How to Play Beginners Solitaire

By Dave Passis
Klondike solitaire requires a full deck of cards, minus the jokers.

Finding a partner for a quick card game can be challenging. Klondike, one of the most common forms of solitaire, is one way to play cards alone. A few basics to keep in mind: There are two red suits and two black; hearts and diamonds are red, while spades and clubs are black. The game's object is to place the cards in suit-delineated piles, known as foundation piles. Each foundation pile must have an ace at its base, with successively higher-ranked cards placed on top in order. Card rank, from bottom to top, is ace, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, jack, queen and king. Cards move from the stock, foundation or tableau piles.

Setup

Shuffle the cards and deal seven cards in a row on the surface, with the first card face up. These are the bases for the tableau piles, which are used to move cards into a useful order.

Deal the next six cards in the same manner, with the first card dealt face up and the remainder face down, on top of the established piles, beginning from the second tableau pile from the right. Continue to deal in this manner, with one less card on each deal, until 28 cards have been dealt. Each of the seven piles should now have a face-up card on top.

Place the remainder of the cards to the side. They constitute the stock, or draw pile.

Basic Play

Scan the visible cards. If an ace is available, move it to the foundation pile. If cards already exist on the foundation piles, scan the visible cards for any that may be played. For example, if one of the foundation piles has a two of spades on top and a three of spades is visible, you may move the three on top of the two. To move a card to the foundation pile, it must be sequentially higher than the card showing.

Deal three cards face up from the stock pile. These cards become the waste pile and must be played in the order drawn. Cards are playable if they are the top card in the waste pile or the lowest card in the column based on a tableau pile.

Play any legal cards. Cards may be played either to the foundation or placed in a column stretching down from the tableau. Cards placed on the tableau may only be played on an immediately sequential, higher-ranking card of a different color. For example, a three of hearts may be placed on a four of spades. A three of clubs may not be played on a four of spades.

Verify that you can't make any more moves. Draw three cards from the stock pile, placing them face up on top of the waste pile. The new top card may now be played, with subsequent cards becoming available in the order dealt.

Flip the waste pile over when all cards have been dealt from the stock. The flipped pile becomes the new stock.

Continue playing until you successfully move all of the cards to the foundation piles, winning the game. If you work completely through the stock twice and can't move, you lose the game.

Things Needed

  • Standard deck of 52 playing card with jokers removed
  • Clear, flat surface

Tip

Remember that the order of the cards is fixed. If all three cards from a deal are played, there is no effect on the deck as a whole. Try to move, at most, two cards from one deal. Move cards from the top of the waste pile, the tableau or the foundation. Situations exist where a card could be recovered from the foundation to prolong a game.

About the Author

Dave Passis began writing professionally in 2010. He writes primarily for eHow and Answerbag, with a focus on military and history topics. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education from Northeastern Illinois University.