This is a strategy guide for Hearts. If you are interested in rules and variations please visit Alan Hoyle's Hearts page. Hearts is quite a simple game, but very popular because of the strategies involved. Why should you read this? Because you want to win, of course!
The object of the game is to get the lowest points. The game is
over when someone reaches or exceeds the limit. This limit is standard
100.It is always played with four, with a 52-card set. So each player
gets13 cards in a round to start with. A round is over after 13
tricks. A trick always has 4 cards.
At the end of the round everyone counts how many points they have taken. If a player got all points (26) then he "shot the moon". The 26 points isn't added to his score, but to everyone else's.
How to pass
When a new round starts, you have to pass 3 cards first to someone
else. This is a very important moment. You'll want to get rid of your
bad cards, especially queens, kings and ace's because with these cards
you are likely to take tricks. You'll also want to pass away high
hearts because when they are leaded you must be able to duck them. But
the most important thing is the queen of spades. If you have like 2
spades and the queen of spades,then you are in trouble. Other players
will lead spades to fish out the queen. If you don't have enough
spades, you will be forced to give it to yourself. So pass her if you
don't have enough spades. Also pass the king and ace of spades.
Best way not to take tricks is ducking. It is a boring way of play,but can work fine. Ducking is always playing your highest card under the card that was played by others. So when a trick contains diamonds 10,4,7 you could play diamonds 9. This can work fine but it is a risk to get stuck with high cards near the end of the round. Eg. if you have the ace of clubs you can't get rid of it by ducking. So you'll keep it. When someone leads clubs a few times, you'll have to play it and get the risk to get the queen in that trick.
Avoiding the queen
The best way not to get the queen is to own it. If you have a lot of
spades with the queen than you can avoid the queen fishing. When
everyone is out of spades and you still have the queen, they will lead
another suit.Try to get rid of all suits and then play the
Getting rid of the queen
A bad thing happens when you were dealt few spades (0-3) and then
someone passes the queen to you. You'll be the victim of fishing
attempts. You can only hope to get rid of other suits so that you can
dump the queen when someone leads such a suit. Best way to do this is
not hoping other people will lead other suits than clubs. They simply
won't. So take a trick and lead those suits yourself, always leading
highest cards first. This way you keep taking tricks and keep leading
non-spades until all are gone out of your hand. When that is done,
hope for someone to lead a non-spade and dump the queen.
Getting less hearts
If you have low hearts you are unlikely to take a trick that was lead by hearts. These leads are the next most dangerous to the queen. Because they are most of the time worth 4 points. Try to have a low heart (2, 3 or 4) then a middle one (6, 7 or 8) and a high one. With these cards you can duck most heart leads. If you throw away hearts throw your highest ones. don't throw a high heart when they haven't been broken yet if you don't have low ones. Because hearts will be lead directly afterward and you'll most likely take it. If this is the situation, better do it during fishing.
A safe hand is one with very low cards, and no queen of spades. With this hand you can duck all the time getting no points. Be You can also have a safe hand even if you have a few aces or so, as long as you can dump those early. Beware though of having safe hands : It's likely that another player has all the high cards and will shoot. You can't stop him then.
You have the queen and few spades. Or you have very high cards (eg the joker,queen,king of diamonds will force you to take diamond tricks and the points in it). Or you have high hearts without low ones. Not much to explain why it is bad, you'll take many tricks and thus have higher risk to get the queen dumped on you.
Protection cards are low cards of a suit where you have high ones too.Eg if you have 5 or more hearts with 3 low ones you can duck all heart leads until no one has any anymore. So your high hearts aren't a risk for you because you are the only one with it. Best protection to have is spades when you have the queen.
You have protection for spades and the queen. You also have little club sand diamonds. With this hand you can avoid fishing, slough your other suits and dump the queen easily. Consider waiting to dump it until your target (lowest player score) takes the trick.
You have high hearts and other high ones. Cards that can make you take all tricks. Even with low cards you can have a shooting hand, you just need to get rid of them early. Other hands are one's with almost all cards of the same suit. You can keep leading it and taking the points in those.
Try whenever possible, especially with safe and targeting hands,
to give your hearts and queen to the player with the lowest points,
also called the low-man. You'll be surprised when you a are winning how
much points come to you and not to anybody else. Make sure not to give
points to losing players, because when they are over the limit, you
lose too (Winning is the only thing that counts).
This is by far the coolest thing you can do. You need to get all
points,but not all tricks. If you are dealt bad cards you might
consider to shoot,and pass good cards and hope to get more bad
ones. If you have a lot of hearts then beware to have the ace of
hearts. Most shooting attempts fail there. Smart people hang on to
their ace to prevent shooting.
Requires some luck though, you might want the ace of clubs to fall but another player might be too scared to do it (in order not to get the queen) and mess up your attempt.
Having almost all cards of a suit is tricky. You need to get rid of other suits, and when that is done, immediately take the lead. If you can't take the lead you're in trouble. This is especially the case with 7+ hearts cards. You might have 10 hearts cards in your hand left, but when someone else leads diamonds you'll have to give him a heart.
A good way to make sure people can't shoot is:
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