The Rules of Hearts

From: Official Rules of Card Games, Hoyle Up-to-Date 1913

The Pack: Full pack, 52 cards.

Number of Players: Two to six players; best four hand, as described below.

Rank of Cards: Ace (high), K, Q, J, 10, etc. to 2 (low).

Cutting: Cut for deal; low deals, Ace being lowest card.

Dealing: Deal thirteen cards to each, one at a time, in rotation to the left beginning with eldest hand. Deal passes to the left.

Objects of the Game: To win, on tricks, as few hearts as possible.

The Play: Eldest hand leads any card and each succeeding player in turn to the left must follow suit if possible. Holding no card of suit led, player may discard a card of another suit. Highest card played of suit led wins the trick. Winner of first trick leads for second and so on until the hands are played out. The hearts taken by each player are then counted and settled for and cards are bunched for a new deal.


A Simple Method: After hands are played out each player puts up one point for each heart he has taken and player taking fewest hearts wins them all. If two or more players take a like number of fewest hearts they divide points in half.

Sweepstakes Method: Each player puts up one point for each heart he has taken. If one player takes no hearts he wins the pool, if two players take no hearts they divide the pool. If each player takes at least one heart or if one player takes them all, the pool is not won on that hand but remains to be added to succeeding pools until it is won. The pool is then known as a Jack.

Howell Method: Each player puts up for each heart he has taken as many points as there are players besides himself in the game. He then takes out of the pool as many points as the difference between the total number of hearts in play (thirteen) and the number of hearts he took on that hand. This does away with Jacks.

Game: Each deal is a game in itself though by agreement this may be changed. Each player may begin with an equal number of points and first player losing all his is considered the loser or first player winning an agreed number of points wins the game.

Black Jack (Variation): A variation of Hearts in which the Jack of Spades (Black Jack) counts as 10 hearts, but still retains its rank as a spade. Holder of it must follow suit to spades. If a suit is led of which player has no card he may discard the spade Jack and the player winning the trick must count the Jack as equal to 10 hearts.

Black Lady (Variation): The same as Black Jack except that the Queen takes the place of the Jack of Spades. The Queen retains its original rank as a spade and is equal to 13 hearts.