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About patience

Patience is a type of card game that can be played by a single player. The word has a French origin. The games are regarded ‘as an exercise in patience’. In North America, the name solitaire became the more common name during the 20th century.

The pack

Patience is played with all 52 cards of a standard deck.

The ranking

The cards are ranked from high to low: K – Q – J – 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – A.

The objective

The objective of patience is to build up foundations, in sequence and in suit, from the ace to the king. The game is won when the whole deck is built upon the foundations until no cards are left.

The deal

The cards are dealt in four different types of piles:

  • The Tableau: The seven piles that make up the main playing area.
  • The Hand: The remaining cards that are not laid out in the tableau. From here, cards are brought into the game according to the rules.
  • The Talon: Cards from the Hand that cannot be placed in the tableau or on the foundations are laid face up in this pile.
  • The Foundations: Four piles, one of each suit, on which the deck must be built in sequence.

The Tableau is formed by laying down seven piles, from left to right. Place the first card face up and deal one card face down for each of the next six piles. Start again from left to right and place one card face up on the second pile and deal a card face down for the rest of the piles. Continue this way until the last pile has a card laying face up.

The remaining cards form the Hand pile. When starting the game, the Foundations and the Talon do not contain any cards.

The play

The initial array may be changed by “building” – transferring cards among the face-up cards in the tableau. Certain cards of the tableau can be played at once, while others may not be played until certain blocking cards are removed. For example, of the seven cards facing up in the tableau, if one is a nine and another is a ten, you may transfer the nine to on top of the ten to begin building that pile in sequence. Since you have moved the nine from one of the seven piles, you have now unblocked a face down card; this card can be turned over and now is in play.

As you transfer cards in the tableau and begin building sequences, if you uncover an ace, the ace should be placed in one of the foundation piles. The foundations get built by suit and in sequence from ace to king.

Continue to transfer cards on top of each other in the tableau in sequence. If you can’t move any more face up cards, you can utilise the stock pile by flipping over the first card. This card can be played in the foundations or tableau. If you cannot play the card in the tableau or the foundations piles, move the card to the waste pile and turn over another card in the stock pile.

If a vacancy in the tableau is created by the removal of cards elsewhere it is called a “space”, and it is of major importance in manipulating the tableau. If a space is created, it can only be filled in with a king. Filling a space with a king could potentially unblock one of the face down cards in another pile in the tableau.

Continue to transfer cards in the tableau and bring cards into play from the stock pile until all the cards are built in suit sequences in the foundation piles to win!