The correct answer to whether aces are high in solitaire depends on the type of game you are playing. With that in mind, Aces are not high in most solitaire games, including popular options like Klondike, Spider, and Yukon solitaire.
Instead, the King is the highest-ranked card, while the Ace is the lowest-ranked card in nearly all versions of solitaire, from Freecell to Pyramid solitaire.
In the classic solitaire game, the card values are shown below, from the lowest to the highest ranked card:
- Ace (low card)
- King (high card)
The only exception is Aces High solitaire, in which Aces are high. It is a variant of Klondike solitaire. Nonetheless, Aces are not high in solitaire, of course, except in the case of Aces High.
In fact, an Ace is considered the high card in the family of discarding-style solitaire games called Aces High. It’s also known as Drivel, Idiot’s Delight, Firing Squad, Drive Patience, or Aces Up. As you can tell from these revealing names, the game is all about the Ace being the high card instead of Kings, as in classic solitaire.
The game’s setup consists of a discard pile and four tableau piles. Each tableau pile begins empty, and a deck of 52 playing cards should be in your hand, ready for dealing. To start play, you will deal 4 face-up cards onto each tableau pile.
If there are at least two cards of the same suit among the four, you should move all to the discard pile except the highest-ranked card. Of course, Aces are high cards.
The following cards are dealt out face up in a fanned manner so that you can see all. You should repeat the second step until there are no two cards of the same suit. If you have any empty space, you can move the top card from another pile into it. After that, check if there is any pair of cards of the same suit.
As with other solitaire games, the topmost card on each tableau pile is considered available for play.
The game’s goal is to remove all other cards to the discard pile and only be left with Aces neatly placed on each of the four tableau columns. The number of cards in your discard pile is your final score, the highest of which can be 48.
Playing the Aces High solitaire game involves four simple steps.
Aces High is a quick and straightforward solitaire game to understand and play. Minimal space usage is one of its most significant advantages. It only requires five places, one for the discard pile and four for the tableau piles. You can expect to win around one in every ten games of Aces High solitaire with a good strategy.
Aces High solitaire can go by various other names. It may be called:
- Ace of the Pile
- Aces High
- Aces Up
- Drivel Patience
- Firing Squad
- Idiot’s Delight
- Loser Solitaire
- Once in a Lifetime
- Rocket to the Top
Note that Aces High shares the name Aces Up with an unrelated variant of Klondike solitaire called Easthaven. It also shares the name Idiot’s Delight with King Albert and Perpetual, both of which are unrelated to Aces High, as well.
That being said, Aces High is a straightforward card game that uses a single deck of 52 cards. It’s a solo-player card game with simple rules and strategy.
- Find an ideal playing surface – As mentioned, space usage is one of the best things about playing Aces High. You only need a small playing surface. Any flat surface or table is ideal if you’re playing at home. If you are away, you can use any flat surface, from the top of a laptop to the back of a book.
- Shuffle the cards – The game uses a standard deck of 52 traditional playing cards. You can purchase a deck online or use any pack you already have. You can also play Aces High solitaire online or on your mobile.
- Deal the cards – Aces High solitaire layout has three main parts, the stockpile, the discard pile, and the tableau with four piles. Create the tableau by dealing four face-up cards, one to each tableau pile. The stock is made up of the remaining cards.
You must play through the 52-card deck via the steps below.
- Check for cards of the same suit – If at least two cards are of the same suit, remove all except the highest-ranked card. Do so for any two or more cards featuring the same suit.
For example, if you have a 3 of clubs, a 7 of clubs, an 8 of hearts, and a queen of clubs, move the lower cards, 3 and 7 of clubs, to the discard pile. Leave the queen of clubs, the highest-valued card of the suit, on the tableau.
Don’t forget the ranking of Aces High solitaire cards. In this card game, Aces are high, followed by K, Q, and J through to 2, in descending order.
All the cards removed from the tableau go to the discard pile. Repeat the card removal process until you see no more than two cards of the same suit.
- Deal new cards – Once there are no more pairs of suited cards, you should deal four additional cards to the tableau. One card goes facing up to each tableau pile on top of the existing one. Check for suited cards and then remove the lower-ranked ones.
- Fill empty space – If there are any empty spaces after removing cards, you may move the top card from another tableau pile into the empty space. Generally, it would be best always to transfer aces onto empty spots. After all, the aim of this solitaire game is to have only aces left on the tableau. Even so, only the top card can be moved to the empty pile.
- Repeat the process until you play through the deck – You must repeat the process – deal 4 cards, remove lower-suited cards, and fill empty spaces. Keep playing until you exhaust the stockpile and there are no more moves to make.
The game ends once the last 4 cards have been dealt from the stock and all the available moves have been made.
Check the tableau piles
Ideally, you want only the aces remaining on the tableau. But that is only possible 1 out of 10 times. As such, the scoring of the game is based on the number of cards in your discard pile.
- Automatic win results when you have only the four aces on the tableau piles
- The fewer cards left on the tableau, the higher your score. At the same time, the more discarded cards, the better.
- You have lost if there are no more available moves and there are cards of different suits stacked on top of each other.
Using a winning strategy
The good news is that Aces High is a simple solitaire game, so you don’t need a complicated strategy. Follow the basics of the game to increase your chances of winning. Always take advantage of empty spaces to reduce the chances of having unsuited cards on the same tableau stack.
If you spot lower cards stacked on top of suited higher cards, you should transfer the lower cards to the empty pile. For instance, if you see a queen of hearts stacked on top of a king of hearts, move the queen to an empty space. This will allow you to remove the queen of hearts, creating another empty pile.
If you see an ace, you should move it right away to an empty space. It is an excellent move because an ace ranks higher than all other cards.
Aces High is a simple, fast-paced solitaire game. Each game usually takes no more than ten minutes. If you lose any game, reshuffle the cards and play again. In this game, often practicing almost always makes you perfect.
Aces High Solitaire is so simple that there are very few variations. The most common variation rule is that only the four aces can be moved to empty spaces. This means you cannot move any other card, which makes the game-play much more difficult. You can expect to win only once every 270 tries when you play solitaire with this special rule.
The Aces High rule in solitaire was first noted in 1900 in Great Britain by Mary Whitmore Jones. The rules of the new solitaire game were first included in a game called Drivel Patience. Mary recognized that the name was not complimentary but fit the new solitaire variant.
The Aces High solitaire was described in 1940 under the moniker of Firing Squad by Wood & Goddard.
The author later changed the name of the new solitaire game to Aces Up while occasionally recognizing the earlier name of Drivel Patience. The only author that ever referred to Aces High as Idiot’s Delight is Spadaccini in 2005.
It depends on the solitaire game. An ace is low in most solitaire games, including:
- Klondike Solitaire
- Spider Solitaire
- Pyramid Solitaire
- FreeCell Solitaire
- Scorpion Solitaire
- Accordion Solitaire
- Canfield Solitaire
- Forty Thieves Solitaire
- Yukon Solitaire
- Baker’s Dozen Solitaire
In this traditional game, Aces are low, followed by Deuces, Threes, and Fours in ascending order ending with the Kings as the high cards.
Meanwhile, Ace is high in Aces High Solitaire, in which you must eliminate all other cards in the 52-card deck except the four aces.
Aces are worth a point in solitaire. Meanwhile, face cards (jacks, queens, and kings) are worth nothing (0 points), while number cards (2 through 10) have their face value. You should note that tens are considered to be wild, meaning they can be worth anything from 0 to 10. Remember, the lower the points in solitaire, the better.
Yes, it is possible to win Aces Up solitaire. With basic strategy, the probability of winning aces up solitaire is 1 in every ten games. The rule allowing only the aces to be moved to the empty spaces reduces your chances of winning to 1 every 270 games.
Aces can be high or low in solitaire, depending on the game you are playing. Aces are the lowest-ranked cards in the majority of solitaire games like Klondike or Spider Solitaire. However, if you are playing Aces Up solitaire, the aces are the high cards.
Not always. Ace ranks high only in Aces Up Solitaire. In other popular solitaire games like Yukon, FreeCell, or Baker’s Dozen, an ace is considered the low card.
The value of an Ace in solitaire is 1 point. On the other hand, the value of number cards is their face value. For instance, a 2 card has a value of 2 points, while a nine is worth 9 points.