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Favorite Solitaires: Klondike

When most people think of solitaire they think of the free solitaire which came with most versions of Windows. This version is of course Klondike solitaire, but it does have other names such as patience or classic solitaire.

How to Play Klondike Solitaire

Everyone knows how to play Klondike, right!? There are so many versions of them, and somehow they keep multiplying even more! Probably because it’s so popular and desired to have a nice game of Klondike solitaire to play, and this will probably always be true! There will always be younger people who do not yet appreciate that as they grow older they will eventually have fun playing Klondike! But first someone will have to teach them how to play.

Windows 7 solitaire is an example of Klondike

Klondike is played with a single standard playing card deck of 52 playing cards. Shuffle the deck, then deal 28 face down cards to form 7 columns with each column from left to right having one extra card. Done properly, columns from left to right should have 1,2,3,4,5,6, and 7 cards respectfully. The 7 columns together are called the tableau. Now the 24 cards left over are placed face down somewhere as the stock. Flip each top of stack cards in each of the columns to be face up. You can now begin playing Klondike!

To begin playing, you must decide how many cards you wish to draw at once. More cards is harder because as you draw cards you must play one at a time with the top card played first. Usually it’s either 1, 2, or 3 cards drawn at a time. Once you have cleared the 3 you just drew, you can play the cards below it too - with the same rule of being required to play the cards in order. The place you draw cards to is called the waste pile.

How do you play cards? Your goal is to move cards to 4 places you’ll call the foundations. Each foundation is for one suit of cards. You build up cards from Ace to 2, 3, 4 … and so on until the King is played. Each foundation can only have a single card suit built on it. Once you find an Ace, you can place it on a foundation, and that’s where you’ll then need to move the 2 of the suit that Ace is of. You can move cards that are on the top of each stack of the tableau to the foundations only. So generally you will be drawing cards, and playing what you can building stacks from A-K.

Once you have cleared all cards from one of the card stacks, you can then move a King there if you wish. You can also move cards on top of each between stacks, but only if the card you are moving is directly below in value of the target card, and is the opposite suit color compared to the target card. So naturally you will also be building up alternative suit color K-A stacks of cards in various stages of progress on the tableau. You can move a set of cards from stack to stack as long as those cards are in order from lowest to highest in alternating suit color, and the target card you are moving that set of cards to is the correct suit color and value to form a proper join of alternative suit color and value from high to low downward.

Once all cards are drawn from the stock (deck), you then pick up the cards in the waste pile (without shuffling) to form a new stick. With some rules, you are limited to the number of times you are allowed to turn the waste pile into a new stock.

You will repeat these various steps until you win and move all cards from A-K to the four foundations, or get stuck. That’s right - it’s possible for Klondike to be impossible to win! There are ways to guarantee that Klondike is winnable though. One way some digital Klondike versions do this is by starting with 4 foundations from K-A, and then playing cards back randomly to the stock and stacks face down until there are 7 stacks from 1-7 in size and the rest of the cards left in the stock. Even doing this it only means the deal is winnable, not that it’s guaranteed to be won every time the player moves cards around. But at least with the winnable dealing method you know that if you continue to retry a specific card deal you’ll eventually be able to win!

Klondike As A Gambling Game

Did you know the Klondike variation used to be played as a game of gambling in places like Vegas? It’s true! You’d pay a fee. A dealer would deal your solitaire cards and observe you as you play. Then you could get a small amount of money back for every card you cleared, but you were only allowed so many shuffles of the deck, and so at best maybe you could make your money back, but more likely over multiple games you would go negative. Some casinos didn’t even let you shuffle once, but baited you with a huge jackpot prize if you managed to get an all out under those conditions. Obviously casinos and the like want to make as much money as possible without losing money, and so solitaire games like Klondike never really picked up as much as other card games or gambling methods like slots which were much better at constantly funneling money from people without the need for a worker observing every person.

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