247 Solitaire title image

The Definitive Guide to Solitaire Card Game Rules

Since the dawn of consumer computers, Solitaire has been one of the most popular game programs across the whole world. If you want to learn one of the greatest puzzle card games, look no further. This article will cover the setup, rules, and some pro strategies for the world’s most popular Solitaire game!

The official rules of Solitaire

Solitaire may seem deceptively simple to learn, but it requires patience and a keen eye for detail. Since every game is different, once you’ve grasped the basic rules you’ll have endless variations to play!

What is the goal of Solitaire?

The most recognized version of Solitaire is classic Klondike Solitaire. It’s perhaps the most popular card game on computer systems and is likely what you think of when you hear the word “Solitaire".

Klondike Solitaire contains all of the basic components that other Solitaire variations play with, which is why it’s one of the best games to introduce players to the Solitaire genre.

Most Solitaire variations all share a common goal: organize a complicated array of randomly sorted cards into a set of foundations by their respective suit. Most Solitaire games that use a single deck have 4 foundations for each of 4 suits: Spades, Clubs, Diamonds, and Hearts.

How do you win Solitaire?

Winning Solitaire can sometimes be a combined matter of luck and skill. The best strategy is to prioritize revealing your entire tableau before tackling building the foundations. Every face-down card should be revealed as soon as possible -- without these cards you’re essentially playing in the dark!

If you can avoid pulling from the stockpile before every card is revealed, try to do so. Adding more cards on top of the hidden cards buried beneath is a quick way to make your game incredibly difficult.

How do the cards rank in Solitaire?

Aces are low and equal to 1, and each of the numbered cards follows in order, followed by the Joker, Queen, and finally the King as the highest value card.

How do I set up Solitaire?

If you’re playing Solitaire with physical playing cards, you’ll need adequate space to utilize and a 52-card playing deck. The section below will describe exactly how to build your tableau and begin playing!

If you’re playing online, you can skip the setup at 247 Solitaire!

A step-by-step guide to the rules of Solitaire

Here’s a step-by-step guide of instructions to set up your game of Solitaire and start playing.

Step 1: Building the tableau

Shuffle your deck well so your tableau will be completely random. Your tableau is your primary game space, composed of 28 cards out of your deck and spread across 7 tableau columns.

These 7 columns are each sized sequentially and should be built containing 1-7 cards from left to right. When building these columns, place every card face-down beside the topmost cards of every column. Once you’ve placed 28 cards down in your tableau you will have completed your tableau!

Make sure you have 4 extra empty spaces wherever convenient to be your foundations, as well as enough space for a discard pile. The remaining 24 cards in your deck will go into your stockpile and are set aside face-down for later use.

Step 2: Beginning the game

With your tableau built and ready, your first moves in Klondike Solitaire will be choosing which cards to reveal first. If you have any aces immediately visible in your tableau you can send those immediately to the foundations -- lucky you!

When moving cards across your tableau, you must stack them underneath a card of an alternate color and +1 in value to the card you’re placing. This means that a black 7 should go beneath a red 8, and so forth. Suit doesn’t matter so much in your tableau, though it’s always good to keep it at the back of your mind. Removing the topmost card of a tableau column reveals the first hidden card underneath it.

Step 3: Drawing cards

If you run out of moves to make, you’ll likely need to draw cards from your stockpile.

Klondike Solitaire is classically a 3-card variation, which means you draw a set of three cards and attempt to play them in the order you drew. If you can’t play a card, any of the cards after it must go into the waste pile. If you want a slightly easier time, try opting for a 1-card game instead.

When placing cards into the waste pile, remember to preserve the order they were drawn. This is important because if you run out of cards in your stockpile, you flip the entire waste pile to re-create your stockpile. You do not shuffle them in, as it destroys the intended order of the game.

Step 4: Building your foundations

Foundations are built numerically from the aces of each suit up. When every single card in the game has been successfully sorted into your foundations, you’ve won!

A good strategy for newer players is to try and build the foundations equally. Tableau cards need to be stacked in alternating colors, and if you’ve built up an entire foundational column of red cards, you might regret your plays.

Solitaire FAQs

What is the stockpile?

The stockpile, or stock, is all your remaining cards left in the deck from when you arranged your initial tableau. In a game like Klondike Solitaire, you draw from this stockpile to progress the game and hopefully add more cards to your tableau if you can afford to.

Is every game of Solitaire winnable?

This depends on the game variation. 52-card deck probabilities are so complex it’s estimated that only around 80% of Klondike Solitaire games are winnable, even with perfect play. This can be occasionally frustrating for players, but it’s important to think about your options before calling a game. Sometimes there are plays to be made that you’re not seeing at the moment.

Do all versions of Solitaire have the same rules?

No -- in fact, there are countless rule variations of Solitaire. From an easier and more relaxed Freecell Solitaire variation to the intense difficulty of Wasp Solitaire, there are so many different ways to play that anyone can find the game that’s suited just for them.

Put your Solitaire know-how to the test and play online at 247 Solitaire!

There you have it! Remember that if you want to skip the complicated setup of playing Solitaire physically, 247 Solitaire has the best assortment of Solitaire games and tools to help you become the best player in town.

If you’re looking to put your skills to the test, be sure to check out their collection of unique and difficult master Solitaire variations, such as Spider Solitaire, Scorpion Solitaire, and so much more!

Solitaire News


DISCLAIMER: The games on this website are using PLAY (fake) money. No payouts will be awarded, there are no "winnings", as all games represented by 247 Games LLC are free to play. Play strictly for fun.