My Favorite Rules for Hearts
January 30, 1997
- Each heart counts as one point; the Q counts as 13.
- The J is mostly irrelevant.
- The 2 leads to the first trick.
- No "blood" on the first trick. (Q and hearts are "blood.")
- Hearts may not be led until they are broken or one is heart-tight.
The Q does not break hearts.
- The game is played in 4-hand stanzas, passing:
- If one shoots the moon, all other players must add
26 to their scores, unless this will cause you to
lose the game, in which case (and only in which
case) the shooter may subtract 26, but leave the
other scores unchanged.
- If any player's score reaches 100 exactly at the
end of a hand, the game does not end, but that
player's score is reset to 50. ("Save and take
- If any player has 99 points at the beginning of the
hand and takes 25 points (aka, shoots "Full Polish"),
that player's score resets to 98. (Zero-sum hand rule.)
- Otherwise, if any player's score is greater than 100
at the end of any hand, the game ends. Low score wins.
Ties are possible.
- With 5 players, add a second spade suit. With 6 players,
add second heart and spade suits. With seven players, use
a double deck sans one club suit. Players always have 13-card
hands and there's no "kitty."