Chase the Lady, or Hearts, is ideally played with four players, but can be played by as few as two and as many as six. A regular deck is used, with the jokers removed, and the cards are dealt to the left of the dealer. Game play always proceeds in this direction, as well. If playing with three players, the two of diamonds is removed; for five-player games, the two lowest clubs are removed. For two- and six-player games, no cards need to be removed.
To win this game, each player strives to accumulate as few points as possible. Points are derived from each trick that is won in the process of laying down cards. When counting the points in each trick won, the values are the following: 15 for the queen of spades, five for the ace of hearts, four points for the king of hearts, three points for the queen of hearts, two points for the jack of hearts and one point each for all the remaining hearts. Depending on the preference of the group that is playing, the game is over when one player accumulates 100 or 200 points, or after a certain amount of time has passed. Keep in mind that the actual winner is the player that has the least amount of points accumulated.
Chase the Lady is based on trick-taking, which is the process of laying down a card that matches the suit of the card that was laid down previously. After all of the players have laid down one card, the player who has laid down the highest-value card wins the trick. In Chase the Lady, the object is to avoid accumulating points, so winning a trick is not desirable, especially if it contains any of the cards that are mentioned in the previous section. If a player cannot match the suit of the card that was played directly before, he or she must lay down any card that is not heart-suited or the queen of spades. After each trick is won by a player, he or she must lay aside the cards that accumulate points. Score should be kept to keep track of point accumulation and to determine the eventual winner of the game.
Playing the Game
Every card is dealt. In a four-player game, this means that each player receives 13 cards. Each player looks at his cards and chooses three cards to pass to the player to the left. Players may only allowed to look at their new cards after selecting the ones to pass on. Whichever player has the two of spades starts play; moving to the left, each player discards a card of the same suit. If you don't have one, play another suit, except hearts: if you only have hearts left, you can play one of them, but you must also show all the players your entire hand. Each trick ends when every player has laid down a card and the winner of the trick is the player who has laid down the card of the highest value (traditional card values apply). The winner of the tricks keeps the cards in the won trick and lays aside any of the cards specified in Section 1 (these are the cards that accumulate points). Each new trick starts by laying down the suit of the last card played in the last trick. The winner of the last trick lays down the first card. This process of playing tricks is continued until every player has run out of cards, after which the deck is shuffled and the cards are dealt again, leading to another cycle of tricks.
The order for passing the three cards changes four times: for the first dealt hand, you pass your cards to your left; for the second dealt hand, to your right; for the third hand, to the player in front of you and for the fourth deal, there are no cards passed. This cycle repeats for the duration of the game. If in a hand one player wins all of the cards mentioned in Section 1, that player can choose to reduce his or her score by 38 points; alternatively the play can add 38 points to each opposing player's score. This is called "shooting the moon."
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