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What is Alaska Solitaire?
Alaska is a variation of Russian Solitaire, where you can build cards in either descending or ascending order.
How to Play
The goal of Alaska Solitaire is to move all 52 cards from the tableau into the 4 foundation piles, by suit, from Ace to King.
Setup and Play Area
Tableau piles: Alaska solitaire starts out with 7 tableau columns in the following arrangement: There is 1 card in the first column, 6 cards in the second column, 7 cards in the third column, and so on, with the last column having 11 cards.
The bottom card in the first column is face-up, as well the bottom 5 cards in the rest of the tableau columns.
Foundation piles: These are the four piles where you organize cards by suit in ascending order from Ace to King.
Rules and Available Moves
Alaska is similar to Yukon, but with a few important alterations to gameplay.
- Tableau cards are sequenced in ascending or descending order by suit. For example, a 9 of Diamonds can be placed on top of either an 8 or 10 of Diamonds.
- You can move a group of cards in the tableau regardless of their order, as long as the top card of that group is one rank higher or lower and of the same suit as the cards it’s being placed on. For example, a group of cards starting with a Jack of Spades can be moved on top of a 10 of Spades or Queen of Spades. This is the rule unique to Yukon variations.
- Only kings can be moved into empty tableau columns.
- Foundations are built by suit in ascending order, for example, starting with the Ace and ending with the King
- You win when all 52 cards are successfully moved to the foundation.
- Uncover as many face-down cards as quickly as possible. Because only face-up cards are in play, aim to uncover as many face-down cards as quickly as possible.
- Try to empty tableau piles quickly. The faster you can reveal the face-down cards, the faster you can strategize moving them to the foundations.
- Use aces as soon as they become available. Aces begin all foundation piles, so use these once they become available. This may also free up more cards.
- Empty tableau columns as soon as you can. Kings can be moved into empty columns, freeing up cards and allowing you to make more moves.
- Be patient. The game is highly analytical. Think about your moves, and don’t rush into any moves to increase your odds of winning.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the odds of winning Alaska solitaire?
Of 153,526 random games played, 7,799 were won, making the win rate 5.08%.
What’s the difference between Alaska and Russian Solitaire?
The main difference between the two is that in Alaska, you build cards in either ascending or descending order by suit. In Russian Solitaire, these must be built in descending order by suit.
Who invented Alaska Solitaire?
The game first appeared in Pretty Good Solitaire in 1996.
What are other popular Solitaire games?
Here are some fun games to try: