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Jack of Diamonds in Hearts: Hearts Card Game FAQ

Jack of Diamonds in Hearts rule
Jack of Diamonds Rule in Hearts

This article covers some questions that arise around the popular and fun trick-taking/trick-evasion card game Hearts. Keep in mind that there are many variations used, so if you want to play with a particular rule, that’s fine as long as everyone knows the rules before the game starts.

There’s a separate page for questions about passing. First, we’ll start with the variation of Hearts where the Jack of Diamonds is used.

What is the Jack of Diamonds Rule in Hearts?

This is a Hearts variation where the J♦ is a bonus or safety card worth -10 points. Whoever captures the J♦ subtracts 10 points from their score.

See the question below about shooting the moon for another time the Jack of Diamonds might come into play.

Who Starts in Hearts? What Card?

The two popular ways to start play in Hearts in order are:

  • Whoever has the 2♣ leads, or
  • The player to the dealer’s left leads a card of their choice (not a heart)

How Many Points is the Queen of Spades? Is it a Heart?

The Queen of Spades is worth 13 points, making it the most dangerous penalty card in the game (each card in the hearts suit is worth 1 point).

The Queen of Spades isn’t considered a heart, as it doesn’t replace the Queen of Hearts or any other heart. However, it functions as a heart in the game in that you want to avoid taking it.

When Can You Play the Queen of Spades?

The Queen is treated like a heart in that it can’t be led until hearts have been “broken”, which means someone has played a heart because they couldn’t follow the suit led.


  • The Queen of Spades can be led anytime. 
  • The Queen of Spades must be played at the first legal opportunity.

How Many Cards Are Used and Dealt in Hearts?

For the standard 4-player game, the whole deck is used, with each player getting 13 cards. For other amounts of players, remove the 2♣, 2♦, 2♠ and 3♣ as needed so each player is dealt the same amount of cards:

  • 3 Players: 51 cards, 17 each (remove 2♣)
  • 5 Players: 50 cards, 10 each (remove 2♣ & 2♦)
  • 6 Players: 48 cards, 8 each (remove 2♣, 2♦, 2♠ and 3♣)
  • 7 Players: 49 cards, 7 each (remove 2♣, 2♦ & 2♠)

Is the Ace High or Low in Hearts?

The Ace is high. If the Ace is led, it always wins the trick. If an Ace of the same suit as the suit led is played, it always wins the trick. The only way to lose a trick with an Ace is to discard it on another suit.

What Does Shoot the Moon Mean?

Shooting the Moon means one player has captured all 13 hearts and the Queen of Spades during the hand—every penalty card. Rather than incurring the penalty points, a player who Shoots the Moon scores 0 points and every other player scores 26 points.


  • In a game with the Jack of Diamonds rule in effect, that card might also be needed to Shoot the Moon.

What is a Trick?

When every player has played a card, that is the trick. The highest card of the led suit wins the trick. If each player has 13 cards, there are 13 tricks in the hand.

How Many Players Are There?

Hearts is played by 3-7 players, with 4 players being the most common.

There’s really no upper limit to how many people can play, as you can use more than one deck if you want. This complicates the game, though, so usually large groups are broken into multiple smaller games to keep it from getting too confusing.

I hope this look at the Jack of Diamond in Hearts and Hearts FAQ has been helpful. Now that you’re ready to play, learn how to win at Hearts.

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