OBJECTIVE OF RICKETTS HOUSE HEARTS:  The objective of this game is to have the lowest score. When a player hits the pre-determined score, the player with the lowest score at that time wins the game.  


MATERIALS: A standard 52-card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface. 

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-taking game 



Ricketts House Hearts is a trick-taking card game for 4 players. The goal of the game is to have the lowest score when a player reaches a score of 100.  


Cards are dealt clockwise and face down. The first dealer is determined randomly then it passes to the left for each new round.  

The dealer shuffles the deck and deals each player a hand of 13 cards.  

After hand are dealt each round, players will pass cards. During the first round, players will pass any three cards from their hand to the left, then pick up the 3 cards passed to them and add it to their hand. For round two, the 3 cards are passed to the right, and for the third round, cards are passed to the player sitting opposite you. For the fourth round each player passes a single card to each other player. During the fifth round there is no passing. Then the pattern is repeated.  


Once all cards are dealt and players have arranged their hand accordingly, the player left of the dealer goes first.  

All players are required to follow suit if capable. In Ricketts House Hearts, there is no trump suit. The highest card played of the leading suit wins, and the winner gets to begin the next trick. If a player is unable to follow suit, they can play any other card in their hand. This is a great opportunity to get rid of any high cards, to prevent winning unwanted suits. The only exception is that neither Hearts nor the queen of spades can be thrown out in the very first trick, however, they can be thrown in any trick thereafter, as long as the player is void the suit currently being led. 

Players cannot lead with a heart until either a heart or the queen of spades has been played, however, the queen of spades can lead at any point in the game. 

Players will continue playing until a player reaches a score of 100 or more points. 


This is a trick-taking game but the goal is to win a minimal number of tricks, or better yet, the goal is to NOT win tricks that contain Hearts or the queen of spades. At the end of each round players add up the number of Hearts they’ve won that round, as well as the queen of spades, and add that to their score. Remember, the objective is to have the lowest score. 

Each heart is worth 1 point and the queen of spades is worth 13 points.  

If you win all scoring cards, however, you may choose to reduce your score by 26 or increase all other players’ scores by 26 points. This is called shooting for the moon.  

There are two wrap scores. If a player reaches 104 or 126 points at the end of a deal exactly, their score is returned to 0 points.  


Once a player reaches 100 or more points the game ends. The player who has the lowest score wins the game. If there is a tie, another round is played to determine a winner. 

Amber Crook
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