Hearts is not your typical card game. Like many trick-based card games, it has everything to do with capturing tricks. But in this game, you want to capture the least tricks – especially the least number of hearts, and never the Queen of Spades!
Like most card games, there are some inherent strategies you can invoke to better your odds of winning. Fully understanding the rules of Hearts is one thing, but experience is a major plus. Since there are no partnerships, however, you won’t have to rely on the skills of anyone else to get the job done. That – I assure you – can be a big plus!
How to Win Hearts (the Card Game, not People’s)
There are four key areas of this game in which you can make smart decisions to heighten your chance of success. They revolve around the passing of cards, taking advantage of voids, bleeding spades, and knowing when (and when not) to shoot the moon.
Tips for Passing Cards
There should be two main goals when passing cards. You either want to get rid of your bad cards, or create voids – or both, if possible.
The cards you’ll want to dispose of most, of course, are any high Hearts (A, K, Q, J…) and/or high Spades. The Ace or King of Spades should the first to go (depending on the rest of your hand), as they have the potential to catch the malevolent Queen – a nasty 13 points if you do!
However, you must be careful, because passing too many high Hearts/Spades can result in giving your opponent the ability to Shoot the Moon (catch all Hearts and Queen of Spades). It is generally unwise to pass spades lower than the Queen.
Voids occur when your hand does not have any cards of a single suit. Voids create a great advantage for the player. They ensure that you will not catch any leads of that suits, and provide an excellent opportunity to get rid of Hearts, the Queen of Spades, or any other high cards that could catch points.
Having a moderate number of low spades (all below Queen) presents a perfect opportunity to bleed out the Queen. You won’t have to worry about accidentally catching her, and will be able to draw it out easily by leading low Spades. Doing so is referred to as “smoking the Queen”.
If you posses the Ace, King and/or Queen, and have a large enough number of lower spades, it is safe to keep these higher ones – even the Queen. You should be able to play low Spades when they are led, and even bleed them yourself, long enough to drop your Queen on someone else’s off-suit lead.
Shooting the Moon
Shooting the Moon can be a rather scary situation, but well worth it if the circumstances align. It is often the turning point in any game of Hearts (for better or worse). In order to Shoot the Moon, you’ll need a good number of very high cards, with one suit heavily favored. This allows you to sustain the lead with that suit when other players run dry.
Royal Vegas Canada offers an interesting palette of specialty games for fun or real money. Everything from Texas Hold’em, dice games, Omaha, Keno, 7 card stud, to craps, blackjack and slots. Safe, and fun.