How Many Rows Are in Solitaire, and How Many Cards per Row? – Poker Fortress

Card games are pretty popular among solo and group players. They offer great enjoyment and provide a way to pass the time as you refresh your mind. Klondike Solitaire is an entertaining card game based on a set of rules, including a definite number of rows involved in the game and the number of cards in each game.

Klondike Solitaire has seven rows, at least at the onset of each game. All the rows have a varying number of cards, with the first row having one, the second row having two, the third row having three, and so on, with the seventh row having seven cards. The card in the first row and the rest of the top cards in each row are faced up.

In this article, I will take you through setting up a solitaire game. I will discuss the different types of Klondike Solitaire games, game rules, how to deal cards in Solitaire, how to play the game, and the tips and tricks of winning a solitaire game.

Solitaire Explained

Solitaire is a popular card game played electronically on a phone, tablet, laptop, or computer. However, you can also get solitaire cards from your favorite game store and play the game physically.

If the following instructions don’t make sense, or you are confused about how to set up a physical game of Solitaire, try playing the game electronically first. This should give you a sense of how the game is played, the rules you need to follow, and any tricks you can use. The same goes for any variation of the game.

While the game is traditionally famous for solo players, a 2-deck variation also exists. Solitaire comes in handy as an entertaining game whose objective is to organize cards in a particular sequence.

Your aim is to organize the cards from the lowest value card to the card with the highest value. 

Of course, you should do this with all the categories of cards, including spades, clubs, hearts, and diamonds. The first card on the foundation should be the Ace for each type, while the last one is the King.

Winning a solo-player solitaire game will rely on your ability to organize all your cards and the time you can take to achieve that. However, winning the two-deck version depends on your ability to finish up the cards on your deck before your opponent does.

Overall, the gameplay relies on how you manage your cards. Your skills will play a role in whether you can win or lose games, while the luck in which order you draw your cards plays a critical role in winning Solitaire games.

Finally, my experience is that it is easier to win a computerized Solitaire game than when you are using physical cards. Computerized Solitaire games often have more winning possibilities than the classic version.

How Many Cards Are in Solitaire?

Most Solitaire variations have standard decks consisting of 52 cards. However, the decks often do not have the jokers in them. There is an array of variations in this game, but it is important to note that nearly all the variations apply similar game rules. 

Besides, you might want to understand how to set up these 52 cards before you begin to play Solitaire.

Solitaire Card Layout: How To Set Up Solitaire

Your ability to enjoy Solitaire will depend on understanding the game’s setup process. The single-player version of this entertaining game uses 52 cards in the deck. On the other hand, the two-deck version involves each player using 52 cards.

You will need to lay out the cards in various sections as follows.

The Tableau

Tableau is the place where the action takes place. It consists of 7 rows of cards, and this gives the game its famous name, known as the 7-row Solitaire. 

The piles have varying numbers of cards.

Notably, you will need to organize the cards in ascending order from left to right, with the first stack having one card, the second stack having two cards, the third stack with three cards, and so on until you get to the seventh column which will consist of 7 cards.

The card in the first pile and the remaining cards in the rest of the top cards in the other stacks face up while the remaining cards will face down. Setting up your Tableau involves the following.

Shuffling the Deck

With a 52-card deck, open your cards and remove the pack’s instructions and the joker cards. You can then shuffle the cards properly before dealing any of them to ensure that you have your cards mixed up properly.

Deal Cards in 7 Rows

The seven rows of cards make up the Tableau. Deal seven cards first from left to right, and with only the first card facing up. The rest of the cards should face down.

Skip the first card (the card at the extreme left), and deal one more card over the rest of the cards. Skip the first two stacks and deal a card on the following piles. You’ll want to repeat this until you have one card on the first row and seven cards on the final row.

Turn the Last Cards Face Up

Finally, ensure that you turn face up all the last cards on each row. The last card in each pile should always be facing up during the game. These cards are your Tableau and consist of the main cards you will use for playing Solitaire.

The Stock Pile

Also known as the hand pile, this section will contain the remaining cards from the deck. So, place all the remaining cards on the left side above your tableau piles. You can still reshuffle these cards before you begin to play. 

Besides, it is from this group that you will draw your cards when you start to play.

The Talon Pile

The Talon pile or the Waste pile will consist of your discarded cards. You will need to identify a space where you will toss the cards you cannot use after drawing them from your stockpile.

The Talon pile is always empty when you start a game, and this explains why you will only need a reserved space without any actual cards at the onset. Often, this should be at the right side of your stockpile, where you will create your Talon pile by moving unusable cards to this spot.

Move all your waste cards back to the stock once you do not have any more cards in the stockpile. Again, ensure they are all face down and begin using them again as you continue playing.

The Foundation

Finally, you have the foundation. This section is also above the Tableau and on the right side of the waste pile. It is in this spot where you will place files cleared from Tableau. There should be four spaces, and each foundation will contain cards of the same type and color. 

You can also move cards directly from the stockpile to the foundation without taking them through Tableau.

Designate a foundation spot for spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. Like the waste pile section, all the foundation spots will be empty when you begin the game. Fill the foundation spots from the card with the lowest value to the card with the highest value. 

Typically, each foundation will have Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, J, Q, and K.

Apart from noting card numbers and types, also take note of the color. Each foundation spot should contain cards of the same color and ascending order.

Video: How To Play Solitaire Klondike with terms explained

How To Set Up Various Solitaire Variations

Solitaire is not a new game, and since it is interestingly popular, the game now has a range of variations. The following are among the popular Solitaire variations.

How To Set Up 2-Deck Solitaire

Solitaire is popularly known as a one-player card game. 

However, it isn’t cast on a stone that only solo players can enjoy the game. A competitive version of Solitaire exists, and this is a version you can enjoy with a friend or colleague.

While the set of this game is similar to that of the classic Solitaire, you need two 52-card decks, and each player will have their own deck. You’ll want to make sure that each deck is distinguishable so that you don’t mix up the cards.

Each player will have a stockpile, a tableau, and a talon, but you will set 8 foundations. Both players can move cards to any of the eight foundations when play begins. 

The game ends when none of you can continue making moves.

And being a competitive game, the winner is the player with no cards in the stockpile or the one with the least number of cards on the stock. Luck plays a significant role in maximizing your chances to win double Solitaire. 

However, your skills and ability to read the game and make moves faster than your opponent will also count.

To read deeper into the 2 deck solitaire strategy, visit this link.

How To Set Up the Spider Version

Like double Solitaire, the spider version also uses two 52-card decks. However, it is a solo game-player game whose objective is similar to that of classic Solitaire, which includes getting all the cards from the stockpile and Tableau to the foundations.

Since it has two 52-card decks, this version has eight foundations. However, you’ll need to deal ten rows of 5 cards each in the Tableau. 

Deal the first four cards in each row face down, and the last card in each row face up.

Note that the difference between the spider version and the traditional Solitaire lies in the setup, number of cards, and number of decks. However, the game rules and winning strategy are nearly the same.

To master the spider solitaire, read this helpful strategies article.

How To Set Up the Joker Solitaire

The solitaire Joker version uses two jokers as wild cards. The setup for this variation is the same as in the traditional version, but you’ll determine the card that you want your joker cards to replace. 

You are then free to play the joker cards into the foundation whenever you come across them before you find the numbers swapped for them.

However, you may want to determine the card your jokers will represent beforehand. You cannot change this rule midway. After placing the joker on the foundation, place additional cards over the joker as you would typically do. When the card replaced with the joker appears, it should take the place of the joker on the foundation and return the joker to the stockpile.

Playing joker cards as wild cards makes Solitaire easier and more enjoyable to new players with fewer skills and who want ways to increase their winning chances.

How To Set Up the Free Cell Solitaire

The other variation of Solitaire that is worth talking about is the Free Cell solitaire. It is pretty similar to the traditional Solitaire because it uses only one 52-card deck. Setting up this type of Solitaire involves providing room for four foundation spots and four open cells.

You can go ahead to deal eight cards in the Tableau. All cards should face up in the eight cascading columns to see the value and identity of the cards. You should end up with four columns of six cards and another four columns of seven cards.

Like the classic Solitaire, the goal of the free cell solitaire is to complete all the foundation stacks by moving cards from Tableau. And to facilitate the movement of cards, you can move any top cards from the Tableau to the four free cells.

Video: Freecell Solitaire [How To Play]


The traditional Solitaire has seven rows in the Tableau, with all the cards organized in ascending order from left to right. The first row on the extreme left has one card, while the seventh row has seven cards. 

You draw your cards from the rows to complete the foundations.

Notably, other variations have a different number of rows, just as I have discussed above, so always take note of this during game setup. Choosing the variation to play will depend on your interests, skill level, and the number of players per game.

Author: Austin Hall