How to Win Solitaire

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How to Win Solitaire

Whether it’s from a deck of cards or played through a computer game, solitaire is a nice way to pass the time. Solitaire can be played for fun, or can also serve the useful purpose of arranging a deck into the cards’ proper suits and colors. Many people can get around racking up winning streaks in solitaire, but some people find the game challenging and even frustrating at times. A game you play by yourself doesn’t have to be one that forces you to your wit’s end. Here are some ways that you can be a winner at solitaire.

The Goal of Solitaire

Solitaire, also called “patience” or “Klondike,” is a card game played by one person. The game uses a standard deck of 52 cards, without Jokers. Here are the basic rules of the game:

  • The deck is shuffled, and 28 cards are taken out of the stack.
  • The 28 cards are distributed into seven piles, called the tableau. The first pile contains one upturned card, the second pile contains one upturned card and one face-down card, the third pile contains one upturned card and two face-down cards. The sequence is followed until the seventh pile, where there is one upturned card and six face-down cards.
  • Cards are built down in the tableau in alternating colors, from King to Ace. The King may be moved to an empty pile in the tableau. The remainder of the deck is dealt by ones or threes into the tableau.
  • When one of the face-down cards are freed up, the card is upturned. You can then opt to build down this tableau, or move this card to a valid pile.
  • The goal of solitaire is to build up the deck through four foundation piles in suits, from Ace to King.

The odds of losing solitaire are fairly low. Statistically, 0.025% of solitaire games cannot be played, and you stand an 82%-92% chance of winning the game.

Keep Stacks Even

It becomes difficult to win solitaire if you keep on building down the deck on just one of the piles. The best way to free up as much of the face-down cards as possible is to keep the tableau stacks as even as possible. Try to distribute the cards evenly along the foundation, the tableau, and the deck. A key point to winning solitaire is to move cards from the tableau piles to the foundation piles as soon as the move is valid.

Sometimes you may need to move one or more cards from the foundation piles to the tableau piles to keep a card from the deck in play. When doing this, make sure that you’ll not end up building up the tableau so much to the point that you can no longer put the card back into the foundation within a few moves.

Think Over Your Moves

While solitaire can be played fast, it is best played taking your time. Most of the time, all it takes is one wrong move to completely mess up the foundation piles and the tableau piles. Carefully consider all the possibilities, options, and consequences that you have when you have a card to place on either the foundation or the tableau piles. Sometimes it helps to keep a valid card on the deck just in case you need it for another tableau. Carefully consider your options before moving a King to an empty tableau pile, because you may end up being unable to build down a new tableau or build up foundations.

Draw One Card Instead of Three

Drawing three cards is not a hard-and-fast rule of solitaire. Dealing one card at a time from the deck is acceptable in solitaire, and makes it easier for you to distribute cards along the tableau. By drawing one card at a time from the deck instead of three, you also increase your chances of winning. The one-card dealing option is perfect for beginners, or for people who just want to enjoy a leisurely game. If you want a more competitive and challenging game of solitaire, stick with drawing three cards at a time.


Sometimes you may be stumped with the game, but you choose not to start over. One way to break out of the rut is to reshuffle the cards from the deck. That way, you may be able to stimulate your brain into thinking that you still have other options for the game at hand. Reshuffle every now and then to trick your brain into thinking that you still have options. When there are no more valid moves available no matter how many times you reshuffle, you need to start the game over.

It may be easy to win solitaire, but that doesn’t mean you can’t lose. With these tips to help you win solitaire, you’re sure to be a winner even in a game that you play alone.



  1. Joe Sharp said,

    on September 19th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Make a priority of uncovering the tall stacks to the right side of the table. That’s where most of the cards are. I can win about 1 game out of 5. joeinorange2 @