top of page

Official Patience Rules

Patience, also widely known as Solitaire in North America, is an umbrella term for a variety of single-player card games played with a standard deck of cards. There are many different Patience variations, each with its own unique layout, objective, and set of rules. Here's a breakdown of the most popular Patience variation:


Arrange all cards in the deck into four foundation piles, sorted by suit and in ascending order from Ace to King.


  • Shuffle the Deck:Thoroughly shuffle the deck of cards.

  • Deal the Cards:
    Deal the cards into seven tableau columns:Column 1: 1 card
    Column 2: 2 cards
    Column 3: 3 cards
    Column 4: 4 cards
    Column 5: 5 cards
    Column 6: 6 cards
    Column 7: 7 cards
    Place the remaining cards in a face-down stock pile.

  • Expose the Top Card:Turn the top card of each column face up.


  1. Building the Tableau:

    • Move cards within the tableau by placing a card of one rank lower and the opposite color (e.g., a red 6 can be placed on a black 7).

    • Move groups of cards as long as they form a valid descending sequence with alternating colors.

  2. Empty Columns:

    • If a tableau column is emptied, it can only be filled with a King or a sequence starting with a King.

  3. Foundations:

    • Create foundation piles for each suit, starting with Aces. Cards are added to these piles in ascending order (Ace, 2, 3, ..., King).

  4. Stock and Waste Pile:

    • Draw cards from the stock pile one at a time. If the drawn card can be played to the tableau or foundations, place it accordingly.

    • If it cannot be played immediately, place it in a face-up waste pile.

    • Once the stock pile is empty, turn over the waste pile to form a new stock pile (without shuffling).

Winning the Game

The game is won when all cards are moved to the foundation piles.


Additional Rules:

  1. Recycling the Waste Pile:

    • You may only go through the stock pile a limited number of times (commonly once or three times) depending on the variation you're playing.

  2. Undoing Moves:

    • Depending on your preference, you can allow undoing moves to correct mistakes or make the game more forgiving.

Tips for Playing:

  1. Expose Hidden Cards:

    • Prioritize moves that expose hidden cards in the tableau.

  2. Foundation First:

    • Whenever possible, move cards to the foundations to free up tableau columns.

  3. Plan Moves:

    • Think ahead to avoid blocking potential moves by locking valuable cards.

So shuffle up a deck, choose your Patience variation, and embark on a journey of card-sorting fun!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.

Browse Related Games!

bottom of page