Klondike Solitaire

When we talk about Klondike Solitaire, we are really talking about a game that goes under many different names. In the U.S. and Canada, it is so well known that the term “Solitaire”, in the absence of any other additional qualifying description, typically refers to Klondike and is considered its other name. In the UK, it is often just known as “Patience”. In other parts of the world, the game is known as American Patience or Canfield, as it was once played for money at Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs, New York. For the purposes of this article, we shall use the term Klondike.

How To Play

Klondike is played with a standard deck of 52 cards with the Jokers removed. After shuffling, seven piles/columns of cards are laid from left to right. Going from left to right, each of the piles contains one more card than the last pile.

  • The first and left-most pile contains a single card faced up
  • The second pile contains two cards (one are faced down and one is faced up)
  • The third pile contains three card (two are faced down and one is faced up)
  • The fourth pile contains four cards (three are faced down and one is faced up)
  • The fifth pile contains five cards (four are faced down and one is faced up)
  • The sixth pile contains six cards (five are faced down and one is faced up)
  • The seventh and last pile contains seven cards (six are faced down and one is faced up)

It is the topmost card of each pile that is turned face up.

The remaining cards from the card deck will be put into one big pile of cards are placed facedown at the upper left of the layout.

The four foundations are built up by suit from Ace (which counts as one, the lowest card in this game) to King, and the seven piles can be built down by alternate colours. Every face-up card in a partial pile, or a complete pile, can be moved, as a complete unit, to another pile on the basis of its highest card. Any empty piles can be filled with a King or a pile of cards with a King. 

The aim of the game is to build up four stacks of cards starting with Ace and ending with King, all of the same suit, on one of the four foundations piles, at which time the player would have won. If the player can no longer make any meaningful moves, the game is considered lost. At this point, winning is impossible.

There are a few modern variations that can be played. The deck can be dealt one card at a time or can be dealt out in threes. Some games allow you to only go through the deck once, massively increasing its difficulty or you can turn the deck over as many times as you like. Some variations even use two decks meaning that you have eight foundation piles to fill from ace to king, two for each suit.

The layout of the Klondike Solitaire Game

play klondike solitaire free online

Playing Online

Online gameplay simulates these above conditions rigidly, allowing for the same random chance of any card being turned up just as if you were playing with a real deck of cards. It is perhaps one of the most popular card games, being that it doesn’t require an opponent to play against and lends itself perfectly to online play. Being quick to play, easy to understand, and working perfectly as a browser game it is also great for those quick breaks from more serious computer work, a chance to rest your eyes from the daily routine of spreadsheets and texts, blueprints and flowcharts, rest your eyes and exercise a different part of the brain.

The Benefits of Playing Klondike Solitaire Online 

There are many benefits to be had from playing Klondike, it is so much more than just a simple card game or a short distraction from work. And this goes equally for both playing with a card and its online equivalent.

Klondike Soothes the Mind

One of the most relevant benefits of playing Klondike is the way it can help the mind enter into a light meditative state. Unlike most other games, ones that require a high level of attention or logical thinking, Klondike triggers a soft mental activity that works to relax the brain and helps dilute stress levels without shutting it off completely.

Klondike is Entertaining

Klondike is a low-risk game, which means that it can be entertaining and reduces boredom without ever creating a sense of frustration or failure that more complex or more invested games can. This is best explained by the fact that making a mistake in the game is not necessarily synonymous with losing the game. And the games are so quick to pay that even the disappointment of not completing the game is quickly replaced by the thrill of starting a new one.

Also, most mistakes or missed opportunities may condition the transfer of a card without affecting the display on the tableau completely. You may simply have to rethink the sequences in place or begin a new one to create an opening for the card retained by the wrong move. Mistakes can be made and the game is still won.

Klondike Provides the Perfect Alone Time

Klondike provides a great opportunity to enjoy some time by yourself. The sheer simplicity of the game combined with the low mental activity required creates the right atmosphere for players to be able to gently drift off and disconnect from the world around them.

Klondike Helps to Improve Your Memory

The benefits of many games are obvious and instantaneous but the benefits of playing Klondike are more subtle and very often unconscious. The games ability to improve your memory is a good example of this.

Having a good memory is not a requirement to play Klondike. In fact, players with poor memory skills are still able to win the game.

That said, it is possible to chart improvement in players’ memory skills as they keep returning to the game. This improvement is particularly notorious in the ability to unconsciously memorize the cards colours, suits, numbers, and even the order in which they were dealt from the Stock, after going through it only once.

Klondike Improves Your General Mental Skills

Playing Klondike is regarded as a soft, low-level mental activity that can nonetheless reap great benefits for the brain. Despite the light meditative state that players enter when they take part, they are still required to analyze all the cards while taking into consideration several factors such as their suits, their number, and making logical judgements regarding which ones are still to be played from the Stock pile, and which ones are hidden in the tableau. Using this they then need to create and plan future sequences to guide them to victory.

By performing these simple tasks simultaneously, repeatedly and subconsciously, the players can experience a noticeable improvement in their mental skills, performing them quicker and quicker each time they are required.

Klondike Solitaire Teaches Important Life Lessons

Klondike has often been associated with procrastination thanks to modern pop culture. It has long been viewed as a way of wasting time or taking a break. However, it is also educational as it teaches valuable lessons that can be used in everyday life.

For instance, Klondike teaches us about delayed gratification or “return on investment”. That is, sometimes it is best to hold your ground and wait instead of rashly acting on the moment, enabling you to be able to collect more gains later.

In the game, just as in life, it is often useful to control the impulse of acting right away and instead pause to analyze the situation, plan your next move and understand the changes that may come, and predict if better outcomes are possible than the one you are facing at the moment.

Similarly, Klondike also demonstrates how it is important to sometimes take a step back to move two forward. It is often hard to make such a decision in real life, but as a low-risk game Klondike provides the perfect training ground to practice this type of decision-making skill. There is much more going on in a game of Klondike than you might think.

Klondike Promotes a Positive Sense of Competitiveness

Even though Klondike is a single-player game, it has a note of competitiveness, something that also helps to explain why it is just so entertaining and captivating to play.

In this competition, players challenge themselves by trying to achieve a better score or time at each game. In practice, however, they are reinforcing other benefits of playing Klondike such as the improvement of mental skills or memory. It is a passive yet positive competition against themselves to increase their capacities. 

The benefits of playing Klondike are not as obvious when compared to many other single-player games out there. Nevertheless, they exist and help to explain why a game as simple as this has reached such a high degree of popularity all over the world since it first appeared in the 19th century.

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