Hearts - History

History

The game of Hearts as currently known originated with a family of related games called Reversis, which became popular around 1750 in Spain. In this game, a penalty point was awarded for each trick won, plus additional points for capturing the Jack of Hearts or the Queen of Hearts. A similar game called "Four Jacks" centered around avoiding any trick containing a Jack, which were worth one penalty point, and the Jack of Spades worth two.

Over time, additional penalty cards were added to Reverse, and around 1850, the game gave way to a simple variant of Hearts, where each Heart was worth 1 point. The Queen of Spades (sometimes referred to as "Calamity Jane") was introduced in a variant called Black Maria which then became known as the standard Hearts game, and soon thereafter, the idea of "shooting the moon" was introduced to the game to add depth to the gameplay. In the 1920s, the Jack of Diamonds variation (ten positive points) was introduced, and some time later the scoring was reversed so that penalty points were expressed as positive instead of negative. Passing cards, breaking Hearts, and leading the Two of Clubs are more recent additions.

Recently the game has become popular in live play among grade school students in the United States, and is enjoying more widespread popularity through Internet gaming sites. It also became known through the Microsoft version of the game packaged with most workstation versions of its popular Windows operating system, beginning in version 3.1 (see Hearts (Windows)).

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