hearts, card game played by three to six players with an ordinary deck. All the cards are dealt to the players. After a card is led, each hand must follow suit if possible. The object is to avoid accumulating points by taking tricks that contain cards of the heart suit. In black lady, a popular variation of hearts, the queen of spades is to be equally avoided. Although its origins are unknown, it first gained popularity in England in the 1890s.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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How to Play Hearts

You may recognize this classic card game from the earliest computers. Playing Hearts can seem a bit challenging at first, but after a few rounds, you'll be able to easily breeze through a hand. To win a hand, you'll have to be cunning. Start off the game taking in as many tricks as you can, that way, you'll be able to start each following round and have an advantage over your opponents. In order to ensure you don't accumulate any unwanted points, you'll have to be aware of all the hearts cards that are played. Counting cards is a good strategy to employ when figuring out the location of the hearts cards in play.