How to Set Up Solitaire

By Neal Taparia - 08/23/2023

To play solitaire, first you need to shuffle  a 52-card deck. Once done, you’ll begin to set up a tableau by distributing the cards into seven columns face down, with each new card being placed into the next column. The tableau increases in size from left to right, with the left-most pile containing one card and the right-most pile containing seven. This means 28 cards will be distributed in the tableau with the:

  • First column having 1 card.
  • Second column having 2 cards.
  • Third column having 3 cards.
  • Fourth column have 4 cards.
  • Fifth column have 5 cards.
  • Sixth column having 6 cards.
  • Seventh column having 7 cards.

As you deal the cards, the first 7 cards will form the 7 columns of the tableau. The eighth card distributed will go into the second column, since the first column has its 1 and only card, and the ninth card will go into the third column. You continue this process until 28 cards are dealt and the last column has 7 cards in it. 

The tableau should now be cascaded downwards such that they form a reverse staircase from the left towards the right. Now, flip over the last card in each column so it's face up.

Solitaire set up

All leftover cards not dealt in the tableau become your stockpile, where you'd turn over the first card and begin playing the game. Now your game of solitaire is set up, and you're ready to play!

If you don't know the rules, view our guide on how to play solitaire, or learn by starting a game of free online solitaire. 

About the author

Neal Taparia is one of the founders of Solitaired. He loves playing card games and is interested in understanding how games can help with brain training and skills building. In addition to card games, he also likes fishing and mountain biking.