This section covers a few terms that are often heard in a Hearts game and
- Four cards set down, all of the same suit, one from each player,
starting with whoever has the lead, and proceeding clockwise around the
- Taking a Trick
- Playing the highest card in a trick The person who takes a trick will
lead off the next trick.
- Also known as a `Round of Play' - The thirteen tricks played in a
particular segment of the game.
- The cards held by a certain player.
- One of the classes or categories of cards, either clubs, diamonds,
spades, or hearts.
- Long Suit
- Holding many cards of a particular suit, usually 7 or more.
- Short Suit
- Holding a few cards of a particular suit, usually 2 or less.
- Holding no cards of a particular suit. Having one or more voids is
- The first card played in a trick. This establishes the trick suit.
All cards that follow must be of that suit, unless a player is void, in
which case he may slough.
- A card played after the lead which is of the same suit as the lead
- (Pronounced: "Sluff") If a player is void in the trick suit, he may
play any other card. A player will often slough undesirable cards.
- A card set down by a player Either a lead, a follow, or a slough
- Break Hearts
- Also known as "Bleeding Hearts" - Hearts are broken when a heart is
sloughed onto someone, as a result of being void in a trick suit. Hearts
cannot be led until they are broken. The only exception to this rule is
when a player has the lead and his hand consists of nothing but hearts.
- High Card
- Also referred to as uglies. There is a difference between a
high card and the high card:
A high card is a card that all the other players can probably
get under. This can be as low as a 5, but is typically higher (say, in the
7 -> Ace range).
The high card is the highest card that was played in a trick
after everyone has played. Whoever played it has the lead for the next
- Low Card
- A low card is a card that can probably be beaten by some other card
played in a trick.
- A topper is a card that no one can beat. Initially, there is only one
topper in a suit: the Ace. If an Ace in a suit has already been played,
then the King in that suit will be a topper. Alternatively, if you are
holding the Ace, King, Queen and 10, and the Jack has already been played,
then all of the cards you hold are toppers.
- A high card which will take a trick to prevent someone shooting the
moon. This is usually a high heart, but can be a high card of any suit.
- Out Card
- A low card which will help you lose the lead. There are basically only
three out cards in a suit: the 2, 3, and 4. This can change as play
proceeds, however; As those lowest cards are played, the cards right above
them (say, the 5, 6, and 7) become out cards. Late in a round, an out card
is a most valuable possession.
- Go Around / Gone Around
- The number of times that a trick in a particular suit has been played
is the number of times that the suit has "gone around".
- Also known as "Shooting the Moon" or "Running it" - A player attempts
to take all the point cards, thereby taking no points himself and sticking
26 points to all the other players.
- The Queen
- The Queen of spades, the Evil One, the Unlucky Lady, the
Death-that-comes-a-walkin'-wearing heels, etc. As we all know, there are,
in fact, four queens in the deck, but the Queen of spades stands above her
peers (hence the capitalization), she being worth 13 points and taking her
can cause you to lose the game far more quickly than by any other means.
- Spades Siege (or just 'Seige')
- The inevitable attempt by players not holding the Queen of spades to
attempt to draw her out by repeatedly leading spades tricks, especially
early in the game. (Note: If players are holding either the Ace or King of
Spades, they might not be too inclined to lead spades either.)
- Table Talk
- Communication between players around the table, often for the purpose
of making "group" plans, but just as often to mislead other players.