Tens Solitaire (Take Ten Solitaire)

The complete rules for the card game Tens Solitaire, also known as Take Ten

Hands shuffling cards, close-up
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Tens Solitaire is a very quick card game, generally played in about two minutes. It's almost entirely dependent on luck, and players should win about 12.5 percent of the time. It is also known as 'Take Ten Solitaire'.

Tens is closely related to the solitaire card game Block Ten. The player removes pairs of cards that add up to 10 or sets of four matching cards for cards ten, jack, queen, and king. Suits don't matter. It is suitable for children who are able to add card pairs to the sum of ten. However, given that they are going to lose most of the time and there isn't any skill involved, do you really want them to learn those lessons? On the other hand, it is a way for them to practice adding to 10.

  • Players: This is a solitaire game for one player.
  • Deck: Tens Solitaire is played with a standard 52-card deck.
  • Goal: The goal is to deal the entire deck onto the table without reaching an impasse.

Setup for Tens Solitaire

Shuffle the deck. Deal 13 cards face up in two rows of five cards each and one row of three cards. All 13 cards should be visible and accessible. NOTE: Some people prefer to make the game easier by using 15 cards, dealing three rows of five cards each.

Set the remaining cards to the side, face down, to form the draw pile.

Gameplay for Tens Solitaire

You may discard any two face-up cards which add up to 10 (i.e., Ace and 9, 2 and 8, 3 and 7, 4 and 6, 5 and 5). You may also discard any set of four matching face cards (i.e.: four Jacks, four Queens, four Kings).

Replace all discarded cards with the top cards from the draw pile.

If you get all 52 cards onto the table, you win. Give yourself a big congratulations, as it probably won't happen more than one in ten times.

If you lose, it's simply proof that math exists. There is no skill involved in playing Tens and nothing you can do to alter the course of fate in the game. Except, of course, not be able to spot matching pairs that add up to 10 or four of the same face cards or tens.

Variations and Similar Games

Block Ten is a similar game of matching and removing pairs that add up to ten, and pairs of face cards, but you can't remove the tens. It's even harder to win than Tens. The tens block the 9-card tableaux so you run out of moves faster. It's also completely based on luck rather than skill.

Simple Pairs is an easier matching game as you don't have to do any addition, simply match pairs of the same value and remove them from the 9-card tableaux. It has about a 24 percent chance of winning, so it is bound to be less frustrating. However, it is also simply based on luck rather than skill.