I haven’t played Hearts in many years, but back when I had a computer with the game on it, it was one of my favourite pastimes. I played it so much and recorded so many wins and losses that as usual, I began to glean life lessons from it.
Here are a few of those lessons:
1. Sometimes you really are dealt a (seemingly) bad hand
It’s true. But so what?
When I first started playing Hearts, I began to understand better what it means when they say you’ve been dealt a good hand or a bad hand. Sometimes you just look at the cards you got and think, What am I going to do with these ones now? But I also learnt that no matter how bad a hand you’ve been dealt, there is always a way out.
2. Lemonade business is good business
Very few things beat the thrill of making a lot out of very little. When you’re dealt good cards, it doesn’t take much to win, but when you manage to win with a less-than-ideal hand? You feel like a real boss!
3. Know thy enemy
It’s very easy to be unobservant, so make sure you know, whenever it’s possible, who has the Black Maria. And in life, don’t be ignorant of the enemy’s tactics either. You either be alert and play smart, or don’t play at all. And since you’re already in the game, you might as well play. For no one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is worthy…
4. Don’t give up too easily
Sometimes it looks so bad you’re sure you’ve lost this round, so you let down your guard, play one wrong card and your closest rival beats you as you find out you wouldn’t have fared so badly if you’d held on to the end. No matter how bad things look, keep playing like a champ till the very end. You will reap your reward, if you faint not.
5. Never stop taking it seriously
Beware of the moments where it seems as though it isn’t worth it. Again, when things aren’t going great, it’s easy to just become unserious. It’s only a game. It’s only a side hustle. You start telling yourself it’s not really all that important, and you start to play carelessly, only to find out that the game does mean something to you after all (usually after you realise that you are behind the winner by only 10 points. Yikes, you almost won!!). Then you wish you’d been serious. And it will be painful and a game too late.
6. Don’t get overconfident
Let he who thinks he stands take heed, lest he falls.
7. Learn to take risks
In the same vein, dare to dare. Granted, it’s risky, especially in Hearts. But apart from the fact that it pays off, being too careful can also cost you and you feel sillier when you lose for being too careful, than when you lose for being bold. Make sure it’s a calculated risk though, don’t just bluff. What player, going to make war against another player, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able to shoot the moon with one Black Maria and twelve hearts to meet with him that cometh against him with an ace?
8. Miracles do happen and you can shoot the moon!
Yes, once in a while a big break comes along, and simply put, you “win big”! It doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes you just need to recognise the opportunity and go for it!
Whatever is worth playing is worth playing well. Be humble, don’t get carried away, be alert, don’t take anything for granted and remember that if you’re thinking it, they’re probably thinking it too. Also, have a competitive spirit, but always remember that sometimes it pays you to help others.