Microsoft Hearts

Microsoft Hearts is a card game that is included with Windows for Workgroups, Windows95, and Windows 98. Unfortunately it does not come with Windows NT.

How can I play Hearts with other Internet users?

The only way I've been able to play hearts with other "real" people is to use a service such as Yahoo. They have free online games at

Does the Computer cheat?

Several people have suggested to me that Microsoft has programmed the computer players to collaborate and cheat against the human player. I will agree that oftentimes it does feel like the computer is ganging up on me, I really can not bring myself to say that they computer is cheating. It is possible that the computer is merely trying to "get" the player who is winning, which I hope is usually the human.


Fastest Game (Lowest Number of Hands)

Fastest Game Image

The fastest possible game is in 4 hands, since it is possible to "earn" 26 points in one hand. So in three hands, you can't have more than 78 points. Here's a four hand picture.

Slowest Game (Highest Number of Hands)

Slowest Game Image

In one hand, there are a total of 26 points available. If everyone evenly splits each hand, and assuming no shooting the moon, each player will get 6 or 7 points. It will then take 16 hands to reach the end of the game. Here's a 15 hand picture. Even though the first three hands are not shown, you can tell that the image starts at the fourth hand by adding up the scores (29+22+14+39=104), and 104 divided by 26 gives us 4. If someone had shot the moon, the scores would be higher. But because only Mike and Ben have a score of at least 26, no one has shot the moon prior to the fourth hand.

Best Game by a Human Versus Three Computer Opponents

Best Human Winning Game Image

A Human must win the game. The goal is to have each of the three computer players go over 100 points. The human wants a high score. The highest average possible would be 125. The Average Computer Player Score shown is 120.3.

Best Human Winning Game Image #2

This is very similar, except that the human score is not low and not high. The Average Computer Player Score shown is 122.3, the highest average score I've seen for a Human winner. This was submitted to me by Werner Maes of Belgium.

Best Human Winning Game Image #3

This is also very similar, except that the human score is quite low with only four points. The Human wants a low score. The Average Computer Player Score shown is 120.0. An analysis of the best possible score is now available.

Best Game by a Computer

Best Computer Winning Game Image

A Computer must win the game. The goal is to have each of the three other players go over 100 points. The highest average possible would be 125. The Average Computer Player Score shown is 122.0.

Highest Human Score, Human Wins, Human Shoots the Moon Three Times

Best Computer Winning Game Image

A Human player manages to shoot the moon three times in a single game, still manages to win, but ends up with some kind of ridiculously high score.

Lowest Winning Score

Human Player Versus Three Computer Opponents

Human's Lowest Winning Score

0 points, played in 4 hands. This is the "best game" possible. Shooting the moon every hand, four hands in a row! I have received at least ten different screen shots showing that this is possible. Congratulations! I have not been able to do this yet.

Computer Player Versus A Human and Two Computer Opponents

Lowest Winning Computer Image

12 points, played in 11 hands.

Everyone Loses

Updated July 23, 2002

Everyone loses

Try to have all four players go over 100 points in the same hand. The key to this is to get all four players to a score in the upper 90's. And then each player needs to get just enough to break 100. Good luck.

Well, it's happened. I received a screen shot from Todd Vanderhorst of Ohio, USA showing all four players getting over 100 points in the same hand. This is probably hand #16 since the four scores add up to 416. And 416 divided by 26 (number of total points in one hand) is 16. It's possible that Lynda shot the moon in one of the first three hands, but we don't know that for sure. If Lynda did shoot the moon, the final hand of this game was actually hand #14.

Most Hands of Zero Points

I have a theory that the key to winning Hearts is to win as many hands as possible by not getting any points in each hand. Of course occasionally you have to sacrifice and win a few points to prevent someone from shooting the moon, but that's just part of the game. These games are in One Human Versus Three Computer Opponents.

# of Rounds Human Computer
4 4 ?
5 5 ?
6 6 ?
7 7 3
8 8 6
9 7 5
10 7 5
11 7 6
12 8 8
13 ? ?
14 ? ?
15 ? ?
16 ? ?


Please email me if you beat any of these games. To take the pictures just do the following:

  1. Finish your game of Hearts, but don't push OK.
  2. Press Alt-PrintScreen (in Windows95).
  3. Open up the Paint Application. It should be found under Start | Programs | Accessories | Paint.
  4. Make sure that the image dimensions are smaller than 363 x 207 Pels. Goto Image | Attributes (or press Ctrl-E).
  5. Paste the image into the Paint program. Choose Edit | Paste (or press Ctrl-V).
  6. You'll get a warning that the image in the clipboard is larger than the bitmap. Choose Yes to enlarge the bitmap.
  7. Save the image. Choose File | Save (or press Ctrl-S).
  8. Name the image something and save the image.
  9. Attach the image to an email message with a note and send it to me at
  10. If you'd like credit for your accomplishment, let me know and I'll try to include your name and a link back to your web page or email.

Note that you need to send two images if there are more than 12 hands that were played. I realize this is difficult since you don't know in advance if you will need the first few hands captured or not.


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Copyright © 1997-2010 Michael Boyd Clark (Pages in the Jokes Pages are not under my copyright, it's simply a generic copyright footer.)
May 11, 2004