How to Play Hearts

By eHow Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

Hearts is a trick-taking game in which the object is to accumulate as few points as possible. It is most commonly played with four players. Any heart is worth one penalty point, and the queen of spades is worth 13 penalty points.

Shuffle and deal in a clockwise direction a standard deck of 52 playing cards with no jokers.

Deal out all the cards until each player has 13.

Take three cards from your hand and lay them facedown on the table before the first hand is played. Pass them to the player on your left.

Pick up the three cards that were passed to you by the person on your right.

Lead the 2 of clubs if you're holding it. Otherwise, play a club when it's your turn, going clockwise around the table.

Pick up the trick if your card was the highest-numbered card in the suit that was led - which means that you won the trick.

Lead the next trick if you won the first one. This time, you can lead with any suit.

Follow suit if you didn't win the first trick. That is, play the suit that someone else leads.

Play a heart (or another card of a different suit) only if a player leads a suit that you don't have.

Lead with a heart only after someone plays a heart because he or she couldn't follow suit.

Continue playing until all 13 tricks have been played.

Count up the points - 1 for each heart and 13 for the queen of spades - from the tricks you took.

Write your score and the other players' scores on a notepad.

Let the person to your left deal the next hand.

Repeat Steps 3 through 13.

End the game when one person has reached or exceeded 100 points. The player with the lowest score at that point wins.