Poker Solitaire Rules

A Solitaire Card Game With a Poker Twist

Poker Solitaire layout
By Дмитрий Фомин (Dmitry Fomin) (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Poker solitaire is a fun card game that is exactly what it sounds like. It incorporates the one-person game of solitaire with the elements of poker. While it sounds a bit unusual, it's easy to learn the rules and it's actually a good way to practice memorizing poker hands.

The Basics

Players: 1 player

Deck: A standard 52-card deck

Goal: To score as many points as possible by developing poker hands in a five by five grid.

Setup: Shuffle the deck and set it on the table to form the draw pile.

Gameplay

Deal cards off the top of the draw pile one at a time, forming a five by five grid on the table. The goal is to place cards so they create the highest scoring poker hand possible in each column and row.

There are two ways to handle placement of the cards. The first makes for a more challenging game.

The first option involves "pre-marking" the five by five grid. Once you place a card, its position in the grid is set and can never be changed. New cards can only be played within the outer confines of the grid. Many software versions of poker solitaire use this option.

  • Example: You place the 10 of hearts in the upper left corner of the grid. You can never play any card above or to the left of the 10 of hearts.

Using the second option, once a card is placed, its position relative to other cards can never be changed. However, the outer boundaries of the grid are not set and final until one column has five cards and one row has five cards.

This means that your grid can temporarily move around the table until the foundation of your grid is set.

  • Example: You place the K of clubs next to the 6 of hearts. Those two cards will always be next to each other. Their position, however, could be the top left of the grid, the top right, the bottom left, the bottom right, or anywhere else, until the size of the grid makes such flexibility impossible.

    Scoring

    Scoring is not strictly based on poker hands. Instead, it's based on how hard it is to make these hands in the game of poker solitaire.

    Each column and each row are scored according to the following chart, for a total of 10 scores. No points are awarded for diagonals.

    • Royal Flush: 50
    • Straight Flush: 30
    • Four of a Kind: 16
    • Straight: 12
    • Full House: 10
    • Three of a Kind: 6
    • Flush: 5
    • Two Pairs: 3
    • One Pair: 1

    Alternative Scoring

    There are many variations on scoring in poker solitaire. The one below is more in line with traditional poker hands. It does not, however, accurately reflect the unique challenges of poker solitaire.

    • Royal Flush: 100
    • Straight Flush: 75
    • Four of a Kind: 50
    • Full House: 25
    • Flush: 20
    • Straight: 15
    • Three of a Kind: 10
    • Two Pairs: 5
    • One Pair: 2

    How to Win

    There really is no set way to win a hand of poker solitaire. Instead, the goal is to play several games and see how high you can score.