Solitaire is the collective name for a large number of single-player card games, of which Klondike Solitaire is the best known. This game has even become so popular over time that most people simply call it “Solitaire”, without the “Klondike”. To help you learn to play the game, let’s first explain what the playing field looks like. It consists of four parts:
- The tableau: Solitaire is played with 52 cards, with 28 of them being distributed in 7 piles across the tableau. The first pile always consists of 1 card, with each subsequent pile containing 1 more card than the preceding one. Only the last card of each pile is turned face up and the rest are turned face down.
- The stock: After the 28 cards have been dealt into piles on the tableau, the remaining 24 cards comprise the stockpile and are turned face down.
- The waste: Once all the cards of the stock have been brought into play, they end up face up in the waste pile.
- The foundation: All the cards of the foundation, waste and tableau ultimately end up here.
When you start a new game, you can choose whether you want to deal 1 card or 3 cards. The rules below concern the easy and most frequently played version, dealing 1 card. To win a game of Solitaire, you have to move all the cards distributed across the tableau and the stock to the 4 foundations, sorted by suit and in ascending order from the Ace to the King. On the tableau itself, you can move the face up cards from pile to pile, alternating in color and in descending order. In Figure 2, for example, you can move a black 7 to a red 8. You can also move several cards at once if these have already been stacked on top of each other.
Every time you move a card to another pile, a hidden card will be turned over, giving you new options. The more cards have been turned over, the greater the chances of winning the game. In Figure 3, we see that after moving the 8, a new card is turned over, a black Ace. And since the first card of a foundation always has to be an Ace, we can immediately play it to the foundation.
When no more legal moves are possible on the tableau, we turn to the stockpile. Every time you press or click on this pile, 1 new card is dealt to the waste. With each new card, you should examine whether you can use it somewhere on the tableau in order to uncover new cards.
Once you’ve completed a pile, thus creating an empty space, only a King can fill it. You should move a King to the empty space as soon as possible; this will also uncover a new card.
The above rules also apply to three-card Solitaire, the only difference being that not all the cards from the stock are available. In this game, you deal 3 cards instead of 1, and you can only use the top card. Once you’ve moved the top card, the second card moves up to the top position and all the other cards in the stock also move up one spot, creating new options.
Tips and strategies
- Prioritize tableau cards over stock cards: You may be tempted to immediately click on the stockpile, but you should not do this until you truly have no more options available on the tableau. After all, the goal is to turn over all the hidden tableau cards as quickly as possible.
- Use the Undo button: Our game has an Undo button, which you can use to undo as many moves as you like. When you use this feature correctly, you can win almost every game because you can try out various options. In the Klondike Solitaire game, you will often run into what’s called a split. For example, you will have a 7 of Spades and a 7 of Clubs, either of which can be placed on an 8 of Hearts. But which of these two options is the best choice? This is where the Undo button comes in handy, because you can use it to look under both cards to see the best choice. Sometimes it only takes one specific move to make or break the game. Remember these moments, so you can always go back and take the game in a different direction.
- Maintain the foundation in balance: Don’t stack too many cards on top of each other in a single foundation, but maintain a balance. For example: If you have the Clubs pile complete up to card 10 and you haven’t begun with the Diamonds pile yet, you will likely run into problems when you want to play the lower cards. And remember that you can always play the cards of the foundation back to the tableau.
- Shortkeys: Does the device on which you’re playing have a keyboard? If so, you can use our handy shortkeys. Press the H key for hints, the D key to deal a card from the stockpile and use Ctrl + Z to go back a step.
- Eliminating Kings: The Kings are the very last cards needed in a Solitaire game, so these are actually always in the way. You should therefore try to make empty piles as quickly as possible and move a King to the empty space immediately. Then you can also immediately get rid of the Jack and Queen high cards. The faster you can properly place these face cards, the greater the chance you will win.