How to Play Solitaire: Overview, Rules, and Tips

Card games have come and gone since first being invented in the 9th century, but it’s hard to imagine a world without solitaire, the classic patience game. While the origins of this easy-to-learn but difficult-to-master game are unclear, without a doubt, solitaire is beloved by many today. This might be due to the game’s simple goal: sort all of the cards from a deck into their respective suits by yourself.

Getting Started

While there are many variations of solitaire, all you need to get started for the basic version of the game is a standard deck of 52 cards (no Jokers) or a solitaire app or other online solitaire game—like this Klondike Solitaire for example. After shuffling the deck, place one card face up and six face down to the right to create seven separate columns. Place a card face up on the second column, but slightly lower so the first card can still be seen. Then, place five cards face down on each column to the right in the same manner.

Continue this process until each column has a face-up card. These columns are known as a “tableau,” and it is one of the four foundation piles on the main playing area. Once the tableau pile is set up, put the remaining cards in a pile to the side. This is the second pile and is referred to as the “stockpile.” You can draw from it when you don’t have any moves to make. Now that the game is set, you’re ready to begin!

How to Play

Face up cards can be moved onto a card of a different color that is one value higher. For example, a red five can be placed on a black six. When a tableau column does not have a face-up card on top, the next face-down card can be flipped over.

If you don’t have any moves to make, you may draw from the stockpile. To draw from the stockpile, simply flip over the top card. If you can’t use the card, place it on the bottom of the stockpile and continue drawing. Some versions of solitaire require players to flip over three cards from the stock at a time.

If you uncover an Ace, that card should be moved to a space above the tableau columns. Each Ace begins a suit pile, or “foundation,” which is the third pile. Cards may then be moved from the tableau into a foundation in ascending order (Ace, two, three, etc.). If you completely clear one of the seven tableau columns, a king of any suit can be placed in the empty space to begin a new column. No other card may be used to start a new column.

Cards can also be moved together. If multiple face-up cards have been placed in order, you can move the stack to the next card in sequence. For example, if you have grouped a black six and red five, they can be moved together onto a red seven.

Continue to make moves until all of the cards have been sorted into suits in the foundations to end the game! Now you're ready to try a game of solitaire! Test your speed against real opponents, and win real prizes by playing solitaire online! Check out our selection of solitaire games and solitaire variations including Pyramid, Freecell, and Spider solitaire.

Related Games
Solitaire CubeClassic Klondike Solitaire
Solitaire Tour - Classic CardsClassic Klondike Solitaire
Big Run Solitaire1-Card Klondike with perfect polish
Explore Genres