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What is Klondike Solitaire?
Klondike Solitaire refers to the classic version of solitaire. It is known as Patience as well. When you hear the game Solitaire, in general it refers to Klondike Solitaire.
How to Play
To win, you want to place all the cards in the four foundation piles. These are the four empty areas at the top of the game. Each pile represents a different suit and should be filled in order, starting with the Ace all the way to the King. You move cards into the foundation by dispensing cards from the stock pile and sequencing all cards in the tableau.
Available Moves and Play Area
- On the top left, you’ll see a stack of cards. This is called your stock pile. Each card is removed from the stockpile one at a time, or three at a time, depending on if you are playing Turn 1 or Turn 3. These cards can either go into the foundation or the tableau, the area where the cards are laid out in a staircase fashion below the stockpile.
- Cards can be moved directly to the foundation if they are in the correct order. For example, if you happen to have an Ace of Spades as the first card turned over from your stockpile, you can place that card on the foundation pile for Spades. If your second card is a 2 of Spades from the stock pile, you can then place that on top of the Ace of Spades in the foundation.
- Cards from the stock pile can also be placed in the tableau. The tableau is the group of cards with the seven columns, with the last card of each column turned facing up, and with each column having an additional card. Specifically, the first column has 1 card, the second column has 2 cards and so on until the seventh column, which has 7 cards.
- Stock pile cards can be placed below a card in the tableau if that card is of the opposite color and a number one rank higher. For example, let’s say there is an 8 of Hearts in the third column of the tableau. Either a 7 of Spades or Clubs from the stock pile can be placed on top of it.
- Similarly, cards in the tableau can be moved around to other columns where there is a card of the opposite color and an incrementally higher number. This is called “building.” For example, if the third column has a 3 of Clubs, it can be moved to another column beneath a card that is either a 4 of Hearts or 4 of Diamonds. Remember that in each of the tableau columns, the last card should always be flipped face-up. This means if there is a face down-card remaining after the 3 of Clubs is moved, it should be turned up, and it becomes another card you can build with.
- Groups of turned-up cards can also be moved to on the tableau. For instance, if the last column has a 7 of Clubs, 6 of Hearts, and 5 of Spades turned over in that order, that group of cards can be moved beneath an 8 of Diamonds and Hearts in another column. The goal of moving cards in the tableau is to reveal additional cards.
- As cards are revealed while you are “building” the tableau, you can move them into the foundation, helping you win the game. For example, if the last card in a tableau column is the 8 of Diamonds, and there is a 7 of Diamonds in the foundation pile for Diamonds, you can then move the 8 of Diamonds there. Doing this will reveal the next face-down card in the column if there are any cards left.
- Lastly, if you find that a tableau column is empty, you can move a King to that pile to help build the tableau and eventually move the cards to the correct foundation pile.
- Once you’re able to move all the cards from the tableau and the stockpile, you’ve won!
Once you’re able to move all the cards from the tableau and the stockpile, you’ve won!
For more information, check out our guide on how to play solitaire.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are other variations of the game?
If you like playing Klondike Solitaire, you should try Double Klondike Solitaire or Triple Klondike Solitaire. As the name suggests, these games and rules are just like Klondike, except they have more decks, a larger tableau, and more foundation piles. While that may seem intimidating, these games are considered easier because you have more cards to sequence and move around.
Is Turn 1 or Turn 3 easier? Which should I play?
Instead of drawing 1 card from the stock pile at a time, you can draw 3 cards at a time. This is called Turn 3 Klondike Solitaire. Of the three cards that have been turned, you can only play the first of the three. If you can play the first of the three cards, then you can play the second, and then you can place the third. This means that your options are more limited.
Turn 1, on the other hand, is an easier card game because you have the opportunity to place each subsequent card from the stock pile into the game. Your chances of winning a Turn 1 game is higher than Turn 3.
If you’re new to Solitaire, we recommend playing Turn 1. As you get better, try Turn 3 to make the game more challenging.
There are other variations of Turn 1 and Turn 3 too. You can limit the total number of passes you get by replaying the waste pile back into the stock pile. Some players limit it to one pass. This means that when you get to the last card in the stock pile, if you can’t win the game by then, the game is over.
All these variations are meant to create various degrees of difficulty, depending on how hard of a game you want to play. On Solitaired, we allow for unlimited passes of the stock pile, which is quite common, for both turn 1 and turn 3 games.
What are the odds of winning Klondike Solitaire?
Looking at 2,898,974 games, 955,805 were won, making the odds of winning 33.0%. For Turn 3, based on our data, the odds of winning are one third lower, or 11.1%.
What are other Solitaire games to try?If you like Klondike Solitaire, be sure to try: our entire list of free games.
Why is the game called Klondike Solitaire?
The early origins of Solitaire date back to Germany in the 1780s. We know the game developed in popularity in Germany, France, and later the rest of Europe around that time. During that time the game was called Patience, given that you need patience to win a game. Even to this day, Patience is still used to describe the game, especially in Europe.
The term Klondike traces its history back to the gold rush of the late 1890s. Gold was discovered in the northwest region of Canada, or the Klondike area of the Yukon territory, which triggered a rush of miners from the west coast of the United States.
It was a grueling journey where miners would have to carry over a year's worth of food supplies. To pass time, miners would play solitaire, and the term Klondike Solitaire, which pays homage to the territory, was coined.
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