According to Hoyle, the game we now refer to as Hearts was not the original version. Over 100 years ago when the game first developed the only points that counted were the hearts. The queen of spades was added later to add spice to the game, in those days the game was referred to as "Black Lady".
Omnibus Hearts is a version that throws in a bit of positive scoring. The 10 of diamonds (or in some cases the jack) takes ten points off a players score should he scoop it up in a trick. To run all the points then, a player must now ALSO take in the 10 of diamonds. This variation has a tendency to complicate passing strategy and completely changes the dynamic in diamond leads. It is a fun wrinkle for experienced Hearts players, but is better not played by beginners.
Cancellation Hearts is for seven to ten players. This version uses two decks. All the cards are dealt out. There is no passing and the queen of spades may be laid on the first trick. The first trick also takes the cards left over from the first deal. The reason that the game is called "Cancellation Hearts" is that when two like cards are played they cancel each other out for the purpose of taking the trick. Thus, a trick where two Aces of the same suit are played, they will cancel each other out so that the next highest card takes the trick. This is a fun variation when you have a large number of people who want to play a game at the same table.
Domino Hearts is a strange variation of hearts. Six cards are dealt to each player and the remaining cards are placed in the middle of the table. There is no passing of cards. The person to the left of the dealer leads. Each player MUST follow suit. If he cannot he must draw cards until he can play. This has a tendency to unbalance hands and some players will end up with more cards than others. Once the pile in the middle of the table has disappeared, players may slough if they cannot follow suit. When a player runs out of cards he is simply done with the hand. If he takes the last trick, the lead passes to the left. The last player with cards remaining in his hand is stuck with those cards. Since hearts must be broken to be led, they always fly thick and heavy in the later rounds. This is a fun variation for people who love Hearts and want to try something different.
Spot Hearts simply changes the scoring. It gives each heart card a number of points based on its rank. The ace is 14, king is 13, et cetera. This complicates scoring somewhat and diminishes the importance of the queen of spades - although you may choose to make her worth 100. Of course, you must raise play for more points than in regular Hearts, 1000 is suggested.
Auction Hearts is a kind of gambling game. Each player begins with a pile of chips. The cards are dealt out as in regular hearts. There is no passing of cards. Each player now examines his or her hand and determines what suit they would prefer to be the "forbidden" suit. Bidding to name the "forbidden" suit begins to the left of the dealer. He or she names how many chips he would be willing to put into the "pot" in order to name the suit. Each player gets one chance to bid and bidding passes to the left. A player must either bid higher than the previous bid or pass. The highest bid calls the "forbidden" suit and play proceeds normally with the lead beginning to the left of the dealer. Play proceeds as normal in Hearts (only the Queen of Spades does not count for points). When the hand reaches its end, each player places one chip into the pot for each heart taken. Any player WITHOUT ANY of the forbidden suit may claim the pot. If there are two players with no points they split the pot with a possible leftover chip left for the next pot. If no player avoids points or there is a run, NO PLAYER wins the pot and it is left for the next hand.
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