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5 Types of Solitaire You Can Learn in 5 Minutes

Playing a game of solitaire is a great way to relax, train your brain, and – frankly – kill some time. Most of us know how to play a game of solitaire on the computer or on our phones.

But endless games on the computer can get old. And we could all use an extended break from the screen these days.

So, instead, go grab a deck of cards and learn these 5 simple solitaire games. Each one will take just a few  minutes to learn, but you’ll find that the play is challenging and – you’ve been warned – addictive.

5 Simple Solitaire Games

First on our list is a classic version of solitaire that will explain how the game is played along with basic concepts you can carry forward to the many variations on the original format.

Then, we’ll look at a few other fun ways to play, including Clock solitaire (a personal favorite), Bowling solitaire, Monte Carlo, and Tens. 

Classic Solitaire

Solitaire, or Patience, is a classic single player card game. Solitaire requires a standard 52 playing card deck and is suitable for ages 8 and up. The objective of Solitaire is to sort a deck of cards into four piles, one for each suit and in ascending order from Ace to King.

Set Up

To set up a basic game of Solitaire, the player needs to sit around a stable playing area. After shuffling the deck, the player begins building a Solitaire layout.

In Solitaire there are three types of piles: the Tableau, the Stock, and the Foundations.

The Tableau

The Tableau consist of 7 piles. The first pile has 1 card. The second pile has 2 cards. The third pile has 3 cards and so on until there are 7 piles. Only the top card in each pile is faced up.

The Stock

The remaining deck after building the Tableau is called the Stock. It is placed faced down to the side of the Tableau.

The Foundations

At the beginning of the game, the Foundations are four empty piles.

How to Play

The player can make three moves: they can move cards from the Stock and Tableau piles onto the Foundations, they can move cards within the Tableau, and they can move cards from the Stock onto the Tableau.

Cards in the Foundations must begin with an Ace, go in ascending order, and be of the same suit.

Cards in the Tableau must go in descending order and be in an alternating color sequence. Only the top card in a Tableau pile can be moved to other piles.

Only every third card in the Stock can be used for the Tableau and Foundation piles. Once the stock is exhausted, it is flipped over to form a new stock.

By rearranging cards, the player tries to sort the deck into the four Foundations.

Clock Solitaire

To set up a game of Clock Solitaire, the player sits around a stable playing area and shuffles the deck. The player then makes thirteen piles of four cards each, faced down.

Twelve piles are placed in a circle, like a clock, and the thirteenth pile is placed in the middle of the circle.

Begin by flipping over the top card of the center pile. Then place that card under the deck that corresponds with its clock value. Ace is in the 1 position, 2-10 are in their position, Jack is 11, Queen is 12, and the King is the center deck.

Next, flip the top card over from the deck you just placed a card under and place that card face up on its corresponding clock pile. Keep playing like this, quickly, until all the piles are face up.

The objective is to end with the Kings as your last face up pile. If not, and you complete the Kings pile before the other piles, you must start over.

Bowling Solitaire

To set up a game of Bowling Solitaire, the player sits around a stable playing area and shuffles the deck.

Bowling Solitaire requires a deck with no face cards, Aces through 10s only. After shuffling the deck, the player sets up the “pins” by building a 4 row pyramid of flipped over cards, meaning the first row has 1 card, the second row has 2 cards, etc.

The player then sets up the “bowling balls” by making three piles. The first pile has 5 cards, the second has 3 cards, and the third has 2 cards. Only the top card is flipped up in the bowling ball piles.

The player then uses the bowling ball piles to try and knock down pins. A player can knock down pins in three ways:

  • The pin card and the ball card have the same value.
  • Two or more pin cards equal the ball card.
  • The last digit of two or more pin cards equal the value of the ball card.

Like regular bowling, the player has two bowls per set of pins before they reshuffle the pin cards and make a new pyramid.

If they cannot knock down any pins, it is a gutter ball and they move onto the next ball pile. Scoring is done like regular bowling.

Monte Carlo Solitaire

To set up a game of Monte Carlo Solitaire, the player sits around a stable playing area and shuffles the deck. The player then builds a 5×5 grid of flipped over cards. The remaining deck forms the stock.

In Monte Carlo, the objective is to move all of the cards to the discard pile.

Pairs of cards can be moved to the discard pile if they are of a kind and are adjacent to each other in the grid, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

Once all possible pairs are moved to the discard pile the Grid is reformed as cards are moved from right to left and from bottom to up.

The stock then is used to complete the 5×5 grid again. Play continues until all cards are moved to the discard pile.

Tens

To set up a game of Tens, the player sits around a stable playing area and shuffles the deck.

The player then forms the Tableau by dealing 13 cards in two rows of 5 and one row of 3. All cards are face up. The remaining deck forms the stock.

The player then discards four of a kinds and pairs of cards that form 10 (e.g. a 3 and a 7). Cards that are discarded are replaced with cards from the stock.

If the player can discard all 52 cards, they win.

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