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Gong Zhu

Origin Chinese
Alternative names Chinese Hearts
Type Trick-taking
Players 4
Age range All ages
Cards 52
Deck Anglo-American
Play Anticlockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Playing time 15 min.
Random chance Easy
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Gong Zhu (拱猪) is a Chinese four-player trick-taking card game, and is a Chinese version of the game Hearts. It differs from the standard Hearts game by assigning special point values to cards. The objective of the game is to score positive points and avoid penalty points. Gong Zhu means: Chase the Pig, for "pig" is the name given to the Q♠.

All players start with 0 points. The goal is to not be the first person to go past -1000 points (thus losing the game) and in some variations, also not more than 1000 points. The loser(s) becomes the pig, as Gong Zhu means "chase the pig" in Chinese. All points accumulate until any player(s) have lost, for which the game ends and all points will be reset to 0.

Unlike in Western Hearts, there is no passing of cards prior to each round in Gong Zhu.

Point values

Exposure of cards

In Gong Zhu, you may expose ("sell") the cards Q♠, J, 10♣, or A (affecting all hearts) before each round if you have any of them, thus showing your card(s) to the other players. By the rules of Gong Zhu, if you expose a card, you must not play it in the first trick when the dealer plays the corresponding suit, so as to be able to give a chance for players with higher cards to get rid of them without being disadvantaged by the exposure. The exception to this is when the exposed card is the only card in that suit (in any particular player's possession during that round).

  • For example, by exposing the Q♠, you cannot play it in the first trick when the dealer plays a spade to allow players with the cards K♠ and A♠ to get rid of them.

Exposing a card doubles its effect. For example, if the Q♠ is doubled, it will be worth -200 instead of -100. In the case of the 10♣, since it isn't worth anything in itself, the doubling effect of the 10 of clubs is doubled, which if exposed and taken by that same player, will quadruple the value of all the other point cards collected in that round.

  1. If the Q♠, 10♣ and A have been exposed and you have these three cards after one trick, then you will receive -1200 (4*((-100*2)+(-50*2))) points.
  2. If the A has been exposed and you have all hearts but the ace, you will receive -300 (2*(-150)) points.


In each trick, similar to Hearts, the suit is determined by the dealer who produces the first card. Players take turns to play a card in an anticlockwise direction and whoever produces the card of the largest value in the same suit collects all four cards and becomes the next dealer. Unlike Hearts, apart from exposed cards (as mentioned above), any card can be played during the first trick.

At the end of a round, all players' points are totaled up and added to their accumulated points for that game. Player(s) who have accumulated -1000 or lower points immediately lose that game. After which, a new game begins and all points are reset to 0.



     - Point addition (Non-exposed cards)
     - Point addition (Exposed cards)
     - Point deduction (Non-exposed cards)
     - Point deduction (Exposed cards)
     - Not involved cards

Case All Hearts Value Q♠ (Queen of Spades) Value J (Jack of Diamonds) Value 10♣ (10 of Clubs) Value Total Value
1 4,5,9,J,K -160 +200 x2 +80
2 All +200 +200
All +400 +400
3 All +200 x2 +400
x4 +800
All +400 x2 +800
x4 +1600
4 All +200 +100 +300
+200 +400
All +400 +100 +500
+200 +600
5 All +400 +200 x4 +2400
6 5-A -400 -200 x4 -2400
8 All Instant win

Like Hearts, points calculated are on an accumulative basis; usually, players will be given the points that are assigned to whatever point cards he collected after one round. There are multiple ways to shoot the moon. Gong Zhu differs from hearts in that you gain points by shooting the moon, instead of making other players lose points. In some cases, the J and the Q♠ switch values, giving negative points to unsuspecting players.

  1. In the general case (case 1) described in the table above, for example, a player has collected the cards 4, 5, 9, J and K (ace exposed), J (exposed) and 10♣ (not exposed). Hence, he will get +80 (2*((-160)+(100*2))) points.
    If you add up the value of all of the hearts, you get -200 points. Hence,
  2. If you get all the hearts, you have shot the moon and are awarded +200 points, +400 points if the ace has been exposed.
  3. If you get all the hearts AND the 10 of clubs, you can be awarded +400, +800 or +1600 points, depending on the cards that have been exposed.
  4. If you get all the hearts AND the queen of spades, the queen of spades counts as positive and you can be awarded +300, +400, +500 or +600 points, depending on the cards that have been exposed.
  5. The greatest win in Gong Zhu (without an instant win) occurs when a player collects all hearts (ace exposed), 10♣ (exposed) and either the exposed J or Q♠: +2400 points.
  6. The greatest defeat in Gong Zhu occurs when a player collects all hearts between 5 and A (ace exposed), Q♠ (exposed) and 10♣ (exposed): -2400 points.
  7. In some variations, if you get the queen of diamonds, every trick you win after the trick in which the queen of diamonds was won is worth 10 points.
  8. If you get all the point cards, the game ends and all the other players loses, irrespective of their point accumulation.

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy