How to Play Hearts

by Cindy Bond

Find easy-to-follow rules for the game of hearts, learn how to play, and get a game started with your friends and family.

In This Article:

Rules

Here are the rules to the card game of Hearts — a fun game to play on Valentine's Day, or any day!

The object of the game:
Players don't want to end up with tricks containing hearts or the queen of spades, but they do want to end up with the jack of diamonds.

How many can play:
Three to seven players (four players is the best!)

The cards:
You need a standard deck of 52 cards. Each player is dealt the same number of cards. So, if you have 4 players, each receives 13 cards (13 x 4 = 52). If you have 3 players, deal each 13 cards, then add the leftover cards to the kitty. The person who takes the first trick will take the kitty, too. In each suit, the cards are ranked from the Ace, with the highest value, on down: K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2.

How to deal:
The players cut for deal. The lowest cut is the first to deal. The whole pack is dealt out clockwise, one card at a time, each placed face down.

After the cards have been dealt, each player chooses three cards to pass to an opponent. Players pick their cards after they've looked at them, and before they've received cards from their opponents. Cards are passed to the right at the first deal, to the left with the second, and across with the third. At the fourth deal, players keep their own cards.

Note: after each hand, the deal passes to the player on the dealer's left.

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