Pyramid Solitaire Rules and How to Play

In Pyramid Solitaire, you pair cards to remove them from a pyramidal shape. Learn how to play this card game with my Pyramid Solitaire rules guide.

Pyramid Solitaire, also known as Solitaire 13, is a simple and fast-paced game. To win, you must match cards according to a few simple rules and remove them from play.

Like Clock Solitaire (see Clock Solitaire rules), Canfield Solitaire (see Canfield Solitaire rules), or other patience-based games, Pyramid Solitaire is designed for a single player. 

Key highlights of this Pyramid Solitaire rules guide:

  • What is Pyramid Solitaire?
  • Pyramid Solitaire rules
  • Pyramid Solitaire scoring 
  • Pyramid Solitaire rules in pictures 
  • How to play Pyramid Solitaire (Video tutorial)

Read on and learn how to play Pyramid Solitaire with my step-by-step instructions.

What is Pyramid Solitaire?

Pyramid Solitaire Card Game Info image

In Pyramid Solitaire, cards are organized in the form of a pyramid, where the lower rows overlap and block those above them. The player dismantles the pyramid to win the game. 

Number of Players: 1

Ages: 8+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 15 – 30 minutes

Type of Game: Addition-type patience game 

Similar to: Clock SolitaireCanfield SolitaireSolitaire

Main Objective: Remove all the cards from the pyramid by matching them in pairs based on their value.

Our Take: A unique version of solitaire that will amuse anyone who appreciates fast-paced single-player card games. 

What You’ll Need to Play Pyramid Solitaire

If you want to play Pyramide Solitaire, make sure you have the following:

  • Decks: 1
  • Number of Cards: 52
  • Cards Omitted: Jokers

Tip: Alternatively, this game can be played with a 48-card deck, also known as a French deck or the Pinochle cards.

Pyramid Solitaire Game Rules

First, let’s learn how to prepare the pyramidal form – the game’s initial setup.

Starting the Game

Deal one card face-up at the top of the desk, then two cards beneath it, partially covering the top card. 

Continue adding three, four, five, six, and, finally, seven cards in slightly overlapping rows until you have 28 cards in total on the table. 

Place the remaining deck face-down on the side as your stockpile.

How to Play Pyramid Solitaire

Each card in play has its value: 

  • Ace stands for 1; 
  • 2 to 10 stand for their respective face values;
  • Jack stands for 11;
  • Queen is 12;
  • King is 13.

You aim to create pairs of cards that add up to a total value of 13. Such pairs can be removed from the play, bringing you closer to clearing the entire pyramid.

But you can only remove the cards that are ‘free’ = not covered by other cards from the row beneath them. Start with the lowest row and try to make your way to the top.

If you get stuck, draw one card from the stock and try to pair it with one of the unblocked cards in the pyramid. If you cannot, discard it and draw another.

Note that there are two different discard piles in this game:

  • The matched pairs are discarded face-down and cannot be reused.
  • Drawn yet unpaired cards are discarded face-up, and the topmost can be reused.

You can match the unpaired card with a newly drawn card or any matching free card from the pyramid anytime.

Pyramid Solitaire Scoring 

There is no scoring in Pyramid Solitaire. The game has only two possible outcomes:

  1. You run out of stock without removing all the cards from the pyramid and lose.
  2. You match all the cards in the pyramid, clearing it away, and win the game.

Pyramid Solitaire Rules in Pictures

Step 1

Create a pyramid consisting of 28 face-up cards organized in 7 overlapping rows. The remaining deck is your stockpile.

Pyramid Solitaire rules 1 image

Step 2

Look for pairs of free cards with a total value of 13. It can be 10 & 3, 6 & 7, 1 & Q, etc. 

Pyramid Solitaire rules 2 image

Step 3

If you get stuck, draw one card from the stockpile and try to pair it with another free card. 

Pyramid Solitaire rules 3 image

Step 4

Use two separate waste piles: One down-facing for the matched pairs and one up-facing for unpaired cards from the stock that can be reused later.

Pyramid Solitaire rules 4 image

Step 5

You win the game if you remove all the cards from the pyramid. If you run out of the stockpile and still have cards in the pyramid (like in our case), you lose. 

Pyramid Solitaire rules 5 image

How to Play Pyramid Solitaire – Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pyramid Solitaire always winnable?

Pyramid Solitaire is not always winnable. Statistically, it’s much more likely you will lose the game.

How can you remove the King in Pyramid Solitaire?

In Pyramid Solitaire, King has a value of 13, so it does not need to be paired with another card. If you have an unblocked King, you can discard it straight away. 

Can you play Pyramid Solitaire with 2 decks?

Yes, you can play Pyramid Solitaire with more than 1 deck. In this case, you can either make your pyramid larger or play with a larger stock, increasing your chances of winning.

Other Pyramid Solitaire Online Resources

Other Similar Games to Pyramid Solitaire (Our Guides) 

If you like Pyramid Solitaire, we have a few guides to other single-player card games for you: 

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