Pyramid Solitaire Card Game Rules and Top-Tier Winning Strategies

Updated September 8, 2021
Man playing Pyramid Solitaire

The pyramid solitaire card game is a popular computer game, but did you know you can play this version of solitaire the old-fashioned way? All you need is a deck of cards to entertain yourself on a rainy afternoon or in your spare time.

About Pyramid Solitaire

Since the middle of the eighteenth century, game enthusiasts have been playing a group of games, known as solitaire. Some historians believe that these single-player card games may even have begun as a fortune-telling tool. Over the years, solitaire's popularity grew. There are now more than 100 versions of this game, one of which is pyramid solitaire.

Pyramid solitaire is a variation of the classic solitaire game. The cards are dealt out into a triangular shape or pyramid. The object of the game is to eliminate all cards in the pyramid. Many people find this game challenging, and it has a lower success rate than other versions of solitaire.

How to Play Pyramid Solitaire

Ready to try this fun card game? Find a table or other flat surface and a deck of cards, and get ready to have fun!

Setting Up the Game

Pyramid Solitaire Layout
CC BY-ND 4.0

Here's what you need to do to get started:

  1. Ensure that the deck of cards is well shuffled.
  2. Deal one card face up.
  3. Deal two more cards face up. These cards should be placed so they are partially overlapping the first card to make a triangle.
  4. Place three more cards on the previous two, forming a larger triangle.
  5. Continue this process until you have a total of seven rows that make a triangle. The last row, or the base of the triangle, will have seven cards in it.
  6. Place the remaining cards face down on the table in a pile. This is your stock or talon.

Card Values

Before beginning the name, you need to know the values of the cards. Cards "2" to "10" carry their face value. In addition:

  • Aces have a value of 1.
  • Jacks have a value of 11.
  • Queens have a value of 12.
  • Kings have a value of 13.

How to Play

The object of the game is to remove all cards that make the pyramid. Traditional pyramid solitaire does not consider the game won if there are any cards remaining in the stock. A slightly easier variation allows remaining stock cards. You can go through the stockpile three times during the game.

  1. To begin playing, turn the top card of the stockpile face-up.
  2. Begin eliminating pairs of cards that add up to 13 and put in a discard pile. You can only eliminate cards from the pyramid if the card is fully exposed, but you can always use a card from the stockpile and pair it with one in the pyramid to equal 13 and discard. You can start by immediately eliminating any exposed kings, which have a value of 13 on their own.
  3. Continue eliminating pairs of cards, using the stockpile to help.
  4. The game is over when you've eliminated all the cards, can't make any more pairs of 13, or have cycled through the stockpile three times.

Strategies for Winning Pyramid Solitaire

It's not easy to win this game, but that challenge is part of what makes it so rewarding. When you do win, you'll feel a great sense of accomplishment. To make winning a bit more likely, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Start with the kings. They are easy to eliminate right away since they have a value of 13 on their own.
  • When possible, always choose to eliminate a card that exposes another card in the pyramid.
  • Try to evenly expose cards in the pyramid, since this will give you more choices as the game progresses.

Exercise Your Brain

The pyramid solitaire card game is difficult, but with practice, you'll learn more strategies to help you win. Not only is it a great way to pass the time, but it is also a great exercise for your brain. Have fun!

Pyramid Solitaire Card Game Rules and Top-Tier Winning Strategies