Klondike is a patience game (solitaire card game). In the U.S. and Canada, Klondike is the best-known solitaire card game, to the point that most use of the term "solitaire", in the absence of additional qualifiers specifying which game, is typically referring to Klondike. The game rose to fame in the late 19th century, being named "Klondike" after the Canadian region where a gold rush happened. It is rumored that the game was either created or popularized by the prospectors in Klondike.
Klondike is played with a standard 52-card deck, without Jokers. After shuffling, seven piles of cards are laid from left to right. Each pile begins with one upturned card. From left to right, each pile contains one more card than the last. The first and left-most pile contains a single upturned card, the second pile contains two cards (one downturned, one upturned), the third contains three (two downturned, one upturned), and so on, until the seventh pile which contains seven cards (six downturned, one upturned). The remaining cards form the stock, and are placed facedown at the upper left of the layout.
The four foundations (light rectangles in the upper right of the figure) are built up by suit from Ace (low in this game) to King, and the tableau piles can be built down by alternate colors. Every face-up card in a partial pile, or a complete pile, can be moved, as a unit, to another talon pile on the basis of their 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, at which time the player would have won. There are different ways of dealing the remainder of the deck from the stock to the talon, here are a few:
- Turning three cards at once to the talon, with no limit on passes through the deck.
- Turning three cards at once to the talon, with three passes through the deck.
- Turning one card at a time to the talon, with three passes through the deck.
- Turning one card at a time to the talon with only a single pass through the deck, and playing it if possible.
- Turning one card at a time to the talon, with no limit on passes through the deck.
Tips & Tricks
- For a standard game of Klondike, drawing three cards at a time and placing no limit on the number of re-deals, the number of possible hands is over 8x1067, or an 8 followed by 67 zeros.
- About 79% of the games are theoretically winnable, but in practice, human players do not win 79% of games played, due to wrong moves that cause the game to become unwinnable. If one allows cards from the foundation to be moved back to the tableau, then between 82% and 91.5% are theoretically winnable.
- Another recent study has found the Draw 3, Re-Deal Infinite to have a 83.6% win rate after 1000 random games were solved by a computer solver. The issue is that a wrong move cannot be known in advance whenever more than one move is possible.
- The number of games a skilled player can probabilistically expect to win is at least 43%. Some games are "unplayable" in which no cards can be moved to the foundations even at the start of the game; these occur in only 0.25% (1 in 400) of hands dealt.
Cards & Boards