Classic Pyramid Solitaire is a unique game that has very little in common with other forms of Solitaire. There is no process of building sequences in the tableau, no suit-based foundations, or anything else you might typically associate with Solitaire. These differences make it a really interesting and distinct way to play the game.
Whether you’re bored of Klondike or just looking for another variation, the classic Solitaire Pyramid is a great one for you to try. Today, we’re going to look at a complete guide for Pyramid Solitaire, so let’s not waste any more time.
How to Play Classic Pyramid Solitaire
In terms of where and how you can find classic Pyramid Solitaire to play, there are plenty of easily accessible and free versions online. Simply type the name of the game into a search engine, and you’ll get lots of results.
In terms of gameplay, Pyramid Solitaire is not at all like the games we more commonly call Solitaire. The aim of the game and the way you play it are very different. The name of the game comes from its tableau’s form: it contains 28 face-up cards, face up, distributed into seven rows and shaped like a Pyramid.
You then have a stockpile in the bottom left. You can draw additional cards from it if there are no suitable cards to be paired in the tableau. Close to the stockpile, there is a waste pile. It is where the unused cards from the stockpile remain.
The aim of the game is to pair up cards that total 13 when added together. When you find such a pair, these cards can go into the foundation in the bottom right and are out of play. Say you have a Three and a Ten in the starting row. You can pair these together and then move them to the foundation. Aces equal one, Jacks are 11, and Queen is 12. A King is worth 13, that is why it does not need a pair and can simply go straight to the foundation pile.
When the game starts, players usually start by looking for any matching pairs in the first row of the Pyramid. Any cards further back in the Pyramid covered by other cards must first be uncovered before they are available for play.
If you have no cards in the Pyramid that can be paired, take one or more new cards from the stockpile until you find a matching one.
You simply keep making pairs until all cards are gone, both from the tableau and stick. Now, let’s look at the specific rules of Pyramid Classic Solitaire.
Rules of Classic Pyramid Solitaire
The fundamental rules of classic Pyramid Solitaire are very simple:
- You can only move cards that do not have a card on top of them. So, you start with seven cards available for play on the bottom row of the Pyramid, and any card from the above rows has to be completely revealed before it’s available for play.
- Cards must be paired to a sum value of 13 to be removed from the Pyramid. Aces pair with Queens, Twos pair with Jacks, Threes pair with Tens, Fours with Nines, and so on.
- You can move a Pyramid card onto the card covered by it, if their value equals 13 and if the above card does not have another card still on top of it.
- Kings can simply go straight into the foundation pile and do not need to be paired. If you have a king in the Pyramid or one is dealt from the stockpile, this should simply go straight into the foundation.
- Since the tableau includes 28 cards, the stock contains the remaining 24. You can draw cards from the stockpile as many times as you like. In the classic version of the game, you only draw one card at a time, and you can entirely reset the stock once you’ve looked through every card.
So, these are all the basic rules you need to know to play the game. Let’s now look at our best tips for how to win the Pyramid Classic Solitaire.
How to Win in Classic Pyramid Solitaire
Pyramid Solitaire, like many forms of the game, requires both luck and strategy. Classic Pyramid Solitaire has an extremely low win rate—sometimes it is as low as 0.5%. It’s important to remember, then, that no matter how careful you are, the odds are stacked against you. With that said, here are the best tips to keep in mind to give yourself the best chance of winning Pyramid Solitaire.
Start With the Stockpile
Deal from the stock at the start of the game to see a bigger range of options available to you. Remember, you can deal from the stock as many times as you need to—there’s no penalty for looking through the pile.
Prioritize Tableau Cards
When having two cards of the same rank in the stockpile and in the tableau, always prioritize the tableau. This will help reveal more cards and make future moves a lot easier.
Think About Every Move Strategically
Just because you’ve found a pair you can make, doesn’t always mean making it is the right move at that moment. If, for instance, the Pyramid has three cards of the same rank, you should choose the one that uncovers more cards or better cards (or allows you to make a sequence of successful moves).
Always Eliminate Kings Straight Away
Kings don’t give you any advantage, so don’t waste any time playing them. Just get rid of them as soon as you see them to free up any cards that might be hidden in the Pyramid.
Clear the Tableau Evenly
Try to remove cards evenly from the Pyramid. It’s best if you have a balance going in the Pyramid, and don’t have one big sequence of buried cards on one side while you’ve removed all cards on the other side. This will improve your chances of winning.
Is Pyramid Solitaire Suitable for Beginners?
Pyramid Solitaire is a game that is very simple in principle and easy to pick up; mastering it is not very difficult. That said, whether you’re a pro card player or you’ve never played a game before, Pyramid Solitaire is more than accessible to you.
Types of Pyramid Solitaire?
There are two main types of Pyramid Solitaire. The version we have been talking about thus far, as mentioned, is known as the classic Pyramid Solitaire. Modern Solitaire is a version of the game with slightly more relaxed rules in an effort to make the game easier and more likely to be winnable. Within these two categories, there are many variants of the game:
In this form of the game, only the cards from the Pyramid need to be placed in the foundation. The game is considered won even if there are still cards in the stockpile, as long as the Pyramid has been cleared.
After the Pyramid is formed in this version, the rest of the deck is dealt into eight columns of three. So, there is no stockpile and only free cards in these rows are available for play, making this game a bit trickier.
Upside Down Pyramid
This is a form of classic Pyramid Solitaire, in which the initial deal is inverted. Thus, you start with only one card available for play, rather than the seven.
Classic Pyramid Solitaire is a very popular form of the game, so a lot of players, both new and old, have questions about it. Let’s answer some of the most common ones.
How hard is Pyramid Solitaire?
Pyramid Classic Solitaire is very easy to play in the sense that the rules are easy to learn. The game is easy to pick up, and whether you’re a new player or you’ve played many hours of Solitaire, you’ll be able to understand the features of Pyramid Solitaire.
Can every game of Pyramid Solitaire be won?
Every game of Pyramid Solitaire cannot be won. In fact, you are far more likely to lose than you are to win. In terms of your chances of winning the game, classic Pyramid Solitaire is extremely difficult. As mentioned, your odds of winning can be as little as 0.5%, and won’t be much higher than 5.5%.
Even if you were playing every move perfectly and did not make a single mistake, you just can’t always win. There’s strategy involved in this game, but it’s ultimately mostly down to the luck of the deal.
Why do you add to 13 in classic Pyramid Solitaire?
The reason that you must add cards to the value of 13 in Pyramid Solitaire is that this is the highest value that a single card can have. Because of the way the sequence of cards works, Kings are worth 13, so every card is going to have a matching card that brings it to this value—other than the Kings.
Pyramid Solitaire is another really fun and interesting twist on the classic Solitaire card game. It certainly doesn’t make things easy for you, and the odds are not on your side. But it’s for this very reason that many people find the game so fun. Although you can’t always win, classic Pyramid Solitaire can be a fast-paced game that you could play many times in a short period until you do!