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Hearts is a popular card game played using a regulation deck and between three to six players. In contrast to most card games, the aim of Hearts is to accrue as few points as possible. Players are awarded penalty points for winning 'tricks' that include certain cards.

The origin of Hearts can be traced back to Spain in the middle of the 18th century, though the game as we know it today was truly born around 100 years later, when the notion of awarding penalty points was fully established. Since then Hearts has been given a huge boost in popularity by online versions of the game, which swept to prominence in the 1990s and continue to be a big draw.

What equipment do you need to play Hearts?

Two pieces of equipment are required to play a physical game of Hearts, being:

To play online Hearts you're going to need either a desktop computer or a mobile/tablet device. Some games can be played via in the Internet, while others you'll want to download so you can access them when you're offline also.

How does a game of Hearts play out?

Here follows a step-by-step guide to how you play a game of Hearts:

How does scoring work in Hearts?

This is where things get really interesting. The following points are applied if you win these cards in tricks.

In total, there are 26 penalty points to be awarded in each hand. The player with the lowest score at the end of each hand is the winner. Typically you will set a score of 100 to end to the game. Once the first player reaches that mark, the game is over and the player with the lowest score at that point wins.

What is 'shooting the moon'?

If you're feeling bold there's always the option to try and win every penalty card in a hand. If you're successful, and you take every heart and the queen of spades for yourself, you stand to score zero points and penalize every one of your opponents to the tune of 26 points each. This is called 'shooting the moon.' It's a dangerous approach, but one that seriously pays off it you can pull it out.

How do I get started playing Hearts?

The best way to learn Hearts is to play online. You'll find a wide selection of excellent online Hearts game to choose from. Many are free play games, but some can be played for real money if you so desire. A good strategy is to visit an online Hearts portal and read up on the best sites to play at.

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