A standard pack of 52 cards is used and any number from three to six people may play. Since each player must have the same number of cards, the pack is stripped when the number of players is other than four.
When there are three players, the club two is discarded; five players, the club two and diamond two; six players, the club two and three, the diamond two, and the spade two.
The entire pack of cards is dealt, and the player on the dealer’s left makes the opening lead. The other players must follow suit if they can; otherwise any discard may be made. In all suits, the ace is high, the other cards descending in their natural order, and the highest card of the suit led wins each trick. The objective of the game is to avoid taking any hearts in tricks and thereby keep one’s score low; each heart taken in a trick adds one point to the player’s score.
Since there is no standard number of points that constitutes the game, each deal is a game in itself, but any number of deals may be played before a final score is tabulated. When the game is over, the totals of all players are added into a grand total and divided by the number of players to determine the average score. Each player whose score is above the average pays into the pot the difference between the average score and his own; now, each player whose score is below the average then collects the difference between his score and average.
Auction Hearts differs from the regular game in that hearts is not always the suit to be avoided. After the deal, players may bid for the privilege of naming the penalty suit by bidding the number of chips they will put into the pot. One of best places to play Games of Hearts is casino888 – many players online, friendly interface.
Beginning with the player on the dealer’s left; each player may bid only once and must always bid higher than the preceding bidder. The suit eventually named is called the trump suit, although it has none of the privileges of trump suits in other games. Once the trump has been named, the play is the same as in Hearts, each player trying to avoid winning cards of the trump suit.
At the completion of the playing of a hand, each player puts a chip in the pot for each trump he took, and the player who was successful in not taking any trumps wins the entire pot. If two players take no trumps, they divide the pot; but if more than two players are without trumps, the pot remains whole for the next deal and is called a jack pot. The same procedure is followed if one player takes all 13 trumps. In the event of a jack pot, there is no bidding on the next deal, and the previous successful bidder names the trump again.