Hearts is an "evasion-type" trick-taking playing card game for four players. The game is also known as Black Lady, Black Queen and Black Maria. The game is a member of the Whist family of trick-taking games (which also includes Bridge and Spades), but the game is unique among Whist variants in that it is an evasion-type game; players avoid winning certain penalty cards in tricks, usually by avoiding winning tricks altogether.
The first trick is led by the player to the left of the dealer. Each other player, in clockwise order, then plays a card from their hand. Players must follow suit; that is, play a card of the same suit as the lead card, if they are able. If they are not able to do so, they can play any card (an action known as "discarding"), including a penalty Heart or the Queen of Spades. The trick and any penalty points it contains are won by the player who played the highest-value card of the suit that was led. That player then becomes the lead player for the next trick, and play continues until all players have exhausted their hands. The overall objective is to be the player with the fewest points by the end of the game.
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