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Forty Thieves Solitaire

Forty Thieves Solitaire

Game Type: Forty Thieves
Win Statistics:5%

Introduction to 40 Thieves

Forty Thieves Solitaire, also spelled 40 Thieves Solitaire, is a popular card game played around the world with two 52-card decks of standard playing cards. It's also known as Big Forty, Napoleon St Helena, Roosevelt at San Juan, and Le Cadran.
The Forty in the name comes from the number of cards dealt into the Tableau at the beginning of every game.

Forty Thieves Solitaire is a difficult game to win, requiring good problem-solving skills to master.

It's also the basis for several variants, most of which make the game easier to win, including Josephine Solitaire.


The game screen is made up of 4 different areas.

The Tableau is located in the center of the screen. It consists of 10 unmarked columns. Each column either contains a vertically overlapped pile of one or more face-up cards or is empty, depending on the current state of the game. This is where most of the action takes place during gameplay.

The Foundations are located above the Tableau. Horizontally, it consists of 8 rectangles. Each rectangle is a foundation where a suit can be built from the Ace to the King.

In the upper-left corner is the Stock. This is where the reserve cards are held that will be put into play as the game progresses. At the start of the game, it contains a squared pile of face-down cards. Directly to the right of the Stock is the Waste. When a new game begins, this area is empty.

The Stock and Waste work together in order to put reserve cards into play. Whenever the player clicks on the non-empty Stock, one card from it is automatically moved face-up into the Waste. It's not unusual to have many cards piling up in the Waste. The Waste pile is always squared, and only the top card is visible and playable. When a card is played from the Waste, the card underneath it, if there is one, becomes the new playable card.


The goal of Forty Thieves Solitaire is to build all 8 ordered suits from the Ace to the King in the Foundations.

How to Play Forty Thieves

Forty Thieves Solitaire is played with two decks of standard playing cards, for a total of 104 cards.

When the game starts, a pile of 4 face-up cards is dealt into each of the 10 columns in the Tableau. The remaining 64 cards are sent to the Stock.

An important rule of the game is that the player is only allowed to ever move one card at a time. However, in the variant called Josephine Solitaire, the player is allowed to move descending suited runs of any length within the Tableau. Other than that, the two games are identical.

No card can ever be moved to the Waste other than from the Stock. At the player's discretion, this can be done at any point during the game.

A card may be moved to the bottom of a Tableau pile, either from the Waste, a foundation, or the bottom of another Tableau pile. The target card must always be both next in rank to the card being moved and of the same suit. When a column is vacant, any card from the same sources may be moved into it.

The player is allowed to move a card to a foundation, either from the bottom of a Tableau pile or from the Waste. However, the card must fit. If the card is an Ace, it begins a new suit build, and if it's next in rank for its suit, it extends a build.


Here are nine gameplay tips on how to beat Forty Thieves Solitaire:

  • Plan your moves carefully. Attempt to find a combination of consecutive moves that accomplish some useful objectives.
  • Before making any moves, take a good look at the cards in the Tableau. Especially note where Aces and Kings are located, as well as other potential problems.
  • It's important to get Aces into foundations, and the sooner the better. Of course, Twos and Threes are also important. A game can easily be lost due to an inability to access even just one or two cards that are required to complete a build. This can happen with any rank, but it's especially devastating with low-ranked cards.
  • A King can only be removed from a pile by either sending it to a foundation or moving it into a vacant column. Both cases are not likely to occur until later in the game. Effectively then, Kings traps whatever cards they are on top of.
  • When moving a card into an empty column, a King is very often the best option. This not only frees the cards trapped beneath the King but also begins a descending build, which is in the opposite direction as in the Foundations. If not the King, then the Queen is the second-best choice to head a descending build.
  • For many reasons, vacating one or more columns should have a high priority. And once vacated, an effort should be taken to preserve them. However, it's often fruitful, even necessary, to give up an empty column in exchange for some gain.
  • Empty columns increase mobility, which is the ability to moves cards around, especially between piles. The more columns that are vacant, the greater the mobility. And the greater the mobility, the more likely the player is to have opportunities to preform beneficial ordering, which involves freeing cards, extending suited runs, sending cards to the Foundation, and whatever else will facilitate an eventual win. Before closing any column, the player should typically perform whatever productive ordering is possible and cannot be completed with one less vacant column.
  • Whenever a card is moved, there is a potential to alter the mobility of the current game state. A particular card that might have fit before might not after the move. For this reason, the player should delay moves for as long as possible to be free to take advantage of the best opportunities that arise. That said, it's always safe to send Aces and Twos to the Foundations.
  • Probably the number one reason for a loss is to have too many cards in the Waste pile, which blocks access to critical cards needed to win. As a game begins, it's almost inevitable that the Waste pile will rapidly grow. If a win is to be had, at some point, the player must begin to dismantle the Waste pile. The best time to do this is when several columns are vacant and the piles are well ordered. This brings us to what is probably that second biggest reason for losses: the inability to vacate columns.
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[ ? ]Even though winnable games are guaranteed to have a solution, the solution may not be obvious or easy
Card Games
40 Thieves

Quick Instructions

Forty Thieves Solitaire

Type: Forty Thieves
Winning Statistics: 1 in 20 (About 5%)

Goal: Move all of the cards to the foundations

Foundations: Piles:

Keyboard Shortcuts
Spacebar - Deal a new card
H - Show Hint
U / Ctrl + Z - Undo
N - Open the New Game menu
Plus/Minus - Zoom in/out
Game Paused

Play a Numbered Game

Current game's number: 213371 [ ? ]Numbered games are pre-determined deals.

Not all numbered games have a solution.

Please choose a game number between 1 and 100,000,000

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