Number of Players: 3, 4, or 5
Type of Dominoes Used: CARDominoes
Players: Four is optimal, but three and five are acceptable. There are no partnerships.
Requirements: One set of CARDominoes without jokers. Aces are high, twos are low with the standard order (i.e. A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2). In a four player game, each player should have 13 CARDominoes. In a three player game, remove the 2 of Clubs before dealing so each player will receive 17 CARDominoes. In a five player game, remove the 2 of Clubs and the 2 of Diamonds so each player will have 10 CARDominoes.
Deal: The first deal is the player choosing the lowest CARDomino from the pile. In subsequent hands, the deal rotates to the left. The dealer mixes and shuffles the CARDominoes face down and then deals out the entire set equally to the players, beginning with the player to his left and going clockwise. The players then set up their CARDominoes on their sides or edges where only they can see the faces.
Objective: Get rid of your Hearts and win as few tricks as possible that contain Hearts or the Queen of Spades.
Pass: After every hand is dealt, the players must pass three CARDominoes from their hand to another player. In 4 player Hearts, after the first deal, the players pass to the left. After the second deal, they pass to the right. On the third deal, they pass to the player across. After the fourth deal, the players do not pass any CARDominoes from their hands (the "Hold" hand). On subsequent deals, the deal continues in this pattern (e.g. left, right, across, hold, left, right, ...). In three and five player games the "pass across" round is skipped (e.g. left, right, hold, left, right, hold...)
Play: The first CARDomino played in the first trick is the two of Clubs. Play continues clockwise until everyone has played. The highest ranked CARDomino in the initially lead suit wins the trick. The player winning the trick then turns the CARDominoes face down in front of him. Unlike Spades, there is no trump suit in Hearts. Everyone must follow suit if possible. If a player is out of CARDominoes in that suit when his turn comes, he may play any CARDomino out of his hand. Hearts may not be lead until a Heart was played in a previous trick. This is called "Breaking Hearts." However, if a player has the lead and nothing but Hearts in hand, the player may lead and break Hearts. The player who won the last trick, leads the first CARDomino in the next one. Once a trick has been played, anyone may look at the CARDominoes until the winner of the trick turns them face down and leads for the next trick, so pay attention. Play continues until all players are out of CARDominoes.
Revoking: If a player fails to follow suit when he is able to, he may correct his mistake without penalty if he does so before the trick is pulled away. Otherwise, he scores 13 penalty points and the hand ends. No other players can score points on that hand.
Scoring: Under most circumstances, each heart taken adds 1 point to a player's score. Also the Queen of Spades (often called the "Black Lady") adds 13 points to a player's score. However, if a player takes all 13 Hearts and the Queen of Spades, that player has "Shot the Moon," and may either subtract 26 points from HIS score or add 26 to all opposing players' scores.
The Winner: The winner will have the lowest point total when someone else exceeds the predefined point total. Most games are played to 100 points.