A standard deck of 52 playing cards is used. The purpose is
to obtain the lowest possible score by avoiding taking tricks containing hearts. In
supported 'Black Widow' (or 'Black Lady' or 'Black Maria') variation one has to
additionally avoid taking the queen of spades. The hearts
game rules here describe the most common variation of the game which is also used at
PlayJava.com. The version played at PlayJava.com is for four players. Cards in
the game of hearts rank as follows (from highest to lowest): A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6,
5, 4, 3, 2.
If there is an insufficient number of players at the table, and the players need an extra
player to begin or complete a game, instead of waiting for another player (or players),
they may select 'Play hearts robot' -- an automated robot player representing the
'average' card player. All players, however, will need to agree with this choice.