Super Hearts

Contributed by Jerry Schwartz (js@jps.net)

I'd like to share with you the innovations that a group of us made to hearts to make it (for us, at least) a much more enjoyable game. We were a group of programers/systems analysts/IBM field reps (they had such things in those days) working on an IBM 360 about a hundred years ago. We played "Super Hearts" during our lunch hour because the traditional game didn't satisfy us:

So here's what we did:

  1. We reduced the value of the queen to 7 points, making the total 20 points per deal.

  2. We allowed each deal to stand on its own, paid for as described below, but with no running point score total.

  3. Each player paid to the winner of each hand the difference in their point scores for that hand. Not actually, because we did tally the amounts and settled daily (or weekly, or whatever). The point is that each hand was a whole new game that you could win or lose, not influenced by the results of the prior games.

  4. The winner of a hand was the player who scored the fewest points, provided, however, that a player scoring zero points did not participate. In other words, the winner of a hand was the player who scored the smallest positive number of points. In case of a tie, the winners split the losers' payoff.

The added complexity of our game actually caught us by surprise. We soon discovered that each player had to attempt to manipulate the game in order to win, There can be numerous examples, but just for illustration:

Obviously, the optimum is to get exactly ONE point in each game, and/or to prevent your opponents from doing exactly that. So you clearly need to be aware of the point accumulations of each player, as well as drawing all possible conclusions about suit and high-card distribution.


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Last updated 11th August 1998