Klondike Solitare Card Game Rules

By Michele M. Howard
Klondike, a popular solitaire card game
playing cards image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com

This game is one the most familiar solitaire card games; however, not many know that it is called Klondike. It is also called Small Triangle, Chinaman, Demon, Fascination and Canfield. According to Solitaire Central, the odds of winning are slim, about once in every 30 attempts. The chances of winning are higher when playing one of the game's variations and using a few strategy tips.


The object of the game is to build four separate card piles, or foundations, from ace to king all from the same suit. This is done as the cards are revealed.

Starting the Game

To play this solitaire game, only one deck of 52 cards is needed. Start by shuffling the deck. Deal seven cards out and lay them face down in a row, side by side. These will be the start of seven columns. Next deal out six cards, face down on top of the first row skipping the first column and starting at the second column. Deal out five cards face down on top of the columns skipping the first two and starting with the third. Continue until the columns are filled; the first column has one card, the second has two, the third has three and so on. The last column has seven cards. The top card of each column is now turned facing up. Place the 24 remaining cards face down off to the side. These cards make up the stock pile.

Playing the Game

Three cards from the stock pile are turned up and placed in a waste pile. Only the top card from this pile can be played. It is played either on one of the seven columns or on one of the four foundation piles. Each foundation pile is started with an ace and is built up to the king of the same suit. The columns are built down in suit with alternating colors. For example, a black eight of clubs is played on a red nine of diamonds. The last card in each column can also be moved to one of the foundation piles. A sequence or run of cards from one column may be moved to another column. If all the face-up cards from a column have been played or moved, the next face-down card in that column is turned up. If all the cards in a column have been played and there is an empty column, if may be filled, but only with a king. When there are no more moves from either the stock pile or from the columns, three more stock pile cards are turned up and play continues. When all the stock pile cards have been turned up and no more cards can be played, the waste pile is turned over and used again. Three cards are turned up onto a new waste pile and play continues.

Game's End

The game ends when all four foundation piles have been built up from ace to king or when there are no more moves from the stock pile or from any of the columns.


One alternate way to play that increases your chances of winning is to turn over one stock pile card at a time instead of turning over three cards each time. Typically with this version, the number of times the stock pile is recycled is two.

Strategy Tips

Whenever you can, always move aces or deuces to the foundation piles. Do not empty out a column if there is no king to fill the space. If given the choice of turning over cards from different columns, choose the column with the most face-down cards.