How to Play Solitaire

By Shea Laverty
Solitaire, a lot, table space, a suitably large playing area
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Solitaire, or patience, is a one-person card game where skill and luck intersect to provide a challenging puzzle with a simple format. Most games of Solitaire follow the Klondike rules, which serve as the foundation for most variant rule sets. The object of Solitaire is simple: put all of the cards in their piles on the foundation row. Getting them there, however, is where the challenge lies.

Setting Up

Shuffle a standard deck of 52 playing cards thoroughly and lay out seven cards in a row, with all but the first card face down. Lay out another six cards atop the face-down cards in the same manner, with the first of those cards face up. Continue in this fashion until each of the piles has a face-up card, then check to see if any of the face-up cards is an Ace. If there is an Ace, remove it from the pile and place it face up elsewhere on the table, generally above the set of seven piles. This is the foundation row, where you place cards to win the game. The rest of the deck is your stockpile. The Resources section contains a link demonstrating how your cards should look at the beginning of the game.

Using the Foundation Row

The foundation row is divided into four face-up piles, one for each suit. Cards must be added to them in numeric order, starting with the Ace. After the Ace, cards can be added in order from Two to King. You should move your cards to the foundation row as soon as possible, unless you believe delaying the move can lead to a more profitable play.

Playing Cards

Outside the foundation row, cards can be moved about between the piles. A card can only be stacked on another card of the opposing color that is one number higher than it. For example, you can attach a black Queen to a red King, or a red Three to a black Four. Whenever you expose a face-down card in one of the piles, you must flip it face-up and play it, if possible. When a pile runs out of cards, a King and all attached cards can be moved to the vacant space, opening up another face-down card to be flipped and played.

Using the Stockpile

Once you have run out of moves, you can begin looking through your stock pile. Draw three cards at a time and fan them out on an empty space on the table. The top card in this pile is the one you can play, with subsequent cards in the pile becoming playable when the top card is used. If none of the cards in the pile can be played, draw three more and pile them on top, trying to make a play from the top card. Continue in this fashion as necessary until the stockpile is depleted, then turn the stockpile over to use again. The game ends when either all cards have been added to the foundation row, or you run out of playable moves.