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Here’s Everything You Want to Know about Forty Thieves Solitaire

Forty Thieves solitaire, also spelled as 40 Thieves solitaire, is one of the most popular variants of solitaire. It is also known as Big Forty, Le Cadran, Roosevelt at San Juan, and Napoleon St Helena. This is one of the harder variants of solitaire. You must have a good knowledge of the game to know how to beat solitaire opponents and win contests consistently.

Forty Thieves is played with two standard card decks and no jokers. At the start of the game, the tableau is built by dealing 40 cards in 10 columns, with 4 cards in each column. Every card in the tableau columns should be placed face-up. The remaining cards are set aside to become the stockpile.


The objective of the game is to move cards from the tableau to the eight foundation piles. This has to be done in sequence from ace to king, and you have to stick to the same suit for each foundation. In other words, you’ll have to complete two full sequences of each suit to win.

How to Play:

Forty Thieves Solitaire is played with two standard card decks. This brings the total number of cards used for play to 104. The game begins with 40 cards being dealt into 10 columns on the tableau, with 4 cards in each column. The remaining 64 cards make up the stockpile.

Unlike some Thieves Solitaire variants, the Forty Thieves card game rules dictate that only one card can be moved at a time rather than stacks of cards. Additionally, only the top card of each column can be moved, either to the foundation or to another tableau column. 

The only time you’re allowed to move a card to a different tableau pile is if the card is ranked lower than the card it’s being placed upon, and it belongs to the same suit. For example, a queen of spades can be placed on a king of spades, but not on a king of clubs.

If you see no available card on the tableau, you may draw a card from the stock and add it to the discard pile. The top card of the discard pile is available for play at any time. Whenever there’s an empty column on the tableau, any available card may be played in the empty space. 

The game ends and results in a loss if you exhaust your options from the discard pile without completing the foundations.


There are many Forty Thieves variants. They all follow the basic rules of Forty Thieves.

  • Indian: It has a tableau consisting of 10 columns with three cards in each column.
  • Limited: There are 12 columns consisting of three cards in each column.
  • Little Forty: In this version, the tableau sequences can be moved entirely or in parts. In the tableau, only a lower-ranked card of a different suit than the card it is being placed upon can be added to a column.
  • Lucas: In this variant, the aces are removed to build the eight foundation piles before the cards are shuffled.
  • Maria: The tableau in this version has nine columns of four cards each.
  • Number Ten: The bottom two cards are dealt face-down in each column. Sequences in the tableau may be moved partly or wholly.
  • Rank and File: In this version, each of the 10 columns’ bottom three cards are dealt face-down.
  • Streets: In the tableau, only a lower-ranked card of a different colour than the one it is being placed upon can be added to a column.


  • Cards in the tableau are built down in the same suit.
  • Only one card can be moved at a time.
  • If there is an empty space on the tableau, it can be filled with any card.
  • You are allowed to move cards in groups to the foundation piles.
  • Cards are played individually from the stockpile to the waste pile, whose top card is available for play. There are no re-deals.
  • The building of foundation piles is in sequences from ace to king.


When you play solitaire online, you can autoplay cards by double-clicking on a foundation pile. Double-clicking on a card in the tableau column or the waste pile will move it to the appropriate foundation pile or the tableau if such a move is possible.


The Forty Thieves solitaire card games are popular with players who love online games that involve strategy. The main game is rather challenging, but its variants provide a better chance of winning.

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