Hearts Rules

Hearts is a card game played by four players using a standard deck of 52 cards. The object of the game is to keep the lowest score possible. A game of Hearts is played until one player reaches a score of 100 points. At that point, the player with the lowest score wins the game.

The Deal

The dealer is chosen at random and then the dealer deals out all of the cards to each player, one card at a time. At the end of the deal, each player should have 13 cards.

Passing Cards

Each round begins with a passing phase immediately after the deal. During the passing phase, each player chooses three cards and passes those cards to another player. Each player must choose which cards to pass before looking at the cards he will receive from someone else.

The first round begins with each player passing to the left. The second round begins with each player passing to the right. The third round begins with each player passing the cards to the player across the table. The fourth round has no passing phase. The cycle then repeats from there.

Game Play

The player with the two of clubs plays the first card. After that, each player plays one card of the same suit, if possible. The player who plays the highest card of the same suit wins the “trick.” If a player is unable to play a card of that suit, that player may play any other card as a discard.

The player who wins the trick leads off on the next trick with any card of his choice. The play continues in the same manner until the players get rid of all their cards. Hearts cannot be used to open a trick until the black Queen (called the “Black Maria”) has been played or a heart has been played.

Any time a player wins a trick, that player keeps those cards in a stack in front of him face down. After all the cards have been played, the deck is shuffled and a new round begins. This process continues until one player reaches 100 points.


At the end of the round, the players count how many hearts they took during the course of play. Each heart is worth one point. The player who took the Black Maria receives 13 points. After a player reaches 100 points, the game is ended. The player with the lowest score wins the game.

If any one player wins all 13 hearts and the Black Maria, that player gets a special bonus. He may either subtract 26 points from his own score or add 26 points to everyone else’s score.