Hoyle Official Book of Games: Volume 1


Players: three or four players

Object: Avoid capturing hearts and the Queen of Spades, or, capture all hearts and the Queen of Spades (also called "Shooting the Moon").

How to play:

All cards are dealt (except in the 3-player game, when the 2 of Diamonds is discarded to make the remaining cards divisible by 3 hands). Before any cards are played, players pass three cards of their choice to another player. In the first hand, players pass to the left; in the second hand, to the right; in the third hand, across the table; in the fourth hand, no cards are passed. In 3-player Hearts, there is no pass across. The object of passing is to choose the 3 cards which will help your hand the least or which may hinder your opponent's hand the most.

The player who holds the 2 of Clubs leads the first trick. The trick is decided by the highest ranking card of the lead suit (Aces are high). If a player does not hold a card in the lead suit, that player may play any other card. The winner of a trick leads the following trick. Hearts may not be led until they have been played in a previous trick (by a person who could not follow the lead suit), or if the player has no other suits in his hand.


The object is to have as low a score as possible. When one player has reached a score of 100 or more, the player with the lowest score wins the game. If a player has captured all the hearts and the Queen of Spades, that person is awarded a 0 score and all other players are penalized with a score of 26 points for that hand. In all other cases, players take their scores based on the cards they have captured during that hand. Cards are scored as follows:

- Hearts = 1 point each
- Queen of Spades = 13 points