Can You Lead With the Queen of Spades in Hearts?

By Neal Taparia - 6/24/2024

Yes, you can lead with the Queen of Spades in Hearts. However, the Queen of Spades may not be played in the opening round. Leading with the Queen of Spades risks it being the high card that takes the trick, so this is often a worst-case scenario that should be avoided. 

Playing Hearts online can be an excellent way to practice. After enough games, players begin to understand the best times to lead with the Queen of Spades. However, it can be a challenging scenario for any player. Here are some tips on when to lead and when to follow with the Queen of Spades:

When Not to Lead With the Queen of Spades

The early rounds are typically a poor time to try and lead with the Queen of Spades. Unless several low Spades have already been played, chances are people will have a low Spade or throwaway card to play. This almost guarantees the player will be forced to take their own Queen and doom their hand. 

Likewise, if a player has the Queen, King, and Ace of Spades, another player cannot beat the Queen. Players in these scenarios should seek to dump the Queen onto a trick they have no matching suit for. 

The Strategic Lead

If a player's highest Spade is the Queen of Spades, they may try to wait out the low Spades played in the early rounds. Then, the player may lead with the Queen of Spades and force the final high Spades out to take the trick. This strategy requires excellent memory of which cards have been played to ensure that the Ace and King are still in other players’ hands. 

Another scenario in which leading with the Queen of Spades can make sense is when attempting to shoot the moon. The goal here is to win the trick and keep the Queen. 

This is an extremely high-risk strategy. If a player can accumulate all thirteen Hearts plus the Queen of Spades, this is called shooting the moon. Rather than taking all twenty-six points, the player takes zero and everyone else takes twenty-six. 

Remember that the Queen of Spades does not ‘break hearts.’ Shooting the moon by leading with the Queen of Spades should only be attempted if a player is sure they can acquire the remaining Hearts or have already done so. Trying it too early without enough Hearts can quickly spell disaster. 

Additional Queen Considerations

In most cases, players will want to avoid leading with the Queen of Spades. Being worth thirteen points, it is much more beneficial to watch the other players have the Queen forced on them. 

Aim to force the Queen onto the player who has the lowest points. If they play a high card and you can’t match suit, throwing the Queen of Spades on top to force them to take it is a great move. 

Many card games are as much about the cards as they are about psychology. Bluffing players out of their low Spades early, and then leading with the Queen later can throw them off their game. Furthermore, players can pass the Queen of Spades in Hearts before the game begins, forcing other players to rethink their strategies. 

Leading the Way

The Queen of Spades can be a risky card, but by timing your moves wisely, you can turn it into a powerful tool. Test your luck by playing free Hearts online today at!