Freecell Solitaire – Player’s Guide

FreeCell is a solitaire card game played using the standard 52-card deck. It is fundamentally different from most solitaire games in that very few deals are unsolvable, and all cards are dealt face-up from the very beginning of the game.

Construction and layout

  • One standard 52-card deck is used.
  • There are four open cells and four open foundations. Some alternate rules use between one and ten cells.
  • Cards are dealt face-up into eight cascades, four of which comprise seven cards each and four of which comprise six cards each. Some alternate rules will use between four and ten cascades.

Building during play

  • The top card of each cascade begins a tableau.
  • Tableaux must be built down by alternating colors.
  • Foundations are built up by suit. The Foundations typically begin with Ace and are built up to King.


  • Any cell card or top card of any cascade may be moved to build on a tableau, or moved to an empty cell, an empty cascade, or its foundation.
  • Complete or partial tableaus may be moved to build on existing tableaus, or moved to empty cascades, by recursively placing and removing cards through intermediate locations.
  • Computer implementations often show this motion, but players using physical decks typically move the tableau at once.
  • The number of cards a player can move is equivalent to number of empty cells plus one, with that number doubling based on how many empty cascades there are. The mathematical equation for the number of cards that can be moved is(2M)×(N + 1), where M is the number of empty cascades and N is the number of empty cells.


The game is won after all cards are moved to their foundation piles.

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