How to Set Up Solitaire

Most card games require a large group of people to enjoy, but Solitaire is designed for solo players. The game is a great way to pass the time and can provide hours of entertainment. Once you know the board layout and rules, it takes less than a minute to set up and can be assembled almost anywhere.


[Edit]Dealing Your Cards

  1. Shuffle the deck. To play Solitaire, you will need a traditional 52-card pack of standard playing cards. Open your pack and discard the instruction and Joker cards. Before you start dealing, shuffle the cards a couple of times to make sure that the deck is all mixed up.
    Set Up Solitaire Step 1 Version 5.jpg
  2. Deal seven cards in a row. Deal the first card and place it face up on your left-hand side. Then, deal six more cards face-down in a row to the right of this card so that each card has its own spot.
    Set Up Solitaire Step 2 Version 6.jpg
    • When you are finished, you should have seven cards total. The first one on the left should be facing up and the other six should be facing down.
    • The cards that you are dealing are called your “Tableau.” These are the main cards that you will use to play solitaire.[1] When you are finished dealing all of the cards, your Tableau will look similar to an upside down staircase.
  3. Skip the first card and then deal six cards. Next, you will need to deal six more cards onto the stacks. Place the first card face up on the second stack of cards from the left. Then, deal one card face down card onto each of the stacks moving to the right.[2]
    Set Up Solitaire Step 3 Version 6.jpg
  4. Count over to the third card and then deal five cards. Starting with the third stack over from the left, deal one card face up. Then, deal four more cards facing down on each of the stacks to the right of this stack.[3]
    Set Up Solitaire Step 4 Version 5.jpg
  5. Deal four cards starting with the fourth stack. Starting with the fourth stack over from the left, deal one card face up onto this stack and then deal three cards facing down. Place one card onto each of the stacks to the right of this stack.[4]
    Set Up Solitaire Step 5 Version 6.jpg
  6. Skip the first four cards and deal three. Count over to the fifth card from the left in your row of seven card stacks. Deal one card facing up on this stack and then deal one card facing down onto each of the two stacks to the right.[5]
    Set Up Solitaire Step 6 Version 5.jpg
  7. Count over to the sixth card and then deal two. Next, count over to the sixth stack from the left and deal one card facing up onto this stack. Then, deal one card facing down onto the stack to the right of this stack. This stack should be the last one in your row of seven.[6]
    Set Up Solitaire Step 7 Version 5.jpg
  8. Deal one last card face up. There should only be one stack left that does not have a face up card on it. This stack should be all the way on the right of your Tableau. Deal one card onto this stack facing up. Now this stack should have six cards facing down and one on top that is facing up.[7]
    Set Up Solitaire Step 8 Version 5.jpg
    • After you have dealt this last card, your Tableau is complete! Dealing the Tableau is the hardest part of setting up solitaire, so the next part will be easy.

[Edit]Placing the Rest of the Cards

  1. Place the remaining cards face down. After you have finished setting up your stacks, you can place the cards that you have left just above the Tableau on the left-hand side. This will be your “Stock” or “Hand” pile. You will draw cards from this pile as you play the game.[8]
    Set Up Solitaire Step 9 Version 4.jpg
    • If you want to be extra sure that the cards are shuffled, then you can shuffle them again before placing your Stock pile. This is optional though.
  2. Identify the space for your discard pile. The discard pile, also known as the “Talon” or “Waste” pile, is where you will discard any cards that you draw and cannot use.[9] At the start of your game, the Talon pile will be empty. Reserve a space next to your Stock pile to create your Talon pile during gameplay.
    Set Up Solitaire Step 10 Version 4.jpg
    • The Talon pile is usually just to the right of the Stock pile.
    • When you have exhausted your Talon pile, you can flip it over (face down) onto the Stock pile space again and continue playing.
  3. Leave room for your Foundation piles. The Foundation piles are where you will place the cards that you will clear from the Tableau stacks as you play solitaire. At the start of your game, your Foundation piles will be empty, so you just need to reserve some space above your Tableau. Leave enough room to place four stacks of cards as you play.[10]
    Set Up Solitaire Step 11 Version 4.jpg

[Edit]Playing a Game

  1. Learn the object. If you have never played solitaire before, then you will need to take a few minutes to learn how to play solitaire first. The object of a game of Solitaire is to transfer all of the cards in the deck and in the tableau stacks to your foundation piles.[11] You begin the game with nothing in these piles and arrange cards in these stacks going from lowest to highest and separated by suit.[12]
    Set Up Solitaire Step 12 Version 4.jpg
    • For example, one stack might begin with the ace of spades, so only the two of spades can be placed in this stack next. You cannot place the three of spades until the two of spades is in place.
  2. Draw and place cards. You will need to draw and place cards to play. Draw one card at a time and either play it on one of your stacks or discard it if you cannot use it. You can play a card on one of your tableau stacks if the color and sequence are right.[13] The colors need to alternate between red and black.
    Set Up Solitaire Step 13 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, if one stack has a five of hearts on it and you draw a four of clubs, then you could play the four of clubs on the five of hearts.
  3. Move and flip face-up cards. You can move cards between stacks to expose face-down cards. When a face down card is exposed, then you can flip it over and use it.
    Set Up Solitaire Step 14 Version 2.jpg
    • For example, if one stack has a five of hearts on it and another stack has a six of spades on it, then you could move the five of hearts to the six of spades stack. This will expose a face-down card that you can then flip over and either leave it in place or use it.
  4. Reuse the discard pile. When you have exhausted the discard pile, then you can flip over the stack and begin using those cards again. Continue to draw one card at a time and to flip the deck each time you go through it.
    Set Up Solitaire Step 15.jpg
  5. Transfer cards to the foundation piles to clear them. As you expose cards and draw cards, you will be able to transfer them to the foundation piles above your tableau stacks. Remember that each pile needs to begin with an ace card and there should only be one stack per suit.[14]
    Set Up Solitaire Step 16.jpg
    • When each stack contains an ace through king set, then you will have won the game!

[Edit]Learning Rules and Variations

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

  • Deck of cards (multiple decks for multi-player Solitaire)
  • Table or other playing surface

[Edit]Related wikiHows


[Edit]Quick Summary

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