Baker's Dozen Solitaire Card Game Rules

Woman playing solitaire, cropped view of hands and cards
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Baker's Dozen Solitaire is a simple card game that requires skill. Instead of the traditional seven stacks of cards dealt in Klondike Solitaire, Baker's Dozen Solitaire starts with 13 stacks of cards, which are called the tableaus. Other than that one difference, the play of the two versions of this ubiquitous game is similar. It also resembles the play of Good Measure Solitaire.

Baker's Dozen Solitaire is a one-person game played with a 52-card, four-suit deck of cards. The goal is to build up all four suits from ace to king in four foundation piles. The four foundations start the game empty.

Setting Up the Tableau

To setup Baker's Dozen Solitaire, first deal a row of 13 cards, face up. Then deal three more rows, each row overlapping the previous one. When you are finished, all 52 cards are visible in 13 columns of four each. This creates the 13 tableaus. There are no hidden cards in this game. Move the kings to the bottommost position of their respective tableaus before play begins, so they don't block play.

Playing a Card on a Foundation

As an ace becomes available in one tableau—no other card covers it—play the ace above the tableaus in one of four areas for the foundations to start that foundation. Cards of the same suit may be played whenever they are available in the tableaus on each ace in the foundation in ascending order, from low to high. The ultimate goal is to end up with four foundation piles of ace to king.

Only cards in a tableau that are completely uncovered may be played on a foundation position or another tableau.

Once a card is played on a foundation, it can't be removed.

Playing on the Tableau

When any one of the uncovered cards in the tableaus can be played on a foundation position, you may play it. If no cards can be moved to the foundation or strategy suggests you not move a card, play one of the tableau cards on the next-highest card of a different suit, regardless of suit or color. For example, the 9 of hearts can be played on the 10 of diamonds, clubs or spades, but not on the 10 of hearts.

When a column in the tableau is emptied, it remains empty. 

Continue to play cards from the tableaux, either to the foundation or to another position in the tableaus.

Winning

You win Baker's Dozen Solitaire by building all four foundation suits up from ace to king, at which point all the tableaus are empty.

Variations

There are several variations of this game. The most common variation, sometimes seen in electronic versions of the game, does not move the kings to the bottom of the tableaus when they are dealt, but it allows you to move a king to an empty tableau when all its cards have been played. No other card can be moved to an empty tableau.