Yukon Solitaire is a fast-paced and fun card game. Here’s a guide for beginners with rules to get you started!

If you ever wanted to learn how to play the card game known as Yukon Solitaire including rules, how to play, and how to win, you've come to the right place. Card games are one of the most pleasant ways to while away the hours. For hundreds of years, they've been helping people keep their sanity by staving off boredom. The best thing about Solitaire is that it doesn't require any other players.

When most people think of Solitaire, Klondike is what usually pops into their heads. Klondike, or Canfield, is the planet's best-known and most popular Solitaire variant.

This is perplexing because it has the lowest success rate of any version. If you're bored of this variant and are desperately searching for something new to play, consider giving Yukon Solitaire a whirl. It's a fantastic way to spend a lazy afternoon or if you need to keep yourself amused while waiting to go to your doctor's appointment.

One caveat: Yukon Solitaire is more challenging than Klondike because there's no stock or waste pile. This means you'll have to deal with the cards already on the table instead of discarding or picking up new ones.

Yukon Solitaire Rules

Object of the Game

Like most versions of Solitaire, the object is to move all the tableau cards to the four foundations. You can build your foundation piles above the tableau or to the right of it—it's your choice.


Start with a standard 52-card deck. Remove all the jokers and shuffle the deck. The tableau consists of seven columns numbered from one to seven, starting with the leftmost one. Create your tableau by dealing out 21 cards face down in columns two through seven. Arrange the cards like this:

  • One card in the second column
  • Two cards in the third column
  • Three cards in the fourth column
  • Four cards in the fifth column
  • Five cards in the sixth column
  • Six cards in the seventh column

Finish the setup by dealing the remaining 31 cards face up to the seven columns. The first column will consist of a single faceup card, and columns two to seven will have five face-down cards each.

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You can only move a card to another column if it's the opposite color and one rank above the card you're moving. Remember to turn face-down cards face up the minute you expose them. To transfer a card from the tableau to a foundation stack, the card must be on top, faceup, in ascending order, and the same suit as all the other cards in the pile.

You can move any face-up card, no matter how deep it is in a column, to another column if it creates a descending sequence of alternating colors. All the cards underneath it move as a single unit and don't need to be sequential.

For instance, if you have a red queen, red king, black seven, and red five, with the red queen being the bottom card, you can move the entire stack to another tableau pile if you can move it onto a black king. In this game, aces can only be placed on top of twos, not kings.

Empty tableau columns can only be filled by kings or a cluster of cards led by a king. You can even move a foundation card back onto the tableau—a maneuver that isn't allowed in most Solitaire variations but is in this one.

Winning the Game

You win by moving all 52 cards to the four foundation stacks. If you run out of moves, you've lost—better luck next time! Keep in mind that while you have an excellent chance at winning if you perfect your strategy, not every game is winnable. Go here if you want to play Yukon Solitaire online.

Yukon Solitaire Strategy Tips

Slow down and consider your options before rushing in to make a move. This is particularly important if you're new to the world of Solitaire. It's going to take time to figure out how the game works, and you don't want to deprive yourself of a victory by moving too fast.

Work on getting all the tableau cards face up ASAP. That's because the more cards are in play, the better the chances of winning. It's best to concentrate on moving the cards that'll give you the biggest strategic advantage instead of focusing only on the top ones. For example, transferring cards that uncover face-down ones to give you more possibilities.

If you have a king to move, work on clearing out a column for it. That way, you'll be able to park it there so it doesn't stand in your way. However, only empty a column if you have a king to place. That's because if you don't have a king to fill the unoccupied space, you'll have one less column to work with, reducing the number of moves you can make.

If you can't uncover a face-down card, focus on uncovering cards you can move to a foundation. Move the aces to the foundations as soon as possible because no other cards can go on them. Just like with kings, aces on the tableau reduce possibilities.

Yukon Solitaire Variations

  • RUSSIAN SOLITAIRE: In this variation, you can only move cards that are the same suit as the one you're transferring it to. This means that, unlike Yukon, only one card can be placed on top of a card instead of two. This makes winning more difficult.
  • ALASKA SOLITAIRE: Unlike Yukon, this variation lets you build tableau columns in either descending or ascending order. This makes this version a bit easier.
  • NINE ACROSS: There are nine columns instead of seven in this version. All other rules are the same.
  • AUSTRALIAN PATIENCE: This Yukon variant combines aspects of Scorpion, another form of Solitaire. Like Yukon, your mission is to transfer all the cards to the foundations. Unlike Yukon, each tableau column has four cards. You can even play it as a race between two players. Sub-variants of this game include allowing a single redeal of the stock (Canberra Solitaire), a different starting tableau (Brisbane Solitaire), or unlimited redeals (Tasmanian Solitaire).

Yukon Solitaire Origins

Woman playing yukon solitaire

While nobody knows exactly how this game started, some people think it might have originated in the frigid landscape of Northern Canada known as the Yukon. Like most former British territories, Canada has a rich and storied history of playing card games.

Klondike, named after the place where the gold rush started in Western Canada, was a hugely popular game in the 19th century. That's because some say settlers living in the bitter cold of the far north needed a diversion to take their minds off the bleak desolation of the wintry landscape.

Like Klondike, "Yukon" conjures up images of perpetually snow-capped mountains, forbidding glaciers, and temperatures so bone-chillingly cold that they could make your ears fall off.

The legend is that Yukon, an offshoot of Klondike, became wildly popular in the region that would later come to be called “Alaska.”

The irony is that these are the same places where turn-of-the-century settlers made mountains of money mining gold. Now, I can't guarantee you'll be drowning in cash playing Yukon. Still, I can promise you it will be a pleasurable way to spend time if you ever find yourself with a few hours to kill.