The cycle then repeats, until the game ends.

Once passing is complete, the player with the 2 of Clubs leads. The other players, in clockwise order, must play a card of the suit which was led, if possible. If you have no cards in that suit -known as "void" in that suit - you may play any card. However, no point cards (Hearts, or the Queen of Spades) can be played on the first trick. The person who played the highest card of the suit that was led wins the trick. (The two is the lowest card in any suit, and the Ace is the highest card. There is no "trump" suit in Hearts, as there is in games like Spades and Bridge.)

The person who takes the trick leads for the next trick. It is illegal to lead a heart until a heart has been played (as a discard on a previous trick).

Example 1: the 5 of Diamonds is led, and the other three cards played are the 7 of Diamonds, the 9 of Diamonds, and the Queen of Diamonds. The Queen of Diamonds would take the trick.

Example 2: the 5 of Diamonds is led, and the other three cards played are the 9 of Diamonds, the Queen of Diamonds, and the Ace of Spades. Even though the Ace of Spades is higher than the Queen of Diamonds, the Queen takes the trick because the Ace is not in the suit that was led.

You have 10 minutes to complete each game of Hearts. As soon as the clock reaches 0:00, the game ends, even if none of the players has reached 50 points.

Shooting the Moon

Normally, you want to avoid taking points. However, there is one exception to this, which is called "shooting the moon". To shoot the moon, you must take all 26 points (that is, all 13 Hearts, plus the Queen of Spades). If you do this, then instead of you getting 26 points, all three of your opponents get 26 points!

Game Controls

When passing, click a card to select it for your pass. If you pick a card to pass and then change your mind, click it again to unselect it. Once you have picked the three cards you want to pass, click the PASS button.

When playing, just click the card in your hand that you want to play. Note that you can click on a card before it's your turn to queue it up as the next move. It will play immediately if it is a legal move.

Game Scoring

At the end of each hand, points taken are added to your game totals. Usually, there are 26 points per hands, distributed across the 4 players. The exception, of course, is when you or one of your opponents shoots the moon, in which case the hand adds a cumulative 78 points to everyone's game score (26 points for each of the other three players).

The game ends when any player's score reaches or passes 50 points. Once the game is over, your score is converted to a tournament standings score, using the following three-part formula:

Score Bonus: 15 * (100 - Your Points)

Time Bonus: one point for each second left on the clock

Win Bonus: if you had the lowest score (or tied for the lowest score) at the end of the game, you get a bonus of 3 * (Left's Points + Across's Points + Right's Points)

Note: if you fail to complete the game (no player reaches 50 points) then your tournament standing score will be 50 + (26 * hands played) - (2 * Your Points). If you quit in mid-game, or if time runs out before you complete even a single hand, your tournament standings score will be 0.

Example 1:
marylou999 ends the game with 25 points. Her opponents had 32, 41, and 58 points. There was 2:10 left on the clock. Her Score Bonus is 15 * (100 - 25), or 1125. Her Time Bonus is 130. Her Win Bonus is 3 * (32 + 41 + 58), or 393. Her total tournament standings score is 1125 + 130 + 393, or 1648.

Example 2:
bigsteve1234 ends the game with 30 points. His opponents had 15, 34, and 51 points. There was 3:05 left on the clock. His Score Bonus is 15 * (100 - 30), or 1050. His Time Bonus is 185. He didn't have the lowest score, so his Win Bonus is 0. His total tournament standings score is 1050 + 185 + 0, or 1235.

Example 3:
slowsammy666 runs out of time in the middle of the 7th hand, with 42 points. His tournament standings score is 50 + (26 * 7) - (2 * 42), or 150.

Game Strategy

Avoid taking the Queen of Spades! (Unless you are trying to shoot the moon.) Never lead the King or Ace of Spades, unless the Queen has already been taken. If you have the lead, remember that leading a low spade can never take a trick which contains the Queen of Spades - and may well force out the Queen, getting her safely in someone else's trick.

When passing, try to create "voids" in a suit. For example, if you only have two clubs, include both of them in your pass. When you are void in a suit, you can use a trick where that suit is led to discard undesirable cards (such as a high Spade). The exception is in Spades; you shouldn't pass low spades to create a void, since then the player who's passing to you might give you a high Spade, and then you're in a bind!

Another goal when constructing your pass is to get rid of high cards, especially high Hearts. In general, play as high a card as you think you can play without taking the trick. Try to play just under already-played cards. For example, if a 10 of Diamonds was led, and you have a 9 of Diamonds and a Jack of Diamonds in your hand, play the 9.

Since no points can be played on the first trick, there's no reason to shy away from playing your highest club on that trick.

To shoot the moon, you must make sure that you can take every point. If you have low hearts, it's almost impossible to shoot the moon, because those low hearts have to take the trick that they're part of. You usually have to decide that you're going to try to shoot the moon before you pass, and compose your pass accordingly.

If you have the Queen of Spades in your hand, try to play it on a trick being taken by the player who currently has the fewest points. Similarly, try to give hearts to the player who currently has the fewest points.

Until two different players have taken a point, the danger of someone else shooting the moon exists. Once a player has taken a point, try to give a point to one of the other players. Or, take it yourself, even if you don't have to - it's worth taking one point to avoid getting 26!

Did You Know?

  • The bottom "South" seat player always represents you, and your 3 opponents are played by the computer.
  • The player holding the 2 of clubs after any passing has completed must lead the round.
  • On every fourth round, you play the cards you are dealt without passing any.
  • You can click on a card before it's your turn to queue it up as your next move. It will play immediately if it is a legal move.
  • The Jack of Diamonds has no point value in WorldWinner Hearts.
  • If you must take a trick, it's best to take it with the highest card you have in that suit.
  • Taking all of the point cards in a round-"Shooting the moon"-gives 26 points to each of your opponents, rather than to you!
  • Never lead with the King or Ace of Spades, unless the Queen of Spades has already been taken.
  • You should always pass the Two of Clubs. The exception is that it is advantageous to go fourth in a trick, and if you pass the Left player this card, that's unlikely to happen.
  • You will receive 0 points if you quit the game early.
  • Hearts first evolved during the 19th century, from an earlier game called Reverse (since the goal of getting as few points as possible was the reverse of the goal of other card games).
  • Originally, only the 13 hearts were point cards; 13 points for the Queen of Spades was a later addition to the rules.
  • In Hearts, the Queen of Spades is often known by the nicknames "Black Maria" and "Calamity Jane", as well as several other nicknames that we feel reluctant to repeat here.
  • When a Heart is first discarded, allowing a Heart to be led on a subsequent trick, it is said that "Hearts have been broken."
  • The rule forbidding the playing of points on the first trick is often referred to as "No blood on the first trick."
  • "Shooting the moon" is sometimes called a "slam".
  • When you are trying to prevent someone from shooting the moon, it is known as playing the "Sheriff".

Credits

The following people contributed to the creation of Hearts:
Shayne Bingham, Shawn Campbell, Tanya Feldman, Matt Ferrell, Adgio Hutchings, Mel Lee, Steve Meretzky, Jen Seng, Adam Smith, Ryan Thomson and Aaron Wall.

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