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Hearts Casino Game

Along with Bridge, Spades, and a host of other popular games, Hearts belongs to the family of card games that are known for their “trick taking” element. This grouping is known for having rules that put a great deal of emphasis on suits and trumps, usually involving around four players (often three or five can play, but the games are designed for four), and with each player laying down just one card at a time in a series of rounds.

Of these games, Hearts is one of the simplest to learn and enjoy. That’s not to say that it doesn’t involve plenty of strategy: a skilled player is still a big favorite over inexperienced competition, and there are some tough decisions to be made every time you play. But the easy scoring rules and straightforward gameplay flow make it an idea entry point to this sort of card game. It also makes it a perfect addition to the Spigo lineup, as a nice blend of skill, luck, and entertainment value help it fit right into their line of skill-based games that appeal to relatively casual players.

Follow the Queen

Spigo offers both play money Hearts games, in which you can play and practice against computer opponents or other humans, and real money games in which you can compete against other gamblers playing on the same site. You may also play a full game up to 100 points, or just a single round – the former of which is much more skill-based than the latter. Once you’re ready to begin, you can click the start game button and you’ll be taken into the main game area.

In Hearts, each player is dealt 13 cards from a standard deck of 52. At Spigo, only the four-player version of the game is supported; while there are ways to play three-handed, we won’t be worrying about them here. Only you can see your own cards, which are hidden at all times from all other players. Each player is competing independently; unlike in Bridge or some other trick-taking games, you won’t be teaming up with a partner.

At the start of the first deal, you’ll need to select three of your cards to pass to the player seated to your left. All players are doing this, so you’ll receive three cards yourself, bringing your hand back up to 13. In future rounds, the direction of this pass will change. On the second round, you’ll pass three cards right; on the third, you’ll be shipping your cards across the table. On the fourth round, no cards are swapped at all. After this, the process reverts back to passing to the left, going through this cycle continuously until the game ends.

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Hearts

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Once all players have their final starting hands, gameplay can begin. Every deal starts with the player holding the two of clubs playing it (this will happen automatically for you in the Spigo version). Play continues clockwise from there, with each player needing to play a card.

If possible, each player must play a card of the same suit as the one that started that trick. If they do not have a card of the appropriate suit, then they may play any card they like. The only exception comes in the first trick, in which nobody is allowed to play either the queen of spades or any heart.

After all players have played their cards, the highest card of the original suit wins the trick, taking all of the cards. That player must now start off the next trick, playing any card they like. Again, there is one exception: no player may start with hearts until one has been played during an earlier trick (this rule in turn comes with the obvious exception that a player who only holds hearts may play one even if the suit hasn’t been “broken” yet). Each time a player wins a trick, they collect all of the cards and start the next one.

This process continues through 13 tricks, at which point all of the cards will have been played. Once this occurs, players are assigned points based on holding certain cards. Each heart you hold is worth one point; the queen of spades is worth 13.

However, you actually do not want to be stuck with these cards in your hand, as the goal of Hearts is to not score points. The game ends when, at the end of a round, any player has at least 100 points. Once that round has been scored, the player with the lowest score is the winner. In the case of Spigo’s real money games, this player will win the stakes put up for the game, minus a small rake.

There is one case in which collecting these cards can work out to your benefit, however. If you manage to end a round with all 13 hearts and the queen of spades, you will “shoot the moon.” Shooting the moon instantly awards 26 points to all other players, and zero to you, making it an extremely powerful play if you can manage to pull it off.

Playing to Win

Hearts is a game of strategy, and there are a few different points in each round in which you’ll need to make decisions that can have a dramatic impact on how you’ll do. The first of these is what to do when it comes time to pass cards to one of your opponents.

There are a few easy rules of thumb that we can pass on to you to help improve your passing game. First, because of the importance of the 13-point queen, how you deal with spades is of utmost importance. You will almost always want to keep all jacks and lower, as having additional spades to play is a great defense if you should happen to be passed the queen.

Higher spades are a bit trickier. If you have the king or ace without the queen, it is often obvious that you want to pass them to avoid being stuck “winning” the queen later on. Of course, if you have lots of spades, this can be less of an issue. And if you hold the queen, the higher cards become much less dangerous.

The queen itself can be good or bad to hold. If you have several other spades, and you have no or few cards in at least one other suit, it should be safe to hold onto it and pawn it off on another player at an opportune time. On the other hand, if you are going to be stuck with just the queen (or perhaps it and one or two other spades), it is usually better to pass it and know where it is rather than live dangerously.

Another good strategy is to attempt to dump all of your clubs or diamonds. This will make it easy to get rid of unwanted spades or hearts when someone else starts a trick in the suit you don’t have. With clubs, you can even end up with one card and feel confident you’ll get rid of it on the first trick, since it is always played in clubs.

Finally, the pass is also the point at which you will contemplate trying to shoot the moon. If you have a hand of high cards and either no hearts or all of the high hearts (queen, king, and ace), it can make sense to dump your remaining low cards in an attempt to get a hand that can win every trick. Of course, passing your low cards will make your plan clear to whomever receives your discards, but with a strong enough hand, it won’t matter.

While passing strategy is very important, the interaction that occurs during play are far more complex. As a very general strategy, you’ll want to remove high cards early on to avoid taking tricks with points later. Players are apt to dump high clubs or diamonds in an attempt to clear the suit entirely, and getting rid of the king or ace of spades – when safe – is also a high priority.

While you never want the queen of spades, however, taking a point or two is never a disaster, and is often a good play. This is due to the game-changing nature of shooting the moon. If another player is attempting to make a run at this, holding on to at least one or two high cards (usually in anything other than spades) can be a great way to break up their effort. While it is possible to shoot the moon at any level, it is far more common among inexperienced players, who miss the early signs that someone is attempting this and get rid of all of their high cards without even considering that something is amiss until it is too late. On the other hand, those same inexperienced players are less likely to attempt a run in the first place.

In the long run, it is experience that will help you become a better Hearts player. It also helps to get a read on opponents if you are playing the same ones frequently. Get to learn what their passes mean and their tendency to try to run the table, and you’ll have a much easier time knowing what to play and when you might be in danger.

As this is a Spigo game, there’s also a chance that you could win a jackpot prize each time you play. In the first round of each game, players can fill their jackpot meters by taking tricks without scoring any points. If they manage to make it through all 13 without taking a single point – or if they shoot the moon – then they will activate the jackpot draw. The maximum jackpot prize is always displayed above the chat area on the right side of the screen; several smaller prizes are also available, and it is possible to fail to win a prize in this game as well.

A Timeless Classic for Fun or Profit

Hearts is one of the most popular card games for groups of friends looking for a fun, simple, and quick game that nonetheless requires plenty of strategy to succeed in. Anyone can learn the game in minutes and feel like they can compete; even if they aren’t winning their first game, they can feel like they are competing for second or third, and their decisions could impact who actually manages to come out on top.

The Spigo version of this game brings the same fast, fun, and entertaining action to the online world, with one key addition: the option to play against others for real money. Throwing a few euros (or whatever currency you play in) on the outcome of a game can make the action a lot more exciting, even if the result won’t make or break your financial future. It’s the perfect way to breathe new life into this timeless classic, and the relatively slow pace of play means that you won’t need a big budget in order to spend plenty of enjoyable evenings taking tricks and passing points with friends and strangers alike.

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