How to Set Up Solitaire

Solitaire is a game of cards that can be accessed on a computer or a phone. But long before the electronic versions of the game came, solitaire was played with cards. It is still possible to play solitaire with cards. You can still play the original old-school version of the game but you need to know how you can set it up.

How to Set Up Solitaire

Set Up Solitaire

Most card games require a large group of people to play them, but Solitaire is meant for one player. The game is a wonderful way to pass the time and it also gives you hours of entertainment. When you know the board layout and rules, it takes less than a minute to set up the game and one advantage is that it can be assembled almost anywhere.

Solitaire is one of the most pleasurable games for one individual. A total of about 150 Solitaire games have been devised and most of the games can be played on areas smaller than a card table. But others do require a larger playing area, and they are often played on the floor or on a bedspread.

What is Solitaire?

Solitaire is a game of cards played by one individual. Sometimes, it is called patience of card solitaire. Solitaire was not designed to be played with other people. It is a solo kind of game. With the solitaire game, you will have lots of fun. It does not require a lot of space; you just need a deck of cards and a play space.

The game is easy to play and most people get acquainted with solitaire on their first attempt. The rules of the game are a bit complicated, but as soon you figure out how to set them, it becomes easier with each play.

You do not need anyone to play with you, what you need is a pen or paper or anything else. To play, you just must break out the deck, shuffle the cards, and you are good to go.

How to set up for solitaire

If you want to set up for solitaire, you will need to get familiar with some key terms of the game. There are four different kinds of piles in the game. Below are the terms.


This is referred to as the cards left after you have already dealt some to the Tableau.


Tableau is the main playing area that consists of seven rows of cards.

Waste Pile

A pile holds cards that cannot be used in the game. They are laid face up in the waste pile.


The foundations are four piles of 4 different suits that are required by solitaire to run from ace to king, and each pile has alternate colours. They are hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs.

When the game is starting, the foundations and waste pile do not have any cards.

How to Set Up Solitaire Game

This section of this article will guide you through how you can set up the solitaire game. You are on the verge of becoming an expert at solitaire once you know how to set it up.

  • Prepare the game
  • Shuffle the cards
  • Distribute seven cards in a row facing down
  • Skip the first card and distribute the other six cards with the first one facing up
  • Distributed five cards but start with the third card from the left
  • Distribute four cards starting with the fourth stack from the Left.
  • Set the remaining deck of cards aside facing down
  • Create a room for the discard pile
  • Leave some space for the foundation piles

Prepare the Game

To prepare for the game, you need a small and stable playing ground like a table and a standard deck of 52 playing cards.

Shuffle the Cards

When you have prepared the game, take the 52-pack of cards, remove the jokers, and shuffle the cards. This will ensure that the deck is well-mixed up.

Distribute Seven Cards in a Row Faced Down

Dealing, sharing, or distributing the cards is the foundation of setting up the game. Out of the seven cards that you will share, only the first one should face up. As you share out the cards, ensure that there is a good amount is space in between so that every pile will get its spot.

Note that the cards you will be sharing are referred to as Tableau. These are the cards; you will use to play the game. When the game is over, the tableau will form an upside-down staircase of cards facing up.

Skip the First Card and Distribute the Other Six Cards with the First One Facing Up

The first card you distributed was seven in number. But this time, you will skip the first card and share only six cards. The first card you will be sharing in this round will face up while the rest will face down.

Distributed Five Cards but Start with the Third Card from the Left

On the third stack of cards from the left, put a card facing up, and on the other put four stacks of cards facing down.

Distribute Four Cards Starting with the Fourth Stack from the Left

Put a card facing up on the 4th card from your left, and share three cards with the rest of the stacks on the right facing down. You should have noticed the structure of how solitaire cards are dealt.

Follow this pattern till you reach the last card. Repeat this step for the 5th and 6th cards. And when you finally reach the last card, deal it when the card is facing up.

After sharing all the cards, you should be left with one stack that does not have a card facing up. This stack should be fixed on the far right of the stack.

On that stack, place the final card on it and it should be placed facing up. The above steps are usually the trickiest part of setting up a solitaire. And if you get it right, the next part will be very easy for you.

Set the Remaining Deck of Card Aside Facing Down

When you are through sharing the cards with Tableau, you will be left with a set of cards in your hands. These are the cards you will use as your stock and they should be placed on the left side of the Tableau.

When you start playing the game, you will be drawing cards from that stack. Some people shuffle their stock before beginning the game. But it is not compulsory.

Create a Room for the Discard Pile

When playing the game, there will be some cards you will draw that you will not be needing. You will have to place these cards on the discard pile which is also known as the Waste pile.

When the game officially kicks off, the discard pile is always empty. So, when you are setting up the game, be keen to leave some space for your Waste Pile. This pile can be turned over during the game when you exhaust your cards.

Leave Some Space for the Foundation Piles

The foundation piles are located on the right side of your discard pile. These piles are where you would place the cards that have been cleared from the Tableau stack during the gameplay.

Just like the discard pile, the foundation pile is also empty when the game starts. Still, the foundation piles should be able to accommodate 4 stacks of cards.

How to Play Solitaire

After setting up the solitaire, the next option will be to play the game. Scroll down the pages to learn how to play solitaire. The solitaire game uses a full deck of 52 cards. The timeframe of the game is dependent on how long the player takes to make each move.

But the game normally takes about 5-15 minutes. This game most time depends on the luck of the order you draw your cards, so it is not possible to win every game. Sometimes, you will become stuck with no more moves to play and you will then need to forfeit or reshuffle the game.

If you have been playing solitaire online, you might have noticed that playing solitaire with cards takes a bit longer because you must physically move and flip the cards yourself, rather than just clicking on a screen.

Also, you may have observed that it is harder to win solitaire when playing with cards. This is because computer-generated solitaire games are often designed to increase the chances of the player winning, mostly when playing easier levels. The probability of winning solitaire with a randomly grouped deck of cards is about 1/30.

Steps on How to Play Solitaire

The objective of the solitaire is to build up each of the four foundations, in proper suit and sequence from ace through to king (Ace-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-Jack-Queen-King). If you can achieve that, you win the game.

To start solitaire, you will have to view the faceup cards to see if you can make any moves. Remember, every foundation must begin with an ace, so if you have any aces showing, you must move them up to the foundation spots.

You can also make other moves by moving the cards from one tableau column to another if they meet the following rules:

  • Cards in a column must descend in value from king-queen-jack-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-ace
  • Cards must rotate in color between black and red
  • Only a king can be moved to a vacant tableau column

If you want to move a card to a different column, the first card must be opposite in colour and one less in rank than the card it is being moved to. For instance, you can move a red 9 to a black 10, but you cannot move a red 9 to a red 10. Also, you cannot move a 10 to a 9 (of any colour) because the cards must descend in value.

More tips on how to play

When you have unblocked a facedown card by moving the faceup card(s) to another column, you must flip that facedown card over. Each column needs to have at least one faceup card unless it’s an empty column. You can make as many moves as you can and when you are out of options, you will draw cards from the stockpile.

When you need new cards from the stockpile, you will draw them in a group of three. However, in some variations, you get to draw only one card at a time. You will use the cards you can use from the group of three and if cards are remaining, keep them at the bottom of the stockpile and draw a new set of three cards.

In some variations, you can only go through the stockpile once, while in others, you can go through it three times or an unlimited number of times. The fewer times you go through the stockpile, the harder the game will be. The game ends when you win by completing the four foundations or when you run out of moves to make.

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Oghwie Ufuoma
This post is authored by Oghwie Ufuoma (Harrison) A.K.A Harry, the founder and Admin of With nearly a decade of expertise in the sports sector, Harry started with Sportspaedia, providing up-to-date information on sports and tech-related topics, breaking news, and daily opportunities for Football/Soccer fans and online users.


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