We recently took a tour through past club messages to find playing tips for each of the games. This month we offer Hearts tips, originally posted by Zerarose. We hope this will answer some of your questions. Stop by the Hearty league for some great tourneys this month.
Tip 1: Try to remember all the cards that have been played. With practice this becomes automatic and you won't have to think about it.
Tip 2: Think about what you pass people. Take a look at the score of the person you are passing too. Always keep track of the scores of the other players. If you are not the low-score person then its not in your favor to pass point-catching cards to the high-score person, unless you intend for that person to Moon and you know they will have to subtract (this putting the game at a more even play). Also watch who you are dropping points on. LOOK and keep track of scores.
Tip 3: Pay attention to your hand. Are you vulnerable to taking the Queen? Do you have anything to stop someone from Shooting the Moon? Can you void yourself in a suit and protect yourself from taking too many point cards?
Tip 4: Probably the thing most overlooked by beginners is to pay attention to what your opponents pass you. You can infer much about their hand and about their strategy for the round is going to be. In Eliters we get to know our opponents (or we all should in Time)!! We are creatures of HABIT. Old timers usually keep to a strategy that works for them most times, but not all the time. Beginners usually make the same mistakes over and over until someone points out to them what they are doing wrong.
Tip 5: Keep track of players passes and strategies: if they have covered, if they have ducked, if they have a habit of passing moons.
Tip 6: Something else that many beginners overlook is trying to go void in suits to enable playing point cards easier and sooner. Long suits make it much easier to Shoot the Moon.
Tip 7: Cover your pass. I've always been taught that covering your pass is the FIRST rule of hearts. If you don't have a heart to pass then you're responsible to "hit" another player (not the player you passed to) with a heart. Once you do, the responsibility now changes hands to the guy that passed to the man you just gave a heart to...get the idea? Now if you didn't pass a heart and were not passed a heart then there isn't much you can do. If I had the 2 5 9 and Jack of hearts, I would pass the 9. That way if hearts get broken on the guy I passed to, I know he isn't going to run them (shoot the moon) because I passed him the 9 and I can cover it with my Jack. (Also a little prayer that he not holding the A,K,Q. In that case we are up the creek!). Now if Hearts aren't broken on my man, then I don't have to cover the heart I just passed.
As far as strategy goes, my theory is pray for good cards, know how to count (all the suits), keep track of scores, and take a point or two early to avoid taking a load later! Also Hearts is not a "speedy slam down your cards without thinking" kind of game. Take your time in choosing the card to play, of course taking time within reason and within the proper Eliters slow-play rules.
If anyone else has tips to share, please post in the Hearty Club Forum.