Hearts is a three-five player trick-taking card game where each player plays individually. The game is played with a standard 52 card deck. The objective of each player is to have the lowest score at the end of the game. The game ends when one player hits or exceeds the agreed upon high score.
The standard game score for hearts at the Sahara Sands is 100 points.
Hearts is played over a series of hands. At the end of each hand, players count the number of hearts that they have taken as well as the queen of spades. Hearts count as one point each and the queen counts as 13 points.
If a player takes all 13 hearts AND the queen of spades in a round, that player earns a score of zero and all other opponents gain 26 points.
Cards are dealt to players one at a time, face down, and clockwise. In a full four player game, players are dealt 13 cards. In a three-player game, remove the two of diamonds and deal each player 17 cards. In a five-player game, remove the 2 of diamonds and the 2 of clubs and deal each player 10 cards.
Play leads (begins) with the 2 of clubs. In a five-player game, play begins with the three of clubs.
Each player plays a card from their hand, following (matching) suit of the lead card. If a player does not have a card that matches the lead suit, a card of another suit may be discarded. In the first round, if a play has no clubs, they may NOT discard a heart of the queen of spades.
The highest card of the lead suit wins the trick. The winner of the trick collects the cards and places them face down in front of them. The winner of the trick selects a card to discard as the lead card of the following trick.
- Hearts may not be led until a heart or the queen of spades has been discarded.
- The queen does not have to be discarded at the first opportunity.
- The queen can be led at any time.
- There is no trump suit.
There is only one style of betting on Hearts allowed at the Sahara Sands- Winner-take-all. In winner-take-all, each player antes a set amount. The winner of the game wins the funds collected in the pot.