Hearts is a trick-based card game in which the goal is to get rid of your cards while avoiding points. Tricks are the groups of cards set down by players in each round. Points are scored whenever you take a trick that contains hearts or the queen of spades. Hearts is played with four players, and as soon as one player has more than 100 points, the player with the lowest score wins.

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To play Hearts

  1. Open the Games folder by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Games, and then clicking Games Explorer.

  2. Double-click Hearts.

    If Hearts is not available, you might need to turn on the Games feature. For more information about turning on the Games feature, see Where are my games?

    If you don't have a saved game, Hearts starts a new game. If you have a saved game, you can continue your previous game.

  3. Choose three cards to pass to an opponent (except for every fourth hand, when no cards are passed). To select a card to pass, click it. To cancel the selection of a card, click it again.

  4. The player who has the two of clubs starts the play by leading with it.

  5. Each player, moving clockwise, clicks a card to play. You must play a card in the same suit. If you do not have one, you can play any card, except that you cannot play a heart or the queen of spades on the first trick.

    The person who plays the highest card of the same suit as the first card played takes the trick. That player starts the next trick by clicking a card to lead. You cannot lead with a heart until hearts have been broken. Hearts are broken when a heart has been played on a previous trick.

Tips

  • Take tricks with your higher card. If you have to take a trick, use the higher of your cards to do it. You can use the lowest card in your hand to lead the next trick. Opening with a low card will often keep other players from ducking the trick by playing a lower card. Ducking, or avoiding having to pick up cards, usually helps your opponents.

  • Don't pick up hearts or the queen of spades. You only want them when you are trying to shoot the moon or trying to prevent someone else from successfully shooting the moon.

  • Shoot the moon. To shoot the moon is to collect all the hearts and the queen of spades. When that happens, you score zero points and each other player scores 26 points. Your chances of successfully shooting the moon are best if your hand contains a large number of high-value hearts and spades.

  • Pass cards with high values. On hands that begin by passing cards to an opponent, pass cards with high values, such as aces or face cards. You'll start the game by passing cards to the left, then across, then to the right.

  • Play high cards early. Take the opportunity to discard your highest cards when your opponents appear to have some cards of each suit and will have to play those cards instead of hearts. Tricks that do not contain any hearts or the queen of spades do not add to your score.

  • Count cards. Keep track of cards that have been played, particularly whether the queen of spades has been played and whether hearts have been broken. Hearts are broken when the first heart is discarded on a trick. If you know who holds these cards, you know who's closest to shooting the moon.

  • Keep the ace of hearts. Almost no other card gives you so much control over things like who shoots the moon.

To adjust game options

You can adjust the game options in the Options dialog box.

  1. Open the Games folder by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Games, and then clicking Games Explorer.

  2. Double-click Hearts.

    If Hearts is not available, you might need to turn on the Games feature. For more information about turning on the Games feature, see Where are my games?

  3. Click the Game menu, and then click Options.

  4. Select the check boxes for any options that you want to turn on, and then click OK.

To save games and continue saved games

  • If you need to finish a game later, just close the game and click Save. The next time you start a game, the game will ask you whether you want to continue your saved game. To do so, click Yes.