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The goal in hearts game online is to win no tricks or to win only harmless tricks. It is usually good to discard high cards as soon as possible in the game. It is advisable to play high cards early on, since these cards can be forced to take tricks. Aces and high cards that are accompanied by some low cards in the same suit are not dangerous to leave.
However, middle cards (8, 9, 10) without lower cards are quite dangerous especially after the first round of that suit has been dealt. As long as other cards in the suit remain unplayed, middle cards should be discarded whenever the chance permits. It is advisable to lead with a short suit. Often an opportunity will arise to discard early when other players lead with that suit.
In Black Widow variation, the ace an king of spades are very dangerous and have to be discarded as soon as possible. It is often better to discard these in early stages of play than to throw hearts. High hearts, of course, should be discarded as soon as possible, but low ones can be used as leads to force players with high hearts to win these tricks.
In fact, in Black Widow variation of the game, it is often advisable to lead with spades whenever possible until the queen of spades has been played. One should never lead with a king or ace of spades on which the queen may be possibly dropped. It is not advisable to lead with spades for a player who holds the the queen of spades that is not adequately protected.
When a player appears to be maneuvering for a take-all (or 'shooting the moon'), at least one of his opponents should take a trick containing penalty cards, even if it is a trick one would normally not take.
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