OBJECTIVE OF 2 PLAYER HEARTS: Be the player with the lowest score at the end of the game
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 28 card deck
RANK OF CARDS: 2 (low) – Ace (high), hearts are always trump
TYPE OF GAME: Trick avoidance
INTRODUCTION OF 2 PLAYER HEARTS
Hearts is a trick avoidance game traditionally played with four players. Each player is trying to score as few points as possible. In this game, taking tricks is a bad thing unless you can all of them. Although it is played with a heavily modified deck, 2 Player Hearts still captures the overall strategy and enjoyment of the traditional game. Sometimes it is difficult to find four players. This two player version makes the game a little more accessible.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
Begin with a standard fifty two card deck and remove the 3, 5, 7, 9, J, & K from all suits. This will leave you with a twenty eight card deck.
Deal one card to the side. This is a dead card, and it will not be used. Then deal thirteen cards to each player one at a time. The remaining card is also dead and placed to the side.
The player with the two of clubs goes first and must lay that card. If neither player has the two of clubs, the player with the four of clubs goes first. If both the two and four of clubs are dead cards, the player with the six of clubs goes first. This is highly unlikely, but it is possible.
The second player must follow suit if able. Since a club was led, the second player must also lay a club if they can. If the player does not have a club, they may lay any card that they want.
Whoever plays the highest card in the suit that was led, or the highest heart takes the trick.
To begin with, hearts cannot be played until that suit is broken. Hearts are broken when a player cannot follow suit or only has spades left in their hand.
Whoever takes the trick leads. Play like this continues until all thirteen cards have been played.
QUEEN OF SPADES
The queen of spades is a special card in this game. It is worth 13 points. The queen of spades can be played at any time.
A player earns one point for each heart they have taken. A player earns 13 points if they took the queen of spades.
If a player takes all of the hearts and the queen of spades, this is called shooting the moon. If a player successfully shoots the moon, they earn zero points, and their opponent earns 20 points.
It is possible for hearts or the queen of spades to be buried in the dead card pile. If this is the case, shooting the moon simply means that the player took all of the point cards in play.
The first player to reach one hundred points loses. In the rare even that both players reach one hundred points or more at the same time, play until the tie is broken.