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How to Play Maria Solitaire

Maria Solitaire is a variation of Forty Thieves but with a smaller tableau, a larger stock pile, and cards sequenced by alternating colors.


The goal is to move all cards from the stock pile and tableau into 8 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 9 columns of 4 cards each, totaling 36 cards.

Stock pile: The remaining cards, or a total of 68 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 eight piles at the top of the game where cards are placed by suit in ascending order from Ace to King.

Maria Solitaire set up

Available moves

  • 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 card in the tableau column is playable, and it can either be placed on top of a bottom tableau card that is a different color and one rank higher. A 3 of Diamonds, for example, can be moved on top of a 4 of Spades.
  • Unlike Klondike, you cannot move a group of sequenced cards in the tableau.
  • The most recently drawn card from the stock pile can be moved to the foundation or the tableau.
  • If a tableau column is empty, any 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 8 foundations.


To win, follow these tips:

  • 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 into 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are similar games?

Josephine Solitaire is similar, except you can move sequenced cards as a group, making the game easier. Forty Thieves also has similar rules, except cards are built by suit.

What is the probability of winning Maria Solitaire?

The game is challenging with a low win rate. We looked at 426 random games played. Of those, 23 were won, or 5.40%.

What are other popular Solitaire games?

Be sure to check out these Solitaire games:


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