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Solitaire is a unique game suitable for playing alone or with friends. The only thing you need for solitaire is a 52-card deck or a smartphone with a free solitaire app. Clear rules and goals make solitaire an interesting puzzle for people of all ages, and a variety of winning strategies ensure an exciting experience every time. Read on to know the basic solitaire rules and clues and get other questions answered in detail. 

What is Solitaire?

In fact, solitaire is not a single game. Solitaire is the name of several games sharing a similar layout and gaming process. The most common version of solitaire is Klondike, also called classic solitaire. In the 1990s, solitaire was pre-installed on computers running on the Microsoft OS and therefore got widely spread and known.

People played solitaire even in the 18th century. However, solitaire was played with pegs instead of cards, and the initial rules could differ. Later, the influence of Tarot cards took place, the solitaire rules got more standardized, and, step by step, solitaire has become the puzzle we know today. Due to digital advancements, people can play solitaire 24/7 using diverse in-built and online applications and websites.

On the internet, you can find hundreds of solitaire types, but it is better to start with classic solitaire to grasp the rules. Let’s have a look at them below.

Solitaire Rules

The first necessary step is understanding the solitaire layout. Basically, it comprises four areas:

  • Tableau — The biggest area with rows made of 28 cards in total. All the main moves are made here.
  • Stock — It is the rest of the deck used when players run out of moves in the tableau.
  • Waste (talon) — It contains cards you revealed from stock but decided not to use at the moment.
  • Foundation — In the beginning, these are the four empty cells that must get completely filled with piles by suit.

The goal of solitaire games is to arrange the cards from the tableau and stock into four piles according to suits while following several solitaire rules:

  1. The foundation piles must be built in ascending order from aces to kings.
  2. Initially, only one card in every row is face-up.
  3. When making moves, you can only put a card to the next higher-ranking card of an opposite color.
  4. You can move either separate cards or the whole sequence if they meet the rule of an alternation.
  5. Once the card is moved, the face-down card that was beneath it should be revealed.
  6. To get more cards, you can use stock. Unused cards go to waste and can only be revealed during the next round.
  7. If a column gets empty, only a king can be placed there.

You can play solitaire of different kinds, but these elements are basic for the majority of solitaire types, and the solitaire rules do not differ dramatically. 

How Many Rows Are There in a Solitaire Game?

In typical solitaire games like Klondike solitaire, the tableau has 28 cards arranged into seven rows. The first row has seven cards, with only the first one being face-up. The next rows have a descending number of cards, from six to one, and only one card is face-up in each of them as well. So, finally, it looks like a triangle where the rows are descending and the columns are ascending in size.

How to Play a Double Solitaire Game?

Solitaire is a perfect option for playing alone. But you can play solitaire with a friend as well! To play double solitaire right and have fun, follow the next solitaire rules.

    • Get two decks of cards instead of one. Each of you will play with your own deck.
    • Arrange two solitaire layouts: you will have two tableaus, two stocks, and eight foundations, respectively.
    • Choose the playing option:
  • Moves. Flip a coin to know who starts the game. Then, the first person makes as many moves as possible. Once there are no available moves, the turn is passed to the second player. The winner is the one who completes the four foundations first.
  • Time. Just play in parallel and focus on who creates the four foundation piles first.
  • Scoring. Instead of the timing, take scores into consideration when choosing a winner. You can find the description of the general solitaire scoring system in the FAQs of this article.

Note that if one of you has an unwinnable solitaire layout, the second person becomes a winner automatically.

5 Tips for Winning a Solitaire Game

Even though not all solitaire games are winnable, you cannot know it in advance. Still, the majority of solitaire games can be won if you know some solitaire tips. Check some of the most important ones below.

Think Strategically

It is the main solitaire tip you should use when playing solitaire online. When making a move, think of the consequent steps. This skill will serve you well when you’ll have to choose between two similar moves and build longer sequences of cards.

Use the Tableau Cards First

Before turning to stock, have a careful look at the main solitaire layout. Remember that you can move not just single cards but sequences if they meet the ranking and alternate-color criteria. Check each column and each row for the possible moves. Open as many cards as you can before referring to stock.

Remove Aces and Twos Immediately

Higher-ranked cards may be used for building some kind of solitaire strategy and may not be removed immediately when revealed. On the contrary, aces and twos only create a mess. Once these cards are available, move them to the foundation area to speed up the game.

Use the Undo Button

There is no crime in using the undo button once or twice if you’ve noticed a better sequence of moves. You can notice it after knowing the next card from the stock, sometimes you just see a new direction. Also, note that when playing solitaire online, you can usually use automatic hints if you get stuck.

Make Each Move Meaningful

Even if playing solitaire online is your way to kill some time, there is no sense in moving cards without any purpose. Once you start thinking of each and every move, you get more strategic horizons, a better focus on the game, and enjoy the process more. Moreover, meaningless moves can break even the perfect winnable layout. Winning the solitaire game is simply more pleasant, isn’t it?


Questions that can be interesting for you.

How to play solitaire?

As you know, you can play Solitaire for free online or with a real deck. Both ways require your attention and keeping in mind some basics. If you are playing solitaire on a PC or smartphone, the game flow is very simple to understand. You are going to see an arranged initial solitaire layout and simply start revealing cards, using stock, and building foundations. Remember these basic solitaire rules:

  • Foundations should be started with aces and completed with kings.
  • The cards can be placed upon a higher-ranking opposite-color card. For example, the six of hearts can be placed on the seven of spades.
  • You can move sequences.
  • You can place a card back from the foundations to the tableau if it helps to reveal more cards.
  • The empty column always starts with a king.
  • In Klondike solitaire turn 1 version, you reveal one card at a time. In Klondike solitaire turn 3, you open three cards at a time and can only use them one by one, not any one by choice.

The released cards will be revealed automatically. Moreover, usually solitaire applications give you hints and explain the game flow in the beginning.

How to win a solitaire game?

In fact, you just have to follow the solitaire rules. If the solitaire layout is winnable, you will do it for sure. Speaking of more general requirements, to win a solitaire game, you have to improve your strategic thinking, decision-making, and forecasting skills. You have to make decisions carefully and think a few moves ahead to create winning sequences of moves that allow you to reveal more cards and use them wisely. However, also keep in mind that due to some mathematical laws and statistics, not all solitaire games are winnable regardless of the strategy you choose.

How does scoring work in a solitaire game?

When you play solitaire free online, you may note a small bar with scores. Here is how solitaire score is usually calculated:

  • Once you move a card from the talon to the tableau, you get 5 points.
  • Moving a card to the foundation area either from the tableau or from the talon gives 10 points.
  • Opening a new card in the tableau comes with 5 points.

However, some moves can deduct points, such as:

  • Finishing the stockpile (or starting to use it again, depending on the app’s rules) deducts 100 points.
  • Taking a card back to the tableau from foundations takes 15 points from your scores.

Sometimes, these solitaire scoring rules vary depending on the maker of a solitaire online app. Also, there may be additional rules, for example, related to timing.

What are the types of solitaire games?

Types of solitaire games:


Most often, it is the solitaire type people mean when they speak about solitaire. Klondike solitaire has been played across the globe for centuries, and all the solitaire rules and tips explained above are related to it. It is the best solitaire version to start with because it is neither the most challenging nor the simplest. Klondike solitaire also has several slight variations in rules, starting from the turn one and turn three modifications to having limited chances to go through the stockpile.


The Freecell solitaire game is a simpler version of the previous one. Firstly, it has all the 52 cards in the tableau face-up from the very beginning, which gives a lot of room for creating strategies and planning way ahead. Secondly, it provides four empty cells placed in the top left corner instead of the stock and waste piles. You can use these free cells to put some cards aside until you can use them successfully. Finally, unlike Klondike solitaire where only a king can take the cell of an empty column, in Freecell solitaire, any single card can be placed there. Thanks to such simplified rules and a bigger variety of moves due to the additional cells, Freecell solitaire has a higher percentage of winnable games.


The name Pyramid comes from the form of the layout. To arrange it, players place one card at the top of the pyramid, then two cards overlap it, and such ascending rows continue till the foundation row of seven cards. Then, you can take two cards at a time if their sum is 13 (it also means that kings are moved solely). Only released cards in the tableau and available cards from stock can be used. You win when all the cards are placed in the foundation pile.

Spider Solitaire

Spider Solitaire is a popular card game that is a variant of the classic Solitaire game. It is known for its higher level of complexity and strategic depth. The game is played with two decks of cards (104 cards in total) and is unique in its use of no foundation piles. The objective is to remove all the cards from the table by building them into ordered sequences. There are three main variations of Spider Solitaire, differentiated by the number of suits used: 1 suit - easy version of the game, 2 suits - Intermediate version of the game, and 4 suits - advanced version of the Spider Solitaire.

Play Numbered Games

On our website, you can play free solitaire online without any limits. Check for Klondike, Freecell, Golf, and other solitaire types we discussed above and have an amazing experience. You can try different strategies, explore the rules of unique variations, try your hand at winning with better scoring, and more.

10 Most Effective Solitaire Strategies

These solitaire tips are most used when you play Klondike solitaire. However, some of them can be applied in all solitaire games. Read on to get an idea of how to increase your chances to win and have fun!

Check the Rules

Even though most solitaire rules remain the same from one app to another, there might be variations. Read the instructions first or try a couple of games slowly and carefully just to explore the available options. Once you get all the details and see the possible approaches and limitations, the solitaire game will flow more smoothly.

Open the First Stockpile Card Immediately

This tip does not contradict the rule of checking the tableau cards first. There is little benefit in using the stockpile cards immediately but knowing the available cards while working on the tableau is an advantage. You can think of more expanded strategies and try to clear more cards.

Get a Card Back to the Tableau from the Foundation

If you aim for the perfect score in your solitaire game, this tip is not for you. But if your goal is to create beautiful strategies, you can find it useful. When you see that the card in the foundation can help you build a long sequence fast, which will open a number of new cards, use it with no doubts.

Play Bigger Columns First

Whenever you have a choice of taking, for example, a red five from the second or the seventh column, it is recommended to choose the latter one. It will help you reveal new cards without potentially emptying a column. If you clear the column without having a king, it decreases your room for playing.

Create Foundation Piles Evenly

Remember the rule of alternating colors? That is the reason for building foundations evenly. If you finish one of the red or black suits too fast, you’ll lack options for making the sequences of the opposite colors in the tableau. Try to plan your moves in a way that allows you to clear the suits to a similar extent throughout the solitaire game.

Avoid Empty Cells

It's important to remember that the goal of the solitaire game is to build foundation piles, not to clear the columns. If you have an empty cell but don’t have any available King, you shorten the opportunities for making moves because you lack one or more of the existing seven columns.

Pay Attention to the King Card’s Color

This is another essential tip related to kings. When you have an empty cell and two kings of different colors, take a moment to think of the next moves. Review the other available cards and think about how you can arrange them using either a black or a red king as the basis for the new sequence. The difference might be huge!

Keep Good Cards in the Tableau

There is no strict rule of moving any available and suitable card to the foundation immediately (at least, in most standard games like Klondike solitaire). You can keep a card in the tableau if you know it helps you create long sequences and open more cards. The only cards to be removed immediately are aces and twos.

Mind the Suits

While the alternating guideline requires you to pay attention to colors, we also encourage you to mind the suits. It is easier to complete the foundations if your sequence is mostly built of two suits, not all four. You can try different options and decide for yourself whether it makes your solitaire game flow faster.

Be Patient

In some countries, solitaire is called ‘patience’. No wonder! You have to be patient in making decisions about the next moves, choosing to keep a card or remove it, going further through the stockpile or exploring the tableau. This game is a great chance to improve your skills of balancing quick choices and patience.

Benefits of Playing Solitaire

Solitaire has not lost its popularity despite enormous changes in our lifestyle since the 18th century. What could be the reasons?

First, of course, it is all about its simplicity and clear systematic rules. Second, classic solitaire serves as a basis for dozens of other games, so the variety is impressive. And third, solitaire comes with advantages for your own emotional and cognitive skills. These are explained below.

  • Solitaire is perfect for spending time alone. Whether you should spend a long time commuting or waiting in line and you are tired of reading or listening to podcasts, playing solitaire is an ideal option. A few solitaire games help calm your mind and kill some time. 
  • …And it’s a perfect group activity! You can play double solitaire with friends or family, go for competition in terms of scoring or timing, and have fun. Discovering the rules and trying different versions of solitaire will definitely become a memorable leisure activity.
  • It helps distract you from your daily routine. The best ideas come to a rested mind. So, how to achieve such calmness? Solitaire appears to bring the needed balance. Repetitive actions like moving the cards help relax your mind while the necessity to make decisions fast keeps you tuned. Such concentration and stitching from routine activities refresh your brain and make it more creative and ready for new challenges.
  • It contributes to better problem-solving. Even such simple activities like creating strategies for Solitaire games help build new neural connections in the brain. With time, you become more focused, patient, and able to think several steps ahead in not only games but in life situations as well.

Interesting Solitaire Statistics

  • About 80% of solitaire games can be won. 
  • In Freecell solitaire, the winning percentage increases to up to 99% due to a simplified layout and rules.
  • The highest score in Klondike solitaire, including all the possible bonuses, is 24113.
  • 45 is the average number of moves needed to complete a solitaire game.