How To Play Simple Pairs

OBJECTIVE OF SIMPLE PAIRS: The objective of Simple Pairs is to remove cards of equal rank in pairs till you have emptied the deck.


MATERIALS: One standard deck of cards, and a flat surface. 

TYPE OF GAME: Solitaire Game



Simple Pairs is a solitaire card game where you win by removing pairs of cards with the same rank until all cards have been removed. It’s also known as Jamestown. 

Simple Pairs has a high chance of failure and relies heavily on luck. If you are looking for a more difficult game though, this is the game for you.


The setup for Simple Pairs requires a large space. Like most solitaire games the whole deck of cards will be used, and the layout of the cards is very important to the gameplay.

The deck is shuffled and then you may start laying out the tableau. There will be nine piles in total. The setup starts with nine face-up cards on the table, these are the cards you can play from. The remaining deck is set aside for the stockpile. There will also be a foundation pile where all pairs of cards will be placed when removed from the game. 

[show a setup of the space with the tableau holding nine faceup cards, a stockpile, and a foundation pile holding a removed pair of cards]

In Simple Pairs there is not any building of cards nor can you change out cards from the stockpile. Once cards are removed from the tableau then the stockpile is used to refill empty spaces. If there are no cards in the stock the spaces are then not refilled. 


Simple Pairs is played by removing pairs of cards of the rank, even if they have different sets, these do not matter only the ranking of the card. These cards are removed from the tableau and placed in the foundation pile. Then spaces are refilled by the stock. This is the basis of the whole game. These steps are repeated until you can no longer make any valid plays and have lost, or you have removed all the cards into the foundations, in which case you have won.

Equal ranking is determined by having the same value. Meaning each card from Ace to King holds its own value and can only be matched with cards of the same value. Following is a full list of ranked cards in a standard deck: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King.

 [can show these if you would like just to reiterate that are all suppose to be of the same rank but not the same set. AKA  pairs of Ace through King with no care for spades, hearts, diamonds, or clubs.]


The game is won if you can remove all cards to the foundation pile. Any other outcome is a loss. This game holds a very low win rate and is one of the few solitaire games the exact probability is known for. You have only about 24 percent chance of winning. 

Nakoa Davis