The 18th century ancestor of Hearts was called Reverse, because in this card game, you want to lose certain tricks rather than win them. This realization suggests variant of The Tarot of Marseilles, one of the standard patterns for the design of tarot cards, also widely known by the French designation Tarot de Marseille.
In a 4-player game of Hearts,
each player gets 13 cards. In a 3-player game with 36 cards, each player
gets 12 cards. In a 3-player game with 52 cards, the 2 of diamonds is
removed and each player gets 17 cards.
Passing Cards. After
looking at his or her hand, each player chooses three cards (or two in a
3-player game with 36 cards) and passes them face down to another
player. All players must pass their own cards before looking at the
cards received from an opponent.
The passing rotation in a
4-player game is: (1st hand) to the player on your left, (2nd hand) to
the player on your right, (3rd hand) to the player across the table,
(4th hand) no passing. The rotation then repeats until the game ends.
When other than four players are involved, the passing rotation is: (1)
to the player on your left, (2) to the player on your right, then
The player holding the 2 of
clubs after the pass plays that card to start the first trick. In a
3-player game with 36 cards, the 6 of clubs is led. If the 2 of clubs
has been removed for the 3-player game, then the 3 of clubs is led.
player must follow suit if possible. If a player has no cards in the
suit led, a card of any other suit may be discarded. Exception: If a
player has no clubs when the first trick is led, a heart or the Black
Maria cannot be played.
The highest card of the suit led wins a
trick. The winner of the trick keeps all cards won in a single stack in
front of himself or herself, face down. The winner of a trick starts the
Hearts may not be led until a heart has been played (this is called "breaking" hearts). The Black Maria can be led at any time.
There is no trump suit in Hearts