Solitaire is a popular card game because, unlike many widely-known card games, it is played with only one person. All a player needs is a single deck of cards. Of course, many people have only played solitaire on their computers and the computer game deals the cards itself and prevents players from making illegal moves. If you have to play with a real deck, you may need to brush up on the rules.
Shuffle the deck of playing cards.
Place the card from the top of the deck upturned on the left side of the playing surface.
Deal six cards to the right of the first upturned card, placing them face-down, so there are seven piles of cards.
Place the card from the top of the deck upturned on the card to the right of the first upturned card, then deal a card face-down on top of each of the five cards to its right.
Deal cards so the third pile of cards from the left has two face-down cards and one upturned card on top, the fourth pile has three face-down cards and one upturned card, and so on. The seventh pile must have six down-turned cards and one upturned card on top.
Place the deck of cards on the upper-left corner of the playing surface, above the first face-up card.
Take three cards from the top of the deck and place them in a face-up pile to the right of the deck.
Take any aces from the face-up cards on the top of the seven piles or the first card on top of the pile of cards next to the deck and place them in their own piles on the upper-right corner of the placing surface, above the right-most piles of cards.
Build up the piles of aces with cards from the same suit. For example, place the two of clubs on top of the ace of clubs, the three of clubs on top of the two of clubs, and so forth.
Move cards from the face-up cards on top of the seven piles or the first card on top of the pile of cards next to the deck and place them in descending order on other cards, alternating by color. For example, place the red four of diamonds on top of the black five of clubs.
Turn face-down cards face-up when they are on the top of one of the seven piles.
Place kings in one of the spots the seven piles occupied when they are empty. Build up the piles with kings in the same way, by placing a red queen on top of a black king, a black jack on top of the black queen, and so on.
Deal three more cards on top of the pile next to the deck when you are unable to make any more moves. Keep dealing until you can make a move. Once the deck is empty, turn the pile of face-up cards face-down and deal three cards from its top again.
Build up the four piles starting with the aces with one pile for each suit of cards to win the game. The deck and seven original piles of cards are empty at this point.
Not every game of Solitaire can be won. Start the game over if you are stuck.
While the game's rules are simple, even the best players win only about 30 percent of their games. So new players should not feel frustrated if they lose at first.
Printable instructions for Solitaire card games
- Shuffle the deck of cards until the cards are sufficiently randomized.
- Lay seven cards in a horizontal row. The first card should be face up, and the next six should be face down.
- Set a card on each face-down card. Only the card you place on the sixth pile should be face up; the others should be face down.
- Deal more cards using the previous process until each pile has a face-up card. These piles are called a "card block."
- Put the remaining cards in a pile above the cards you dealt, the card block. This pile is called the "source stack."
- Move all aces from the card block. The aces are put in a "suit stack." Eventually, you'll have four suit stacks at the top of the playing surface, one stack each for Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds. The goal of Solitaire is to move a card from the card block or source stack onto the suit stack. The cards on the suit stack must be arranged in ascending order. Thus, if you have the Ace of spades as the top card showing in the Spades suit stack, you must put the 2 of Spades over it before you can place any other spade in that stack.
- Flip over all face-down cards on the card block revealed by moving Aces or other cards to a suit stack. Throughout the course of the game, flip over all face down cards in the card block.
- Build card blocks by moving them onto one another. One card block can be moved onto another card block if the card block being moved is of an opposite suit and in descending order. For example, if the Queen of spades is the top card in a card block, you may move only a red Jack (the Jack of diamonds or hearts) onto it.
- Play until winning or losing the game. Continue flipping through the source pile and moving cards from the card blocks and source pile onto the suit stacks. You win the game if all cards are on the suit stacks. You lose the game if you cannot move a card onto the suit stack or if no possible plays would reveal another card in either the source pile or under a card block.
A card block never disappears. A King may be moved from another card block or the source pile onto an empty card block. Play has no set order. You may flip over three cards from the source pile and then proceed to move around card blocks or vice versa. When all the cards in the source pile are flipped over face down, begin flipping over cards (three at time) anew.
- Not every game of Solitaire can be won. Start the game over if you're stuck.
Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around tech geek who writes for PC World, MakeUseOf, and How-To Geek. He's been using Windows since Windows 3.1 was released in 1992.