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How Many Cards Go Across in Solitaire, and Other Setup Questions

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If you’re interested in setting up your very first game of Solitaire, it can seem confusing at first. How many cards go across? How many rows do you lay out? Which cards should face up, and which face down?

If you’ve got Solitaire set-up questions, you’re in the right place! In this article, we’ll walk you through how to set up a game of Klondike Solitaire.

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How to set up Solitaire step-by-step

shuffling solitaire cards

The very first thing to do is shuffle your deck well! It’s said there are more combinations for a deck of playing cards than there are atoms in our entire universe, but you’ll still need to shuffle them well if you want a fair game.

Solitaire can be a somewhat complicated setup if you’re playing with physical cards, and it’s important that the setup is correct or else the game may become unplayable.

Step 1: Deal 7 cards to create 7 columns

The standard Solitaire tableau is 7 columns across, with each column containing a decreasing stack of cards. Deal 7 cards, all face-up, to begin your tableau. The tableau is the area of play where all of your columns will be.

The largest column you will create – traditionally on the right-hand side of the tableau – will contain 7 cards in total. That’s 1 card face-up and 6 face-down beneath it.

Make sure you’re not looking at the cards in the deck that you’re dealing face-down – these cards need to be hidden for the game to play properly!

Step 2: Deal 6 cards, starting in the second column

This second column will be to the immediate left of the column you have just built. This second column will, similarly, contain 6 cards in total: 1 card face-up, and 5 cards face-down beneath it.

Step 3: Repeat with 5 cards, starting in the third column

This third column will contain 5 cards in total: 1 card face-up, and 4 cards face-down beneath it. At this point, you may be able to spot the pattern in the setup.

Step 4: Repeat with 4 cards, starting in the fourth column

This fourth column will contain 4 cards in total: 1 card face-up, and 3 cards face-down beneath it. At this point, you’re just filling in the rest of the columns with one less card in each.

Step 5: Repeat with 3 cards, starting in the fifth column

This fifth column will contain 3 cards in total: 1 card face-up, and 2 cards face-down beneath it. Almost there now!

Step 6: Repeat with 2 cards, starting in the sixth column

This sixth column will contain 2 cards in total: 1 card face-up, and 1 card face-down. Second to last column, keep going!

Step 7: Place the final card face-up in the seventh column

For this final column, simply deal a single card face-up. Congratulations – you have successfully constructed the tableaus for your game of Solitaire! The hard part is now done.

Step 8: Place the stockpile

Last, but not least! Place the remaining cards in your deck face-down somewhere aside to create your stockpile.

You’ll draw your additional cards for the game from this pile and place them into the tableau or the waste if you cannot immediately play them. An important part of the game is to not shuffle your waste cards back into the stockpile in a random order. Instead, when you have exhausted your stockpile, flip the entire waste pile back over to recreate it as it was.

The setup process can be time-consuming, especially if you wish to quickly play multiple games. If you’re looking to skip the setup, playing Solitaire online is a great alternative!

Solitaire setup FAQs

playing solitaire with grandparents

You’ve learned the most basic setup for the standard “Klondike” variation of Solitaire, which is the most widely-played variation of this popular card game. There are plenty of other variations of Solitaire out there to explore. We’ll discuss a few of them here, along with some additional Solitaire setup questions.

How many cards go across in Solitaire?

Out of the 52 cards in your deck, you will use 28 cards to construct your tableau to begin the game. This involves building 7 columns – the 7 cards “across” that you’ll see in Solitaire. This will leave you with 24 cards remaining to form your stockpile.

What is the set-up for Spider Solitaire?

Spider Solitaire, unlike Klondike, has eight foundational piles. The eight piles are what give “Spider” its name – from the eight legs of the common arachnid!

Spider Solitaire is a little bit different from Klondike or any other variation of the game. Assuming you’re playing 4-suit Spider Solitaire, you will need two decks of cards instead of one for 104 total cards.

You’ll begin by dealing 10 cards to create 10 foundational columns. The first four columns, beginning at the left-hand side of your tableau, will contain 6 cards in total. 1 card face-up, and 5 cards face-down beneath, in each column equally. The next and final six columns to the right of those will contain 5 cards in total: 1 card face-up, and 4 face-down beneath them.

If you’ve set up the board correctly, you should have 54 cards total making up your tableau. The final 50 cards will become your stockpile. The goal of the game is to create ordered foundational piles, just like Klondike solitaire. You can only draw cards from your stockpile if there is at least 1 card in every one of your 10 column spaces.

How do you set up a Solitaire pyramid?

Solitaire Pyramid, as the name implies, is a pyramid-shaped setup of 28 cards.

You arrange your tableau in a pyramid formation, with 6 cards forming the base of the pyramid, 5 on the layer above that, 4 above that, 3, 2, and finally completing the tip of the pyramid with 1 card.

The goal of the game is simple – to clear the pyramid tableau of cards. To do this, you must combine duos of cards that equal 13 into a “foundation” pile. They don’t need to go into the foundation in any specific order, they just need to equal 13 together. The 24 cards remaining in the deck form a stockpile you can draw from to help clear the tableau.

What is a tableau?

The tableau contains the main play columns for a game of Solitaire. You can consider it a board or play space. In Klondike Solitaire, for instance, it is the 7 columns you set up at the beginning of the game.

What is the stockpile?

In Solitaire, the stockpile is a pile of cards that contains all of the remaining cards not used to construct the tableau. It is frequently used as a pile to draw additional cards from throughout the game.

What are the foundation piles?

Creating the foundation piles is the goal of the Solitaire. They’re usually piles you have to arrange in numerical order – by suit – with the cards from your tableau and stockpile together. In Solitaire, aces are almost always low, and kings are the highest.

Skip the set-up and play Solitaire online!

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Setting up Solitaire with one or more decks of your cards can sometimes be a hassle. It requires a lengthy setup and a fair amount of table space to play it, so why not skip the setup?

Jump straight into playing your favorite Solitaire games by playing online at 247 Solitaire! With dozens of variations and quality features to choose from, it’s the quickest and easiest way to play your favorite games online.

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