Klondike Solitaire

Klondike is the most played solitaire game in the world. It has become so popular that Klondike is synonymous with Solitaire for most people. It is known by many names, including Klondike, Seven Card Klondike, (Small) Triangle, The Canfield, The Stepladder, Gambler’s Delight, Classic Solitaire, or just plain Solitaire.

Klondike Solitaire Rules

You play Klondike Solitaire with a deck of 52 cards without the jokers. The cards are shuffled and dealt into a triangle-shaped layout consisting of Seven piles. This solitaire setup is unique and typical for Klondike.

On this page, we’ll walk you step-by-step through the setup to learn the game correctly according to the official Solitaire game rules.

The Object of the Game Klondike

The goal in Klondike Solitaire is to play all cards in ascending order from Ace to King, sorted by Suit, to the end piles. These end piles are also known as the Foundations. You lose if you are getting blocked during the game and can’t make any more moves. But when you succeed to play all 52 cards to the Foundations, you win.

How to deal the Klondike Setup

Below is an image of the Klondike Solitaire Setup with a short explanation of all elements.

Klondike Solitaire Setup Game-rules

Tableau

When you start dealing the cards, you start with the Tableau. The Tableau consists of 28 cards that are dealt first in the following order: Deal seven cards face down and put them in seven rows next to each other, skip the first row and then again deal six cards face down on the remaining six rows. Then you skip another row, deal five cards over the last five rows, and keep repeating this until you have 1 card on the first row and seven on the last row. Now turn over the top card of each pile, as shown in the picture above.

Tableau example layout Solitaire

Stockpile

The cards left over from the deal are placed face down in a pile. This pile forms the Stockpile. From here, you can turn over cards which you can then bring into play. Mainly In the past, the Stockpile was also called Talon.

Stockpile example layout Solitaire

Waste Pile

When you turn a card over from the Stockpile it will land in the Waste Pile. Only the top card of the Waste Pile is exposed and therefore available for play.

Waste Pile example layout Solitaire

Foundations

The ultimate goal is to play all the cards to the Foundations, ascending from Ace to King and sorted by Suit. This can be done from the Tableau or directly from the Waste Pile. The Foundations can be recognized by the printed boxes inside the Foundations on the canvas.

Foundation example rules Solitaire

This is how you play Klondike Solitaire

In Klondike (Solitaire) you have to move the cards according to the following rules:

Tableau

The top faced-up card of each row of the Tableau is available to play or to place other cards underneath. Building the cards should be done in descending order and in alternating colors.

Example of how to move or build cards on the Tableau

Foundation

Each row of the Foundation must begin with an Ace. A separate row for Hearts, Spades, Diamonds, and Clovers. For each row, you then play a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.. etc, up to and including the King of the same suit.

“Worrying Back”

In most cases, it is also possible to move cards that you have placed on the Foundation back to the Tableau. This is called “Worrying Back” and can sometimes be necessary to progress further in the game.

The goal is to move as many cards on the Tableau as possible to other rows so that all cards in the Tableau can be exposed or ‘open’ and available to play. This is necessary to complete the game. When you have cleared a whole row, an empty hole is created which may only be filled with a King or a row starting with a King.

DID YOU KNOW?
“Did you know that Klondike Solitaire 3 has a higher chance of winning than Klondike Solitaire Draw 1? This is the main reason why Klondike, or Vegas Solitaire Draw one, is always played with the turn 1 rule when it comes to a real money game.”

Klondike Solitaire can be played in two different ways with different rules regarding the Stockpile and Waste Pile:

Klondike Solitaire Draw 1

In “Klondike Solitaire Draw One” you always turn over one card at a time from the Stockpile. Bring the turned-up card into play or, if not possible, place it on the Waste Pile. In that case, you turn over 1 new card. You may only bring the top card of the Waste Pile into play at a time. Another additional rule that applies to the Klondike Solitaire Draw 1 is that you may only go through the deck once. So there is no so-called “re-deal.”

Draw One example rules Solitaire

Klondike Solitaire Draw 3

With Klondike Draw 3 you turn over 3 cards at a time from the Stockpile to the Waste Pile. All three cards are placed face-up on the waste pile of which you may only play the top one. When the top card has been played, you may play the next card from the Waste Pile. If this is not possible, turn over 3 new cards from the Stockpile. With Klondike Solitaire Draw 3 you can go through the stack three times instead of once.

Turn Three example rules Solitaire

Klondike Solitaire Scoring

With the release of Microsoft Solitaire, Klondike now also has its own scoring system. However, this is not based on gambling but purely to make the game more challenging.

The Solitaire Klondike scoring as shown below is called the standard Klondike scoring. This is often used in combination with a time bonus. The faster you finish the game, the more points you will earn.

For every card move you receive the following points:

  • From Waste Pile to Tableau + 5 points
  • From Waste Pile to Foundation + 10 points
  • From Tableau to Foundation + 10 points
  • Expose a Tableau card + 5 points
  • (Back) from Foundation to Tableau – 15 points

TIP!
“Instead of playing a card directly from the Waste Pile to the Foundation, you will gain 5 points more If you play the card (if possible) first to the Tableau and then to the Foundation!”

The Origin of “Klondike Solitaire”

Although Klondike Solitaire is often referred to as Classic Solitaire, this game is by no means one of the oldest Solitaires. There are many variants that are much older than Klondike Solitaire. But the uniqueness of Klondike is the fact that the game has quickly become not only the most played solitaire game but also one of the most played card games worldwide.

Klondike Solitaire descends from “Small Triangle Patience” which first appeared in Solitaire books around 1894. Probably during the Gold Rush in Klondike, it was adapted for gambling purposes and was played in many Gambling Saloons.

gambling house inside illustration
Illustration and Copyright by Ian Smith

The game was first known as Seven Card Klondike and later simply Klondike. Klondike has been the most played Solitaire card game in the world since the early 20th century. However, Klondike turned slowly into a standard solitaire game where the gambling score faded into oblivion over time. Also in 2022, Klondike is no longer associated with gambling. The gambling Solitaire that Klondike once was is now called Vegas Solitaire.

FAQ

What is Klondike?

Klondike is a region in the Yukon province, located in Canada.

What is Klondike Solitaire?

Klondike Solitaire is a single-person card game played with 52 cards without the jokers. It is a game that you can play on the computer or with real playing cards. It is a card game that involves both luck and skill. Klondike Solitaire is by far the most played solitaire game, and one of the most-played card games in the world.

Where does the name Klondike Solitaire come from?

Klondike Solitaire is named after the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon region of Canada.

When was the Klondike Gold Rush?

The Gold Rush in Klondike took place from 1895 to 1899