Does the Queen of Spades Break Hearts?

By Neal Taparia - 6/27/2024

Does the Queen of Spades Break Hearts?

No, the Queen of Spades does not ‘break hearts.’ In the game of Hearts, the Queen of Spades is independent of the Hearts. However, neither Hearts nor the Queen of Spades may be played in the opening round. Otherwise, the normal rules apply for following suit.

Understanding the Queen of Spades and how it can be used is one of the more advanced strategies in Hearts. Fortunately, players can practice by playing Hearts online for free.

After watching the Queen of Spades get passed around for a few rounds, most players get the hang of it. Still, there are a few more things to know.

Understanding Broken Hearts

After dealing the cards to the players and passing three cards to the person on the left, the player with the two of Clubs starts the game. If another player has a Club, they must play it. If a player has no Clubs, they may play any other card except a Heart or the Queen of Spades. This only applies in the first round.

In subsequent rounds, players may play the Queen of Spades anytime, as long as it matches a suit already played or the player has no cards of that suit. You can lead with the Queen of Spades in Hearts, but this is a risky move. It’s a high-ranked card, so it’s likely the player will be forced to take their own Queen for thirteen points.

Players may not lead with a Heart until someone has ‘broken hearts.’ This occurs when another player cannot follow suit and plays a Heart instead. Whoever has the highest correct suit card takes all the cards, including the Heart. This person now has one point.

Now that ‘hearts are broken,’ players may lead with a Heart card. This means all players must throw their Heart cards into the middle. The highest Heart is forced to take the pile.

When and How to Play the Queen of Spades

There are a few strategies for playing the Queen of Spades. Most involve trying to pass the Queen off to another player when you don’t have the matching suit being played. Alternatively, if another player is naive enough to lead with the King or Ace of Spades, the Queen can be played without worrying, because the higher card must take the trick.

For advanced players, there is a strategy known as shooting the moon. To shoot the moon, a player must collect all thirteen Heart cards and the Queen of Spades. If this can be accomplished, the player will take zero points for the round while all other players are forced to take twenty-six points.

Attempting to shoot the moon is not for beginners. It generally requires having plenty of Hearts, hopefully high ones. If the player doesn’t start with the Queen of Spades, acquiring it requires winning a trick where she is played.

This is easier said than done unless a player has many high-ranking cards. Should the player fail, they will have to take all of the Heart and Queen of Spade points they’ve accumulated.

Keep Practicing

Card games like Euchre and Hearts are easy for beginners to learn, but mastering them can take years. Fortunately, players don’t have to play with actual cards anymore–players can test their luck easily online at, and seeing so many hands played means that players can become adept in weeks rather than months!