3 Tips to Improve Your Skill at Hearts
As a self-proclaimed amateur hearts player, I have come to learn a few tricks that have guaranteed my success at the game. It frustrates my friends to no end, to constantly see me win at a game a play only occasional. However, when I play hearts, I always employ the same three tips which I will pass on to you in this hub.
Loose a Suit
When I am first dealt a hand in hearts, I look at the suit of clubs. If I have 3 or fewer clubs, I will look to pass all of them. This will leave you with one less suit then everybody else. By loosing a suit, you are able to maintain better control of what cards you are able to throw by leveraging your position when that particular suit is thrown. It always shocks people when I throw the Queen of Spades on the second book of the game because I am already out of clubs.
If I have 3 or more clubs, I move on to diamonds. If I have 3 or fewer diamonds, I will look to dump all of those off when we pass cards. The reason I look at clubs first is because they are the first suit thrown. Imagine this scenario: I have passed all my clubs, leaving myself with no clubs and just the Ace and 6 of diamonds. On the first book of the game, I can now throw the risky Ace with no fear. Then on the very next hand I can get rid of the 6 of diamonds, leaving myself many options to get rid of the point carrying spades and hearts.
Keep All Spades
This may seem like a strange strategy, since I am saying to keep the Queen, King, and Ace of spades. The reason for this strategy is if you pass the Queen, you may be passed the Ace and King, leaving yourself in a tough situation. If you pass the Ace and the King, you may get passed the Queen. When spades are thrown, you may run out of options and have to play your risky card, which may result in 13 deadly points. By keeping all spades you can give yourself options to play when spades are thrown, while working the rest of your hand to get rid of the cards you don't want.
The Queen can sneak up on you when you least expect it. I can't tell you the amount of times I have won the Queen with a 5 of clubs. Someone will throw it when you least expect it. Put yourself in the driver seat by keeping the Queen. And then to make sure you don't get stuck with her, keep as many spades as you can.
Two rules: Always get rid of the 2 of clubs, and always keep the Ace of clubs.
You need to get rid of the 2 of clubs because that is the card that starts the game. When you have this card it is a waste of a turn. You can't implement strategy. You can't dump off a card you don't want. You severely limit yourself if you keep this card. There may be cards in your hand that you feel are more important to get rid of, but this needs to be priority number one.
Keep the Ace of clubs by all means. No one can throw any points on the first hand, so you can get rid of the Ace on the first book. Since everyone has to throw a club, you'll always win the first book, which means you get to choose what to lay down for the second book. So if you only have one diamond to start the game: you can throw the Ace of Clubs on the first book with no consequence, and then throw out your only diamond on the second book. Now you have no diamonds and if diamonds are thrown you can get rid of the Queen of Spades or any of the hearts.
By following these three tips, you are going to see instant improvement to your game. Unless, of course, you are already a professional hearts player. I am only a self-proclaimed amateur.