~ 4 Minutes

How to Play Pyramid Solitaire

Also called Solitaire 13, Pyramid Solitaire is a popular card game that’s easy to play. It features simple rules and it takes a short time to learn. When you only have a few minutes to spare, playing this game can be the perfect way to kill time. Like the original game of solitaire, this game is also a single-player and uses a standard 52 card deck. Each player’s objective is to remove cards in the pyramid formation.

This game’s setup is what differentiates it from the standard solitaire version. After shuffling your deck, you’ll then start to form your pyramid by dealing cards. Your first row should have 1 card, the second 2, and then next should have 3 cards, and so forth until the last row has 7 cards. Be aware that the rows will overlap each other. Ultimately the goal after set up, you will have a pyramid shape that consists of a total of 28 cards. The other remaining cards are placed face down to form your draw pile.

Players begin by revealing cards from their draw pile, one at a time. An unused card from the pile is covered by the following one in that same pile. You can use it later on if you uncover it since you can discard from the draw pile. You can also discard 2 exposed cards that add up to 13. It’s the reason this game is also known to be called Solitaire 13. Note that discarding is optional, so if it won’t be beneficial to your play, then you don’t have to.

When there aren’t cards overlapping those on the pyramid, they then are considered to be exposed. You can only expose a single card at a time from your draw pile.

When playing Pyramid Solitaire you should know the value of each card to create accurate discard combinations. The value for aces, jacks, queens, and kings are 1, 11, 12, and 13, respectively. However, you can discard kings as a single card. Examples of discard combinations include card number 7 + card number 6, queen plus an ace, a number 10 card plus number 3, anything equaling 13.

Also, note that players can reveal cards in sets of three instead of each at a time from the draw pile. Your first 3 pile set is laid on the table to form three new piles. Once the draws are done, later on, 3 new piles are spread over with 3 new cards. You should have a constant order of placing the cards on these piles throughout.

We also should mention that there are two types of pyramid solitaire; classic and modern. While both have some similar rules, the modern version is a bit easier and more fun for many. However, all use the same idea of removing cards from the pyramid. With the classic version of the game pyramid, you can either remove the pyramid on its own or remove all cards in the deck.


Pyramid Solitaire is won when a player removes all cards from a pyramid or after exhausting the given draw pile. Some strategies to help you win include;

  • Remove kings as soon as you can as they only block your way
  • Plan your moves since each move frees up a card. However, note that planning is usually useful for the modern version. The classic one is based mostly on luck.
  • If you want to remove the pyramid, then removing cards in it is the right strategy. However, if you aim at removing every card, consider removing cards from the lower three-card deal while carefully analyzing your pyramid so that you don’t end up blocking yourself.

Pyramid Solitaire is not hard to learn. But like all other games, an effective strategy will help you boost your chances of winning. Use these tips to improve your gameplay next time you are playing this card game.

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