What Are the Rules of Solitaire?

Rules of Solitaire
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Whether you’re playing with a physical deck of cards or you’re reading through a site’s privacy policy before you start clicking away, there’s no denying the appeal of Solitaire, also known as Klondike. It’s easy to pick up and can easily find ways to keep you hooked for hours at a time.

If you’re not familiar with the game of Solitaire, however, you may want to brush up on some of the basic rules first. From essential play deals to some simple (but exciting) variants, there’s more to this card game than meets the eye.

Familiarize yourself with the basic rules.

Luckily, when you’re dealing a Solitaire game—or if you’re playing Solitaire free online—it’s easy enough to get going. The tableau is straightforward: You’re going to use a single 52-card deck when dealing. Each Solitaire game is broken up into four distinct piles:

  • The tableau – This comprises the seven piles that make up the main play area.
  • The foundations – You use these piles to build cascades of different suits.
  • The stockpile – These are the cards left from the deck after you’ve dealt.
  • The waste pile – Your waste pile is where you’ll place cards that don’t have a place in the foundation or tableau.


Sounds easy, right? Now that you know the essentials, it’s important to know how to set everything up. Your tableau is probably going to be the trickiest to master at first. Think of each space as a different tile. Using seven tiles, go from left to right, dealing a card onto each tile until you have a full row.

Then, move down a row. Remember, keep cards face-down so you only see the card backs. In the second row, skip your first tile and deal the remaining six cards in the row. Then deal five, then four, all the way down to one. Now that you’ve dealt, flip the top card of each different column. Your overall play space should somewhat resemble a triangle.

The remaining cards will form your draw pile. Leave enough room for your four foundation piles as well as your waste pile.

Of course, if you’re playing on a site like Solitaired, you won’t have to worry about any of the setups before you dive in. Regardless, it’s always good to know a bit more about the game you’re playing. It can help you when it’s time to go for high scores.

Start the game.

Once everything is in place, you can dive in. Depending on the ruleset you’re using, you’ll flip one to three cards each turn. Face-up cards and cards from your stock can only be played in descending order of alternating colors. You can stack these cards on top of each other and move cards between piles in the tableau at will. As soon as you see an Ace of any suit, place it up into a foundation pile. Your goal is to go from Ace to King in each suit until there are no cards remaining.


It’s important to understand that, sometimes, Solitaire just takes a bit of good luck. Not every hand can be won. Even if you’re playing online and you have the help of an undo button, there are some games that can’t be conquered, no matter how many new cards you flip.

On top of this, there are some additional perks for playing online. From daily challenges to occasional special events and even the ability to change your backgrounds, playing online offers an added level of convenience.

As soon as you master the base game, you can move on to different, often more complicated variants of Solitaire. Don’t feel bad if you get hooked, though. It happens.