Klondike Solitaire

Klondike is one of the best known and played members of the family of patience games. The game, which gained prominence in the 19th century, is named after a region in Canada where there was a gold rush. It is said that the game was developed by the gold prospectors of Klondike. It is also believed that Klondike was devised by Richard Canfield in the 1890s for use in his resort in the Saratoga Springs.

Playing Klondike

A classic game of Klondike consists of four card piles. Unlike Spider, Klondike solitaire uses a single pack of 52 cards. After shuffling, 28 cards are used for a tableau composed of 7 columns. The first stack consists of one card, the second two cards, and then three cards and so on. The top card of each pile faces up while the rest face down.

The remaining cards are used as a stockpile. The game also excludes the use of jokers. The goal of the game is to form an ascending suit order from the ace to the king; the cards should be of the alternating colors. For instance, a black five should follow a red six.

In the game, the four aces make up the foundation. It is therefore imperative to uncover the aces to get the foundational cards. Each ace may be transferred to any column of the tableau to start a new sequence as it becomes available. The exposed card of any column may also be moved to another column in line with the sequential order; it can be the ascending sequence of another column or a descending series of a column with alternating colors. You should turn over any face-down cards as soon as they are free.

The game is won by building up all the four units from the ace to the king. The game may end when you ran through all the available stock cards, and all the lays have run out.


For any card you move to any of the suit stacks, you earn yourself 10 points. 5 points for any card you move from the deck to any of the 7-row columns. You gain 5 points for revealing a closed card. You get a 15-points penalty for moving a card from the four suit columns back to the row stacks. In the 3-card type of Klondike, you are penalized to the tune of 20 points every time you pass via the deck after the third time. The one-card variation attracts a 100-point penalty for going through the pack after the first time.

    Playing Tips
  • When you have the choice to pick cards from the 7-row stacks, choose the one with the most unturned cards.
  • Concerning the cards you should choose, you should always pick the cards from the tableau stack if the option is available. Most importantly, if you are picking from the seven-row piles, select the one with the most unopened cards.
  • Avoid being in a rush to move up cards when they could still be useful. Also, it's not always advisable to play all the cards in the dealt pile because you might want to see all the possible options from the deck.
  • If you have a good memory, it could prove to be of significant help in playing the three-card variation of this game.
  • If you have unsuccessfully gone halfway through the stockpile, it is prudent to begin a new game as many of the cards might have been buried. You need to look at the board before considering the cards in the stockpile.

Variations of Klondike


In this version, the stock is in batches of seven and is available for use. The foundations' bases depend on the 29th card.

Nine Across

As the name suggests, nine columns are contrasted with the traditional seven.


In this variation, 21 cards are grouped into seven stacks of three, one of which faces up. A space can only be taken by a king or any sequence that begins with a king. The variation may have two or three decks

Thumb and Pouch

In this variation, cards in the same suit cannot be placed over each other. For instance, diamonds cannot be placed on diamonds. Spaces can be filled by any card as there are no restrictions.

Tarot Deck

This style has nine tableau stacks and can be played with a 78-card deck. It comes in two variations; Klondike Nouveau Run and Tarot Evens


All cards face up in this version, and a run consists of cards of the same color. A sequence made of cards in the same suit can be moved together. This variation does not limit the card or sequence that fill up an empty space.


It features 30 cards divided into ten piles of three cards each. One of the three cards in a collection faces up, and any card can fill space.

Computerized versions

There is a wide array of Klondike versions played on computers and mobiles, including many online versions. Since klondike was first shipped with Windows 3.0 in 1990, many variation were released, making klondike solitaire probably the most played game.