It is important to mention that Solitaire comes in various variations with varying rules. As such, the rules of Solitaire often vary from game to game.
The ultimate objective of the Solitaire is to move all cards from the starting stacks to form complete foundation piles. The cards in each foundation must run from an Ace to the King in that ascending order.
If you can create all four foundations while adhering to all appropriate solitaire rules, you will become the winner of the game.
With that, here are the standard, traditional, or universal rules of Solitaire:
Ranking of Solitaire Card Rules
The rules of Solitaire specify that cards in the game must be ranked as follows: A (low), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K (high). This is the sequence in which you must pile the cards when creating foundations in Solitaire.
Solitaire Games’ Setup Rules
The first thing when learning solitaire is how to set up the game. This is perhaps the most challenging yet most important page of a solitaire game. The rules of most solitaire games dictate that seven piles of cards must be dealt to the tableau as follows:
- The first round of dealing must ensure the left-most and first card is laid on the surface face up, while the next six will be face-down cards.
- The second round of dealing comprises one face-up card followed by 5 face-down cards.
- The third round starts with one card dealt face-up on the 3rd column, followed by 4 cards dealt out face down.
- The dealing will go on like this until the 7 piles are created, and the last pile has only a single card dealt out face up. Essentially, the number of cards in each starting pile decreases from right to left.
- The 24 remaining cards after the dealing to the seven piles will be put in a separate deck face down. These cards are from the stockpile. You can then pick cards and introduce them to the game from the stock.
- There will be 4 pretend empty space right above the 7 piles of cards when playing solitaire. These empty slots are designed to move the cards around to effectively create the foundations.
Rules for the waste pile (Talon) when you play Solitaire games
A talon is a reservoir or pile where you place cards drawn from the stock pile but cannot fit anywhere on the tableau or foundation piles. The “rejected” cards are added to the waste pile (or talon, depending on solitaire variation) face up.
Rules for moving cards in Solitaire
Solitaire is virtually a game of skill, but rules must be followed at every stage of gameplay. You are only permitted to transfer cards from one pile to another following certain rules of the games. These include:
- You can move face-up cards between the 7 piles on the tableau. However, you must place the card under another card that’s of a different color and a rank higher. For instance, you can place a 5 of clubs below 6 of hearts.
- When moving cards from the 7 tableau piles to the foundations, your aim is to form a complete foundation pile of cards in ascending order and they must be of the same suit.
- The rules also allow you to move cards by revealing those from the stock piles one at a time. In some variants of Solitaire, you can reveal three stock cards at once with the third card being moved first before the next two.
- Any card drawn from the leftover or stock can be moved to the seven piles on the tableau. As with the previous cards, you must place it under a card of a different color and one rank higher. You can move the card from the stock/talon to the foundations whenever possible.
- If a card in the leftover pile cannot be moved to either the foundation or tableau piles, then the next card can be flipped and revealed on top of it.
- When all cards on the seven piles have been revealed or transferred, they must be flipped face down to create the decks once again.
Other rules of solitaire games
- As we’ve mentioned several times, when you move a card to the seven decks, it must be placed under a card with a different color and a higher rank only.
- The game is lost if you have no more moves from the seven decks
- The card on top of each foundation pile can be transferred back to one of the appropriate seven decks if it will open up the game
- If any of the 7 piles on the tableau runs out of cards and becomes empty, you can place only a K into the empty slot first. From there, you can add consecutive cards under the K if need be.
Yes, you can move only a King to an empty slot of the seven piles in Solitaire. You can then add other consecutive cards below the King. The cards must alternate in colors, too. For instance, you can place a Queen of Spades below a King of Hearts, followed by a Jack of either Clubs or Spade, and so on.
Yes, you can move cards from the foundation back to the tableau. However, only the top revealed card can be moved back one at a time.
Absolutely! You can move stacks of cards or multiple cards at once in most variants of Solitaire from one pile to another. The only rule is that the group of cards must keep the same order when moved.
For instance, you can only move a stack in which the cards are in the order from the highest rank to the lowest rank and in alternating colors. If one of the columns or piles in the tableau is empty, you can only start moving one card at a time, starting with a King.
Yes, you can move part of a pile or sequence in Solitaire, but they must be in the correct sequence. In Klondike Solitaire, only face-up cards in a complete or partial pile can be moved to another column following the order from the highest to the lowest. Any empty column can be replaced with a King or a sequential pile of cards with the King as the base card.
That is correct. You can remove only the top face-up cards from the foundation piles in Solitaire. For instance, if a foundation pile has been stacked up to a 6, then you can only move the card number 6 back to the tableau. It will fit below a 7 of a different color in any of the seven piles.
Does color matter in Solitaire?
Color matters in Solitaire. That is because you can only move a card to another tableau pile and place it under a higher rank card of a different color. So, for instance, if you move an 8 of Clubs (essentially a black card), you can only place it under a 9 of red color, meaning a nine of either Hearts or Diamonds.
How do you layout Solitaire?
The layout of solitaire setup is divided into four distinct sections:
- The tableau – This is the main play area and consists of 7 piles of cards with the top of each deck dealt out face up
- The foundations – This is where you build 4 piles, with each pile comprising cards of the same suit and sequenced from an Ace through the King.
- The stock – The leftover 24 cards after creating the seven piles go to the stock deck.
- The waste pile – This is also known as the talon, and is where all drawn cards that don’t fit anywhere into the tableau or the foundation piles are placed.
How many cards do you lay out for Solitaire?
28 cards are laid out for Solitaire in seven piles in a row.
How many times can you go through the deck in Solitaire?
There are no limits to the number of times you can go through the deck in Solitaire. The cards in the deck can be shuffled back as many times as required for the game.
What can you move to an open spot in Solitaire?
You can only move a King to an open spot in Solitaire, then you can layer consecutive cards below it.
What happens to the waste pile in Solitaire?
You can move any uncovered face-up card from the waste pile to any spot on the tableau piles or foundations.
What is a run in Solitaire?
A run in Solitaire are sequential cards arranged in consecutive order such that each card is one rank lower and of a different color from the card above it. For instance, a run can be seven red, six black, five red, four black, etc.
What is the aim of Solitaire?
The aim of Solitaire is to create four complete foundation piles.