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How to Play Pyramid Game

Pyramid game is among the top Solitaire games played all over the world. The game has gained tremendous popularity in the past couple of years as software, and web technologies have allowed for quicker layouts, shuffling and gameplays.

Pyramid Game / Pyramid Solitaire

The objective is simple and is same as every other Solitaire card game; to remove the cards from the layout to the foundation. In a pyramid game, it is to remove pairs of cards that add up to the value of 13 from the layout. A standard deck of 52 cards is traditionally used to play this game. However, even if you use a Spanish deck of 48 cards, you have to make pairs of 13.


The name of the game is derived from the layout of the cards. The dealing begins with 1 card dealt face up with two cards covering it – again face up. Similarly, the third row will comprise 3 cards covering the previous two cards, and the laying of rows continues till the 7th row. There is a total of 28 cards in the pyramid.


Once the pyramid is set, you will have a pile of remaining 24 cards. These cards are kept to the right of the layout and are known as the stockpile. One card can be picked at a time from the stockpile to match with the cards present in the pyramid. If no match is made, the card from stockpile can be moved to the foundation pile (to the left of the pyramid).


The game ends when there are no more stock cards remaining and all options to match the cards present in the pyramid have been exhausted. The score is calculated on basis of the number of cards present face up in the pyramid. The ideal score in a pyramid game is zero.

Card Value

A standard deck values the King as the highest at 13. All numbering cards are valued at their denominations with Ace having 1 point. Jack and Queen have respective values of 11 and 12. All matches adding up to 13 can be removed to the foundation pile irrespective of their suit. For instance, a 3 and 10 make a possible match as does a Queen and an Ace. A King can be removed without pairing with any other card as it already has a value of 13.

How To Play

pyramid solitaire

The purpose of the game is to match all available cards that add up to 13 to remove them to the foundation pile. A game is won when the pyramid leaves with no cards to be matched.

The play begins with the 7 cards in the last row. You should exhaust all options to match these cards before turning to the stock pile. Once a card is dealt from the stock pile and not used, it can be moved to the foundation pile. In some relaxed variations, cards that have not been used from the stockpile are placed in a waste pile to match later.

It is important that you match only the available cards as these contribute to a legal move. Also, only two cards can be matched to create a 13 and be removed to the foundation pile.

Available Cards

pyramid solitaire

All cards that are face up with no other card blocking them are available to play. The topmost card of the stock pile and all 7 cards of the last row are available to play immediately. However, the cards on the upper rows shall be available only when both cards from the next row blocking the card are matched and removed.In some relaxed versions, if there is one card blocking a card of the upper row and if both add up to 13, then they can be removed to the foundation pile as a valid match. For instance, if there is only an Ace blocking a Queen and no other card, then the Ace and Queen can be matched and removed to the foundation pile. However, this is a very relaxed variant of the traditional pyramid game.

Common Online Versions

Atlantic Quest Solitaire

Multiple online pyramid games can have their own version of this game with undo buttons and other features. The originality of a game does not matter as long as you stay thoroughly entertained and thrilled.The usual online version of pyramid solitaire will allow you to play from the stock pile by moving cards not used into a waste pile. The waste pile will act as another available pile which can be dealt again when all cards are exhausted. Hence, you get multiple tries to empty your pyramid and win the game.

Also, some options might allow you to undo your moves as many times as you want to get back to that one move which made you lose. You can re-play from that move and change the course of the game.

Online games also have an added advantage of storing your winning details. This can make it easier for you to compete against yourself and beat your score. You can compete with other people as well by listing your score on the global scoreboard.

Tips, Strategies, & More

Pyramid solitaire combines things such as luck, astuteness, and a knack for calculation. To win, you need to ensure that you match the right cards at the right time. There are many relaxed variations you can play of this game. It is important to note that all plays of the game cannot be won with a zero score. The beauty of this game is in competing with self and beating previous scores.

Here are a few tips that can help you become a champ of the pyramid game. These tips are for a traditional game of pyramid solitaire in which only 1 card is removed from the waste pile which is moved to the foundation if not used.


Always start a play by matching all available cards in the pyramid. The last row has 7 cards that can be used in play immediately. It is a good option to exhaust all your options from the pyramid before looking towards the stock pile. o    Locate the King in the pyramid and remove it as soon as possible. A King needs no match as it has a value of 13 and can help you clear out the pyramid quickly. o    The idea is to remove all cards from the pyramid. Do not be hasty and work to remove one side of the pyramid. You might exhaust all matching options unknowingly for the other side. Try removing cards row-wise in an even fashion by paying equal attention to all cards available to play. There are acute strategies that many expert pyramid game players make use of. These are:

Study The Layout

An intermediate player who has experience playing pyramid games will better understand this strategy. The card game is played with a standard deck of 52 cards. Hence, by looking at the 28 cards that are face up in the pyramid, you can have a good idea of the remaining 24 cards in the stock pile. This can help you plan your game better and make moves that count.

This can also prevent you from wasting time. A quick glance can tell you if a game is possible or not. For instance, if you have a 7 in the top row that is buried under four 6s, then you know the game is impossible as you can never match the 7 on top.

Count The Ranks

Another strategy that can help your game is by counting the ranks. If there are three ranks in the pyramid, then make sure you do not play the fourth rank from the deck. This might block your chances of freeing cards from the pyramid. A good strategy to win such a hand is to free cards from the pyramid and match them among themselves.  

Stock Waste

In case you are playing a relaxed game where you have the option of a waste pile, do not match the cards from stock pile and waste pile. These piles are re-dealt, and you might have a good chance to win a hand.

3 Card Deal

Your pyramid should make up of 3 card blocks with each card being blocked by two other cards. By studying these blocks, you can better plan your moves and increase your chances of winning. The newer versions of pyramid solitaire involve more logic and planning rather than simple luck. By understanding the various plays possible in the blocks, you can increase your chances of removing all cards effectively from the pyramid and moving them to the foundation.


Pyramid solitaire has been in play for many centuries and is among the more popular games. It is fast, easy and keeps the mind occupied while providing hours of fun. It is a great way to spend a peaceful afternoon or to unwind after a long day of work. 

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