How to Play Regular or Basic Solitaire

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Solitaire, a game of equal skill and chance, is a good way to kill some time on a lazy afternoon. A game for one, hence the name "Solitaire," this card game depends on the luck of the draw as much as your focus. Solitaire is one of the original single-player card games, and the rules for its play are the basis for many other card games. Learning to play regular, or basic, solitaire can arm you against boredom and help prepare you for other single-player card games.

Discard the deck's jokers, then shuffle the deck of cards. Place one card face up, then six cards face down in a horizontal row.

Place cards on top of the face-down cards, with the left-most card facing up and the others face down. Repeat this step until the right-most pile has an upward facing card.

Place the rest of the unused deck, or stockpile, face down to the left of the piles of cards.

Place aces above the seven card piles in four piles, or foundations, one for each suit. Place cards of that suit on top of the ace, building upward. For example, the card to go on top of the ace of spades is the two of spades, then after that the three of spades.

Place face-up cards on the seven piles, or tableaux, onto the larger numbered cards of different colors. For example, the eight of diamonds can go on top of the nine of spades or clubs. Multiples of cards can also be moved. A stack containing the four of diamonds and the five of clubs can be placed on top of the six of hearts or diamonds in a different tableau.

Flip the top card over on one of the seven piles when no upward facing cards are on top. Move kings into any empty tableaux.

Flip the top three cards over and to the right of the stockpile, using the top card for play. The top card can either go on one of the tableaux or onto one of the foundations using the respective rules. If the top card and other face-up cards are not playable, then turn over the next three cards. Continue turning over the stockpile in groups of three until no cards are left, then turn the pile over and start flipping over groups of three from that pile.

Win the game by placing every card onto its respective foundation pile. Each pile should be from ace to king.


  • "The Step-By-Step Guide to Playing 250 World's Best Card Games: Including Bridge, Poker, Family Games and Solitaires"; Jeremy Harwood and Trevor Sippetts; 2010
  • "101 Card Games for One: A Comprehensive Guide to Solitaire Games"; Brenda Ralph Lewis; 2007

About the Author

Chance E. Gartneer began writing professionally in 2008 working in conjunction with FEMA. He has the unofficial record for the most undergraduate hours at the University of Texas at Austin. When not working on his children's book masterpiece, he writes educational pieces focusing on early mathematics and ESL topics.

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