solitaire rules title

OBJECTIVE OF SOLITAIRE: The objective is to move all cards from the tableau and from the stockpile into four build piles.


NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 card deck 

RANK OF CARDS:  K,Q,J,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,A 

TYPE OF GAME: Solitaire (Patience) games 

AUDIENCE: Teens and Adults


Solitaire is a card game for 1 person. The goal of the game is to get all the cards from the stock pile into the foundation piles.

There are several Solitaire variations like spider solitaire and Klondike solitaire. While the different Solitaire game rules may change, most follow the same objective.


Flip the first card atop the stockpile over so that it is face up on the table. Deal another six cards, this time face down, in line with the first card that was flipped over. This creates the seven piles of playing cards that are the column tableau necessary to play. From there deal one card face up on the remaining columns, one by one so that the first column consist of one card face up and the last column has six cards face down and one card face up. Use the image below for reference as to how the initial setup should look.

solitaire rules set up


There are two acceptable ways of dealing cards from the stockpile. You can flip cards from the stockpile either one at a time or three at a time. Dealing three at a time is the more common way to play.

So essentially your objective is to move cards around the board to create complete build piles. You create a build pile by layering cards of opposite color on top of each other in descending order. You are allowed to move around the top facing cards on the tableau as well as cards that are flipped from the deck. For example, in the image above the black nine of spades can be moved onto the red 10 of hearts to begin the consolidation process. If you move a top facing card onto another top facing card on the tableau you can then go back a flip over the underlying card from the column in which you moved from.


A build pile starts with an ace and ends with a king. Cards can be moved from the tableau to the build pile when there is no other card on top of them and they are next in order of hierarchy. For example, in the image above the ace of hearts can be moved up to start the build pile, the two of hearts can then be moved on top of it as it is next in the order of sequence. Notice that the ace leaves an empty space on the tableau, only a king can be moved onto an empty space such as this, and when moved, all the cards on top of it must be moved over as well.

You are only required to use cards from the stock when you run out of moves in your columns. If you choose to deal three cards at a time, also called the waste pile, you can only use whichever drawn card is on top and work your way down. If you are stuck even after dealing from the deck, you can deal yourself three more cards, replacing the previously dealt cards at the bottom of the deck in the same order. You must continue to only use the top most card and work your way down.


You have successfully won the game of solitaire when all cards have been removed from the tableau and successfully placed on the build piles.


Can you place a card in an empty foundation pile?

According to the Solitaire rules you can only place a King into an empty tableau space. Though some variations of the rules allow for you to use the empty spaces to hold fillers.

Do you draw 1 or 3 cards from the stock pile?

The original rules for Solitaire call for 3 cards to be drawn for the stock pile at a time. This creates the waste pile. However, there are several variations of the game that allow you to draw 1 cards or even further change the rules for drawing from the stock pile.

can you play solitaire with more than 1 person?

While the original game is meant only for 1 player, there are versions of Solitaire that allow for more than one player.

How do you win when you play solitaire?

To win Solitaire the player must place all the cards in ranking order in their build piles.

Additional Resources

Play free solitaire games online by visiting Solitaire Lodge. They have the best selection of quality solitaire games that you can play online for free.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 3.40 out of 5)

16 thoughts on “SOLITAIRE”

  1. Do you have rules for the what I am told is the most complex solitaire—Churchill solitaire which the former PM invented

    • Hi Stuart, we do not as of yet, but that is an excellent suggestion. Be on the lookout soon for posted rules soon! Thank You.

    • Hi Joe, you are allowed to play the revealed cards from the draw pile to either the build piles or the tableau, as long as you follow the restrictions of play.

  2. I was always told that you could only start a new row (in an empty space) with Kings. Is this a custom rule my family had implied or is it normal to see this enforced?

    • Hi Matt. Thank you for informing us about a missing element! You are correct, when you have emptied a column you may start a new one with a king.

  3. Are you allowed to bring cards down from the build pile, to the tableau? Understand they must be played in proper sequence.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

  4. Hi wondering if you can move a portion of a column from the tableau to another column in the tableau to expose a card to play on the build pile. Like move a 5 of hearts with a four of spades on it from, one column to a 6 of clubs on another column on the tableau to expose the 6 of spades so it can be played on the spades build pile?

    • Hi Mike, yes that is correct! As long as you are moving the cards to a column that follows the restriction of play (such as must be a rank higher and the opposite color) you may move any number of cards to expose those underneath. I hope this helps.

    • Hi Susan, in traditional Solitaire you always have the choice of moving a card. So you would be able to pick the best king to fill in the space for your needs. I hope this helps.

  5. When you are playing three card flip, and you get to the bottom of the pile, and there are only two cards left to flip over. Do you play with just the two? Or do you turn them over and start with the full pile and flip three over? We had somewhat of a disagreement between two players yesterday and we did not find anything about what the proper procedure would be.

    • Hi James, I think there is some confusion caused by the article above. When using the 3-card flip, there will only ever be three cards out at a time. if you choose to deal yourself a new set of three from the stock then the remaining cards from your last flip are placed in the same order as they were flipped on the bottom of the stockpile. The only time you would flip less than 3 cards is when your stockpile is nearly empty and you do not have more than 3 cards to flip. I hope this helps.

Leave a Comment