# Hearts

Hearts is a game that probably appeared at the end of the 19th century in the United States and is played with a traditional 52-card deck.

It then quickly spread throughout the world, and especially as an electronic version since 1995, when Microsoft decided to give it the spotlight, providing it by default with all Windows versions.

## Game rules

### Objective

The goal of the game is extremely simple: you have to win as few points as possible by avoiding to take tricks containing cards that are worth points.

The game is preferably played with 4 players, but can also be played with 3, 5 or 6 players using almost the same rules, by removing certain cards so that everyone has the same amount. The rules described first are for a 4-player game, with differences for games with 3, 5 or 6 players following.

Each heart is worth 1 point, and the queen of spades alone is worth 13 points. Each round thus gives 26 points.

The game ends when a player reaches a score limit, 100 points in general. The winner is then the player who has fewest points at that moment.

### Course of the game

#### Exchange

A round starts with an exchange phase, where each player chooses 3 cards to give to another player. Each player will of course receive 3 cards in return. Usually, players try to discard cards such as high hearts or the queen of spades, but you can choose whatever you want.

The players look at the cards coming from their neighbors only when everybody finished discarding the cards they want to give.

Exchanges take place following a well defined alteration:

- First round: you give to your neighbor on the left
- Second round: to the neighbor on your right
- Third round: to the player opposite you
- Fourth round: to yourself (therefore no exchange is made)

#### Card play

Once the exchange is finished, the player having the 2 of clubs begins the first trick with this card.

You must follow suit if you can. In case you can't, you can play any card of your choice. The player who plays the highest card of the led suit wins the trick and begins the next one.

There are no trumps and card order is as usual, ace being the highest and 2 the lowest one.

In the first trick, you must start with the 2 of clubs, and you aren't allowed to play cards that are worth points, the queen of spades in particular.

It is also forbidden to begin a trick with a heart as long as no one played any hearts, unless it's the only possibility. The first heart played is often told to *break hearts*.

### Shooting the moon and the sun

If a player manages to take all cards that are worth points, i.e. the queen of spades and the 13 hearts, it is said that the player shot the moon. Instead of getting 26 points, they get no points while all other players each take 26. Of course, trying to shoot the moon is quite risky, unless you have an exceptionally bad hand.

If a player manages to take all tricks, he's said to have shot the sun. In that case, he loses 26 points while every other player gets them.

### Hearts with 3, 5 or 6 players

The game was designed to be played preferably with 4 players, but you can play with 3, 5 or 6 players with a few small differences, which are as follows:

- With 3 players:
- The 2 of diamonds is removed from the deck, so that everyone has 17 cards
- The order of the exchanges is the following: to the left, to the right, and then to yourself
- With 5 players:
- The 2 of diamonds and the 2 of spades are removed so that each player has 10 cards
- The order of the exchanges is the following: to the left, to the right, to the 2nd on the left, to the 2nd on the right, and then to yourself
- With 6 players:
- The four 3s are removed and each player plays with 8 cards. Another possibility is to remove the four 2s and begin the first trick with the 3 of spades. You can also add two jokers to the deck and play with 9 cards.
- The order of the exchanges is the following: to the left, to the right, to the 2nd on the left, to the 2nd on the right, to the opposite player, and then to yourself

### The jack of diamonds

The jack of diamonds variant makes this card worth -10 points.

Note that the general strategy is quite modified by this rule, because the goal is now to try getting this card while still avoiding other point cards. It isn't required to take this card to shoot the moon.

## Keyboard shortcuts

- C: announce the cards currently on the table
- 1-6: announce the cards currently on the table, one by one
- S: announce the scores
- T: announce whose turn it is