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How to Play the Card Game Ali Baba Solitaire

Alibaba is a variation of Forty Thieves but, you can move groups of sequenced cards. It's called Ali Baba in reference to the book Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.


The goal is to move all cards from the stock pile and tableau into 4 foundation piles by suit in ascending order.

The Setup and Play Area

There are three main areas in the game:

Tableau piles: This is the area where cards are placed face-up in 10 columns of 4 cards each, totaling 40 cards.

Stock pile: The remaining cards, or a total of 12 cards, are face-down in the stock pile.

Waste pile: Cards drawn from the stock pile that cannot be placed in the tableau go to the waste pile.

Foundation piles: These are the 4 piles at the top of the game where cards are placed by suit in ascending order from Ace to King.

How to setup Ali Baba Solitaire


  • Only Aces can start in the foundation, and subsequent cards must be in ascending order by suit. For example, only a 2 of Hearts can be played on an Ace of Hearts
  • Only the last exposed card in the tableau column is playable, and it can either be moved to the foundation or on top of another card of the same suit, one rank higher. A 6 of Diamonds, for example, can be moved on top of a 7 of Diamonds
  • You can move multiple cards at a time in the tableau. To move a group of cards, they must be sequenced by suit, and the top card of that group must be placed on top of another exposed card of the same suit and one rank higher.
  • The top card of the waste pile can be moved to the foundation or the tableau.
  • If a tableau column is empty, any legally playable card can be placed there.
  • You are allowed a single pass through the stock pile.
  • You win when all cards are placed in the 4 foundations.

Ali Baba Strategy

  • Create empty columns to move cards and unblock others.
  • If you have an empty column, try to place cards of higher ranks to help you create longer sequences in that column. Also, late in the game, consider moving cards from the stock pile into empty columns to get them in the tableau.
  • Immediately move Aces to the foundation.
  • The first visible sequence may not always be the best one. Plan out your moves to remove as many cards as possible from the tableau.
  • Because foundations are built from Ace to King, try to make low cards available so you can move them out of the tableau into the foundation.

Similar Games

Forty Thieves, Thieves of Egypt, Sixty Thieves, and Josephine Solitaire are all similar variations.

How difficult is the game?

The game is medium in difficulty. We looked at 5,346 random games played. Of those, 1,502 were won, or 28.10%. This makes Ali Baba significantly easier than Forty Thieves, which has a win rate of 3.69%.

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