How To Play Solitaire With 2 Players

The term “solitaire” is a Latin word that originally means a widow or a solitary person. Little wonder the game of solitaire typically involves only one player. However, two players can play the Double Klondike or Patience version of the game.

Here are the steps for how to play solitaire with 2 players:

1. Get two decks of playing cards.

2. Set up the layout.

3. Decide which player goes first.

4. Deal three cards from your stockpile and start playing.

5. Move the most cards to the foundation to win.

The rest of this quick guide explains the details of each of the steps above. You’ll also learn a few tips to get the most out of the game, so keep reading.

1. Get Two Decks of Playing Cards

You’ll need two decks of 52-cards to play the competitive Double Klondike or Double Solitaire. Make sure to use two distinguishable decks – one for each player.

Choose two decks of different colors, backing designs, or font styles to make it easy for each player to quickly identify their cards.

Next, shuffle the cards. 

If you use new decks, the cards are most likely in order. You want to shuffle each deck seven times to ensure the cards achieve maximum randomness. 

While shuffling seven times is the standard recommendation, you can shuffle as many times as you like.  

It’s okay to spread out the cards facing down on a table and mix everything up (one deck at a time) before gathering them up into a pile.

bullets deck of playing cards
2 card decks of standard playing cards are all you need (minus the jokers) to have fun playing Solitaire with two players. Add some snacks and drinks on the side to have a nice weekend evening :).

2. Set Up the Layout

After shuffling the cards, go ahead and set up the layout. 

The tableau in a 2-player solitaire consists of 28 playing cards arranged in seven piles just like the standard solitaire. However, this time around, you’ll have to make two opposing tableaus with a space between them where the players will share a communal foundation.

Face the cards in each pile down except the top card, which faces up. 

Start from the left of player 1, and arrange the first pile to contain six cards facing down and one card (the top card) facing up. 

Follow up with another pile containing five down-facing cards and one up-facing card. Continue this pattern until the seventh pile, which should contain only one card facing up. 

Repeat the same thing for player 2 and place the remaining cards in a stockpile or Hand. 

Some of the terms above may sound strange, especially if you’re new to solitaire. So, here’s a table of a few important solitaire terminologies and their meanings to help you grasp the concept better.

DeckA set of playing cards consisting of 52 cards.
SuitCards with 13 ranks from Ace, 2, through 10, Jack, Queen, and King. There are four suits in a deck of 52 cards (spades, clubs, hearts, and diamonds).
LayoutThe initial card pattern on the playing table before players start to make their moves.
Stockpile or HandThe term refers to cards that aren’t part of the layout
DealThe term means to take cards from the stockpile or hand and add them to the layout.
PileA pile of cards.
FoundationThe foundation consists of a suit from Ace to King. Players move cards from the tableau to the foundations to win the game.
TableauThe area consisting of several card piles where players can move cards while finding the best opportunities to place the cards on the foundations.
FanThe term means spreading out the cards in a pile to make them visible. Cards are “fanned” down in most cases, but players can also spread them up, left, or right.
Table: Most important Solitaire terminologies

3. Decide Which Player Goes First

Once the layout is complete, each player checks their one-pile card. The player with the lower card on the one-pile card will be the first to deal cards. 

If there’s a tie on the one-pile cards, move on to other piles (two-pile, three-pile, etc.) to determine which player should deal first. 

Alternatively, you can simply flip a coin to decide who plays first.

4. Deal Three Cards From Your Stockpile and Start Playing

The first player starts the game by dealing three cards at a time from the stockpile. Decide where to place the top card from the stockpile on your tableau or foundation.

You can only play a black card on a red card, or vice versa. 

The correct way to play the game is to build down on your tableau in alternating colors and in descending rank order. In other words, red Queen goes on black King; black Jack goes on red Queen; red 10 goes on black Jack, and so on.

Aces are the lowest cards in the deck. Once you reveal them, move the aces to the foundations. 

Your goal is to build the cards up in their suits when they get to the foundations. For example, you can start building from red Ace, red 2, and red 3 until red King.

The other player takes a turn to play once you’re out of moves.

Apart from the number of decks and piles, Double Solitaire is almost the same as the standard solitaire. The rules are also pretty much the same.

Here’s a table showing the main differences between the solitaire (Klondike) and the Double Klondike variant. 

ElementSolitaireDouble Klondike
DeckOne 52-card packTwo 52-card packs
Number of foundationsFourEight
Number of piles in the tableauSevenSeven or Nine (depending on the variation)
DifficultyDifficult to winEasier to win
Game durationRelatively shorterRelatively longer
Table: Main differences between Solitaire Klondike and Double Klondike

5. Move the Most Cards to the Foundation To Win

Continue taking turns to play until one player completes the foundation piles. Usually, the player who first completes all four of their foundation piles is the winner.

However, it may be impossible to finish the game in some cases. If this happens, the player who moves the most cards to the foundation wins. 

In addition to the two-deck or Double Klondike variation, solitaire has many other popular variations in different parts of the world, which shows just how popular the game really is. 

Here’s a table showing the different types of solitaire.

Game TypeNameExamples
Competitive GamesDouble Solitaire (Double KlondikeSplit, Russian Bank, Nerts
Open GamesOpen PackersEight Off, Fortress, Baker’s Dozen, Baker’s Game, Beleaguered Castle, FreeCell
Open GamesOpen BuildersBlack Hole, Archway, Salic Law, Intrigue, Crescent, Stalactites
Open GamesOpen Non-BuildersMaze, Gay Gordons, Gaps, Fourteen Out, Nestor
Half-Open GamesPackersStonewall, Heads and Tails, Four Corners, Box Kite, Agnes, Martha
Half-Open GamesBuildersPicture Gallery, Virginia Reel, Interregnum, Tournament
Half-Open GamesSpidersRouge et Noir, Spider, German Patience, Simple Simon, Scorpion
Half-Open GamesBlockadesBritish Blockade, Babette, Labyrinth
Half-Open GamesPlannersImaginary Thirteen, Frog, Sir Tommy, Colorado, Calculation, Jubilee, Poker Squares
Closed GamesSimple PackersFour Seasons, Red and Black, Big Ben, Congress, Diplomat, Batsford, Emperor
Closed GamesSimple BuildersThe Clock, Amazons, Precedence, Auld Lang Syne, Quadrille, Birthday
Closed GamesReserved PackersQueen of Italy, American Toad, The Plot, Seven Devils, Acme, Canfield, Alhambra
Closed GamesReserved BuildersPatriarchs, Sultan, Eagle Wing, Odd and Even, Carpet, Pyramid, Golf
Closed GamesClosed Non-BuildersRoyal Flush, Accordion, Good Thirteen, Eight Cards, Hit or Miss, Decade
Table: Different types (variations) of Solitaire
Video: Solitaire: Double Solitaire / Klondike Head-to-Head

Tips for Playing Double Solitaire

The game’s goal is to use all your cards to build the foundations by moving cards from your tableau and stockpile onto the foundation.

Here are a few tips to help you quickly achieve this objective:

  • Use the cards on the tableau first. It’s usually better to look for opportunities to play cards from the tableau before attempting to play from the stockpile. 
  • Build the foundations evenly. Try to play cards to easily get them in order both in the tableau and foundations. For example, reserve a red 9 if you still have a black 8 that can go on it. 
  • Focus on exposing face-down cards. Your strategy should include making moves that’ll quickly expose face-down cards. Sometimes, that might mean playing unevenly.

If you want to get better at 2 deck solitaire, then check this article for strategies that will teach you how to win more often.

How Many Players Can Play Double Solitaire?

2 players can play Double Solitaire, since it is a 2-player version of the popular solo game of solitaire. It requires arranging two decks of 52 standard playing cards in separate layouts, and each player takes a turn to make a series of moves, just like in the regular solitaire.

Double Solitaire is arguably more fun to play than the solo version because it’s more competitive. Players go head-to-head and try to complete foundations or move the most cards possible. 

In fast-paced Double Solitaire, both players make moves simultaneously, racing to complete the foundations as quickly as possible. Winning this type of game requires speed, attentiveness, and the ability to count very fast. 

Although Klondike (or Patience) is the most well-known version of solitaire, there are other variants of the game, many of which involve more than one player. 

Here are some other popular multiplayer solitaire versions apart from Double Klondike or Double Solitaire:

  • Nerts. Originally known as Racing Demon, the Nerts variation is a fast-paced, highly-competitive game of solitaire. It usually involves two to eight or even players, as long as there’s enough space to accommodate everyone and each player has a deck of cards.  
  • Russian Bank. The Russian Bank version involves two players and two decks of 52 playing cards, and the player who gets rid of 48 cards while completing their piles wins.
  • Spit. The Spit is a 2-player, shedding-type solitaire version where each player tries to quickly get rid of all their cards before their opponent. You’ll need manual dexterity, alertness, and good speed to play and win the game because there’s no waiting for your turn in this solitaire variation. Both players make their moves simultaneously and as fast as possible.
  • Spite and Malice. Also known as Cat and Mouse, the Spite and Mice solitaire is suitable for two to four players, with each player having a separate deck of 52 cards. This competitive solitaire version originates from the Russian Bank variation, but instead of dealing 28 cards like in Double Solitaire, each player has 26 cards. The player to move all their cards from the goal pile to the playing pile first wins.

How Many Cards Does Each Player Deals in Double Solitaire?

Each player deals 28 cards in separate layouts in Double Solitaire. The cards are in seven piles, all facing down, except the top cards. The first pile has only one card; the second has two, and so on. The seventh pile consists of seven cards.

Either player can move cards to the foundation piles between the layouts. 

The moves and rules in Double Solitaire are the same as those in regular solitaire. However, players can play the game in two modes. 

One mode involves playing as fast as possible to see who finishes first. This variation is known as simultaneous solitaire. 

Alternatively, they can take turns to play until one person wins or there are no more moves. If there are no more moves, the player who moves the most cards wins. 

Can You Play Solitaire With a Group?

You can play solitaire with a group in simultaneous solitaire. You can play in a group of up to seven players. Each player plays the game with a deck of 52 cards. The moves are similar to the Solo and Double Solitaire, so it’s not too difficult to learn, even in a group.

The difference is in the way players make their moves. Instead of taking turns, all the players make their moves simultaneously. 

Each player makes their move as fast as possible until one player completes their foundation and wins the game. Other players can continue playing for second place, third place, etc. 


Can two players play solitaire? Yes, indeed. Two players can play the Double Solitaire version. The game is highly competitive and requires plenty of skills to win.

In addition to understanding the rules, some of the most important steps for playing the game include:

  • Starting with two decks of different colors or patterns.
  • Getting the layout correct.
  • Dealing cards and taking turns moving cards between the different areas of the layout.