How to Set Up Solitaire

Hobbies and Games

Solitaire, also known as Klondike, is a popular card game played by millions around the world. Setting up the game correctly is crucial to ensure an enjoyable playing experience. In this article, we will guide you through the process of setting up Solitaire step by step, covering all the necessary subtopics to help you get started.

1. Gather the Required Materials

Before starting, make sure you have the following materials:

  • A standard deck of 52 playing cards
  • A flat surface to play on

2. Understand the Layout

Before you begin setting up the game, it’s important to understand the layout of Solitaire. The game consists of several areas:

  • Tableau: This is where the main gameplay takes place. It consists of seven columns of cards, with the first column containing one card, the second column containing two cards, and so on. The top card of each column is face up, while the rest are face down.
  • Foundations: There are four foundation piles, initially empty, located at the top right corner of the table. The goal is to build each foundation pile from Ace to King, according to suit.
  • Stock: The remaining cards, after dealing the tableau, are placed face down in the stock pile. This pile acts as a source of new cards during gameplay.
  • Waste: When playing Solitaire, you can flip cards from the stock pile to the waste pile. The top card of the waste pile is always face up.

3. Begin Setting Up the Tableau

To set up the tableau, follow these steps:

  1. Shuffle the deck of cards thoroughly.
  2. Deal the first column by placing one card face up on the table.
  3. Deal the second column by placing two cards, one face down and one face up, overlapping the first card.
  4. Repeat this process for the remaining columns, dealing one additional card and alternating between face down and face up.

4. Set Up the Foundations

The foundations are initially empty. To set them up, do the following:

  1. Place the Ace of each suit in a separate foundation pile.

5. Prepare the Stock and Waste Piles

After setting up the tableau and foundations, you need to prepare the stock and waste piles:

  1. Place the remaining cards face down in a pile to form the stock.
  2. Draw the top card from the stock and place it face up to create the waste pile.

6. Understand the Gameplay Mechanics

Now that you have set up Solitaire, it’s essential to understand the gameplay mechanics. The objective is to build all four foundation piles in ascending order, starting with Ace and ending with King. Here are some key points to remember:

  • You can move cards from the tableau to the foundations if they follow the ascending order and share the same suit.
  • Cards in the tableau can be moved between columns, as long as the move is in descending order and alternates colors (e.g., a black 7 can be placed on a red 8).
  • Only a King or a sequence starting with a King can be placed in an empty tableau column.
  • When the stock pile is empty, you can flip the waste pile to reset it and continue drawing cards.

7. Tips for a Better Solitaire Experience

To enhance your Solitaire experience, consider the following tips:

  • Plan ahead: Think strategically and consider the consequences of each move before making it.
  • Expose hidden cards: Whenever possible, uncover face-down cards in the tableau to access new moves.
  • Build long sequences: Creating long descending sequences in the tableau opens up more possibilities for moving cards.
  • Empty columns: Aim to create empty tableau columns as they provide space to temporarily store cards and facilitate rearrangements.


1. Can I play Solitaire with a different deck of cards?

Yes, you can play Solitaire with a different deck of cards as long as it consists of 52 cards and follows the same suits (hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades) and values (Ace to King).

2. Can I move multiple cards at once in Solitaire?

No, in traditional Solitaire, you can only move one card at a time, either to the foundations or within the tableau. However, there are variations of the game that allow for moving multiple cards under certain conditions.

3. Can I undo moves in Solitaire?

Most Solitaire implementations offer an undo feature, allowing you to revert moves and try different strategies. However, keep in mind that using the undo feature may affect your final score in some versions of the game.

4. Is there a time limit to complete Solitaire?

No, Solitaire doesn’t have a time limit. You can take as much time as you need to complete the game.

5. Can I play Solitaire on a computer or mobile device?

Yes, Solitaire is available on various computer and mobile platforms. It is a popular game that can be played offline or online through gaming applications and websites.

6. What happens if I can’t make any more moves?

If you cannot make any more moves in Solitaire, the game is considered blocked or “stalemated.” In this case, you can either start a new game or use the undo feature to review your previous moves and find a different strategy.

7. Can I win Solitaire every time?

No, winning Solitaire depends on the initial deal and the subsequent moves you make. Some deals may be unsolvable, while others require careful planning and strategy. The game’s difficulty also varies depending on the variations you choose to play.


Setting up Solitaire correctly is fundamental to enjoying the game. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure a proper setup and understand the basic gameplay mechanics. Remember to plan strategically and consider the tips provided to enhance your Solitaire experience. Whether you’re playing with physical cards or on a digital platform, Solitaire offers an engaging and challenging pastime for players of all ages.

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