How to Play Pyramid Solitaire
Pyramid Solitaire is a unique spin on traditional Klondike Solitaire, during which you clear the tableau by pairing cards that add up to 13 instead of sequencing cards. You use 1 deck of cards to set up the game by building a pyramid and stock pile from which you play.
Clear the tableau of cards by pairing exposed cards that equal 13. Aces are 1, number cards are their face value, and Jacks are 11, Queens are 12, and Kings are 13. A king needs no other cards paired with it to remove it from the pyramid.
Pyramid Solitaire Setup
Pyramid Solitaire has four basic piles or sets of piles that you use to play the game:
- The tableau: In the main area of gameplay that you’re trying to clear, you build a pyramid of face-up cards, beginning with one at the tip of the pyramid and ending with 7 cards at the base of the pyramid. All rows overlap the previous row slightly.
- The stock pile: The remaining cards, placed facedown, become the stock pile, which you turn over when you run out of moves on the tableau.
- The waste pile: Any cards you flip from the stock pile move face-up into the waste pile. The face-up card that is revealed can be used to make plays.
- The foundation pile: The foundation pile is where you place the pairs of cards or single Kings as you clear the tableau.
Pyramid Solitaire Rules
Keep these rules in mind while playing:
- Remove cards by pairing them to add up to 13—except kings. For example, a Jack paired with a 2 equals 13 because the Jack is worth 11 and equals 13 when added to 2. An 8 and 5 can be paired since they equal 13 when added together. Kings are the only cards that don’t need a pair because they are worth 13.
- You can only remove exposed cards. Only cards that are not overlapped by cards in the row below are eligible to be paired with other exposed cards. This means you can’t pick up an eight to pair with a five that is behind it—both must be exposed to be paired.
- You can only use the face-up card in the waste pile. You can turn over the top card of the stock pile to create a face-up waste pile. The face-up card in the waste pile is considered to be a playable exposed card.
- Use the stock pile only three times. Once all of the stock pile cards have been placed into the waste pile, you can click the waste pile so that the cards flip facedown back into the stock pile to be used again. You only get three passes through the stock pile.
- Foundation cards are removed from play. Any cards placed in the foundation pile cannot be replayed. Once you make 13, those cards are eliminated from gameplay.
- You cannot fill empty spaces. Unlike traditional Klondike Solitaire, the gaps left behind by removing cards can't be used to move or store other cards; you must play from the pyramid as is.
Strategies to Win Pyramid Solitaire
Increase your chances of winning by using the following strategies:
- Deal a card from the stock pile first. Flipping over the first card from the stock pile immediately gives you a face-up card in the waste pile. This can offer more options to match cards and remove them from the pyramid when you first begin gameplay.
- Check out the tableau before making a move. When you first start the game, quickly check out the tableau in conjunction with the card that is face-up in your waste pile. Consider possible moves and look for cards that might block moves.
- Don't wait to play Kings. Because a king is already valued at 13, play it immediately. Kings can block cards you need for making pairs if they are not removed as soon as possible.
- Prioritize matches in the tableau. You only need to clear the tableau, not the stock pile. So prioritize pairs in the tableau over using cards from the waste pile to make a pair.
- Remove the cards evenly. If possible, try to pair off cards evenly on both sides of the pyramid. If you don’t maintain balance, you may end up with cards trapped on one side that you need for pairs.
- Use the hint button. You can use our hint button to help you identify which cards to move or our undo button to try different moves.
How Difficult is Pyramid Solitaire?Pyramid is considered easy in difficulty. When looking at 355,570 random games played, 106,866 were won, or 30.05%, which makes it easier than most Solitaire games.
Recommended Solitaire Games
If you like games that require you to match and pair cards, you can find other fun and challenging choices with our collection of Solitaire games.
- Spider Solitaire (Two Suits): Stack the card in descending order from King to Ace to remove them from the tableau.
- Canfield Solitaire: This variation is similar to Klondike Solitaire, but each foundation pile starts with a unique card.
- Crescent Solitaire: You must fill 8 foundation piles, 4 that start with Aces and 4 that start with Kings.
- FreeCell: Use 4 open cells to place any playable card and help you solve the game.
- TriPeaks Solitaire: Clear cards from a tableau shaped as 3 triangles by matching cards that are one rank above or below the card in the waste pile.
- Golf Solitaire: Remove cards from the tableau by choosing a card valued either one rank above or below the last card removed.
- Yukon Solitaire: Move groups of cards that are not sequenced as you try to move cards to the foundation.