Since Solitaire is a very broad term, for the sake of this explanation of the game we will look at the most popular version of the game, which many people simply know as Solitaire: Klondike Solitaire.

Klondike Solitaire

Klondike Solitaire is probably the most popular card game played on computers as it comes built in to most operating systems and is a single-player game. There are many variations to Solitaire, but the most popular by far is Klondike Solitaire which most people just call solitaire.

How to Play Solitaire

If for you don’t have solitaire installed on your computer or want to play with a deck of cards follow these rules on how to play the game.

First, take a 52-card deck of playing cards and shuffle them. Then deal one card face up followed by 6 cards face down to the right of the face up card. Repeat this process on the downturned cards until you have get to the final row which should have 6 downturned cards and one face up (see the picture below for a reference).

The goal is to build 4 decks above these cards with cards in order from Ace to King based on suit (the blank boxes in the top right also known as the foundations). You can build your original piles down (also known as the tableau) by alternating colors (for example a black 8 can be put on a red 9). You can move an entire row of cards onto a higher alternating color (for example if you had one pile with 3s 4d 5c 6d you could move this pile onto any black 7). Any empty spaces in your initial 7 piles can have a King moved to fill the spot and build a new pile.

In the top left corner you place the remaining deck of cards which you will go through in an attempt to build your 4 decks. There are several ways to go through the rest of the cards moving them to the waste (depending on how you want to play the game). You can:
- Turn 3 cards in order (face up into a new waste pile) and play the cards in order allowing 3 or more passes through the deck until you can not play any more cards
- Turning three cards at once, reversing the order of each group of three as the cards are dealt.
- Turning 1 card at a time passing through the deck only once
- Turning 1 card at a time for an unlimited number of passes

Odds of Winning

For a standard game of Klondike with 3-card draws an unlimited number of times, the odds of winning are between 82-91.5%. The number of unplayable games is 0.025% and the number of unsolvable games is between 8-18%.

Solitaire Scoring

Standard Scoring in the Windows Solitaire game is determined as follows:
Move Points
Waste to Tableau = 5 Points
Waste to Foundation = 10 Points
Tableau to Foundation = 10 Points
Turn over Tableau card = 5 Points
Foundation to Tableau = -15 Points