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Play Solitaire Online

Solitaire has been a staple card game for hundreds of years. With its name deriving from ‘solitary’, solitaire is a wonderful pastime and is perhaps the most famous solo card game in existence.

If you don’t know how to play solitaire, or are just looking for a refresher, read on to find out about this beautifully simple game, and start playing solitaire online!

Solitaire: A Brief Guide

A Short History of Solitaire

Solitaire first came into the limelight in 1788 when it appeared in a book called Das Neue Königliche L’Hombre-Spiel (The New Royal Man’s Game). Solitaire may have originally been used in fortune telling and even today, some solitaire deviations are used for divination.

After being introduced in Germany, solitaire migrated across Europe to reach France. From there it soared in popularity, which is why many of the terms surrounding solitaire have their origins in the French language. For example, the waste pile is also known as the ‘talon’, meaning ‘heel’ in French. It’s even rumored that Napoleon spent his days in exile with a pack of cards, playing solitaire to pass the time.

In the 19th century, the solitaire buzz moved to Britain. This was thanks to Prince Albert, who became a huge fan of the game. In the 1870’s the first English language solitaire guides were released. Soon after this, other solitaire versions were released in the book Illustrated Games of Patience. The book was a huge hit, moving solitaire to even greater heights. Since then, solitaire has moved across the world, dominating other solo card games. Now, you can even play it online, with engineers designing versions of solitaire for the computer screen.

Thanks to solitaire’s popularity, free solitaire was one of the first card games that could be played on computers. Today, free solitaire games are played all over the world, both with physical decks and online versions.

The Objective of Solitaire

There are many solitaire games, but their essence is the same – to clear the playing area by arranging the cards into piles according to specific rules, which differ from one solitaire variation to another.

In standard solitaire, the main aim of the game is to organize all of the cards by moving them into piles separated by suits. Each suit is placed in order, from ace to king, and only once every card has been sorted, has the game been won.

If you like, as your skills develop, you can attempt to complete solitaire games as quickly as possible, comparing your time with friends and family.

Solitaire Play Time

Most games of solitaire last around ten minutes, but this can vary depending on strategy and how the deck is shuffled. On average, a player will make around 45 moves in a solitaire game and their time depends on how long each of these moves take them. 

Expert solitaire players can finish a solitaire game in minutes, with the solitaire world record sitting at just ten seconds, broken by Stephen Twigge in 1991. To illustrate just how quick this is, the average time at most solitaire competitions is three minutes.

Solitaire Rules

Learning any new card game can feel intimidating at first, but solitaire is beautifully simple and easy to get to grips with. With just a few basic rules, you’ll be playing online solitaire free in no time. 

Before laying out the rules of solitaire, it’s crucial to first understand the terminology used in the game. The playing area is known as the tableau and there is space for seven piles of cards. In addition, there are four foundation piles, one for each suit. The stockpile is made up of cards not on the table and the waste pile is made of cards from the stockpile that can’t yet be used in the game.

The vast majority of solitaire versions use a standard deck of 52 cards, minus the jokers. Your main goal is to move the cards from their starting position into order in the foundation piles. 

A List of Solitaire Rules

  1. To lay the cards out, begin by dealing seven piles. On the first pile, turn the first card face up, on the subsequent six, deal the card face down. Then, ignoring the first pile, deal the next card face up on the second pile. Then deal the rest face down. Repeat this process until all seven piles have been dealt, with a face up card on top of each.
  2. Now you have the seven tableau piles. The remaining cards will form your stockpile. 
  3. Cards can only be moved between piles if the card being moved is one rank lower than the card it is being placed upon. Additionally, the cards must be of opposite colors. For example, a red 4 can be moved on top of a black 5, and a black jack can be moved on top of a red queen.
  4. Whenever a card is moved from one pile to another, it frees the face down card below it. This card can be turned over and used in play. 
  5. When you have a run of cards on a pile, that run can be moved in its entirety, or partially, onto another pile, providing there is a numerically subsequent card of a different suit on top of that pile. For example a run of a red queen, a black jack, and a red 10, can be moved onto a black king on another pile.
  6. When building foundation piles, each must start with the ace of a suit and move up in ascending order until the final card, the king, is reached. The foundation piles are usually found above the rest of the piles on the table, and the ace of a suit can be moved into a foundation pile at any point. (If you’re unsure of the order of the cards, this is it from start to finish: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, jack, queen, king).
  7. Once one entire pile of cards has been exhausted, it leaves an empty space on the table. At any point in the game, a king of any suit can be placed into this empty space, and a new pile begun.
  8. You can use the cards in your stockpile if you have run out of moves on the tableau. If a stock card isn’t helpful, it’s moved to the waste pile. 
  9. To begin a solitaire game, deal three face-up cards at the same time from the stockpile. Only the card on top is available and can then be used, either to be moved onto the tableau or a foundation pile. After that, the card below it can be used. The unused cards go to the waste pile.
  10. When you have run out of moves, three more cards are turned from the stockpile. 
  11. Once all the stockpile cards have been moved into the waste pile, you can turn them over and start going through the stock again. 
  12. The game ends when all cards are in order and in foundation piles, or when you have run out of possible moves.

So those are the main rules of classic solitaire. There are several variations that you can explore, but this is the most common way of playing solitaire and these rules are used in most online versions.

How Do You Win Solitaire?

Solitaire is won when the cards are all in their foundation piles, sorted into suits and are in ascending order from ace to king. The only other way a solitaire game can end is if there are no more legal moves left, but this is counted as a loss.

Everyone wants to win the games they play, but it’s important to note that not every solitaire game can be won. In fact, only around 80% of games are winnable, and that’s if you play with the best strategies. Don’t let this put you off, however, as part of the challenge of solitaire is figuring out if a game can be won, or if it should be discarded.

How Many Rounds Are There in Solitaire?

There’s no limit to the rounds of solitaire you can play. You can simply play one round, ending once all the cards are in their foundation piles or when there are no more legal moves, or you can play for hours, dealing out cards again whenever a game is finished.

Is Solitaire Easy?

Solitaire is known for being a challenging game, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t easy to play. With its simple rules, solitaire takes just minutes to pick up, and while refining tactics can take some time, you’ll start winning solitaire games after just a few rounds. So pick up a deck or cards or go find a free solitaire no download website to play solitaire now.

Plus, there are plenty of benefits to playing solitaire. It can enhance your cognitive function, increase your levels of patience, and even improve your focus. So, the next time you feel bored and want a challenge, try playing solitaire! After you’ve mastered the rules and tactics, solitaire becomes an exciting and very enjoyable pastime.

Can You Play Solitaire with Friends?

While solitaire is a traditionally solo game, there are several ways to play solitaire with friends. Some online solitaire websites and apps offer opportunities to add your friends and compare your times and scores. You can even compare yourself against your friends on leaderboards to see who’s the top dog.

Perhaps the most common method to compete against friends is through timed solitaire. In timed solitaire, you must work as quickly as you can to fill your foundation piles and finish the game. Whoever manages to do this first, wins. If you get really into competitive solitaire, there are solitaire competitions, both local and national, at which you can showcase your skills and compete against the very best.

Other methods include turn-based solitaire, where you and a friend each have a deck of cards. After setting up the game, you take turns until someone puts all their cards in the foundation pile, or when neither of you can make any allowed moves. The first person to get all their cards sorted wins!

Solitaire Tips

So, now you know how to play solitaire, and that victory isn’t assured, how can you increase your chances of winning? There are plenty of tips and tricks to help you win solitaire and improve your gameplay. Below are some of the best. 

  • Move your aces into the foundation piles as soon as possible. If the aces remain on the table, they’ll only take up space and slow you down. By getting them into the foundation piles and out of play quickly, you’ll free up more space to move. 
  • Don’t be too desperate to create an empty space. While empty spaces can be extremely important in winning a round of solitaire, it’s important to only create them when you need to, and if you have a king ready to fill the space. Otherwise, you’ll be squashing your available cards onto fewer piles and decreasing your chances to move. Therefore, if you don’t have a king ready to go, there’s no rush to create a space. 
  • In the same vein, a common mistake new players can make is trying to move every card into a single pile on the table. For example, you might have the opportunity to move a stack of 4 cards onto one with 3, but think carefully. This move is only worth it if it frees up more cards. Often, it’s better to leave several small piles ready on the table. That way, you’ll get a better choice of sets and be able to work through the waste. 
  • Also, think carefully before putting a king in an empty space. If you have more than one option available, consider which king will help you turn over more cards in fewer moves. This way, you can play in a way that maximizes your chances of winning the game. 
  • When you can, try and move cards from the pile that has the highest number of hidden cards. This is because you’ll need far more opportunities to turn over all these cards, and it’s important to take advantage of any that crop up during the game. 
  • Move quickly. If you’re playing timed solitaire against friends or even at a competition, it’s vital to be comfortable with the cards and to be able to move them around at speed. The best way to get better at this is to practice!
  • Handle any face down cards first. Face down cards are what usually lead to a loss. They’re the most difficult to handle and offer very low mobility. So, if the option to free them ever crops up during a game, make sure you take it. 

If you make use of these tips, you’ll be sure to start winning solitaire games in no time. But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t win your first round. The joy of solitaire is that you can always improve your skills, and can never predict the outcome of a solitaire game before it starts.

Finally, don’t be afraid to change up your solitaire strategy. If you’re struggling to reveal down cards or build up foundation piles, you can try some more exotic moves, perhaps making a single pile or moving around the kings.


We hope that now you’re feeling ready to tackle some of your very first games of solitaire. Remember to follow the tips above and, most importantly, have fun stretching your mind! 

So, if you’re ready to play solitaire, pick up a deck of cards or find solitaire online and get started!