Top 17 Most Entertaining Single-Player Card Games

Single-Player Card Games - Cover Photo

No, we haven’t gone insane! There exist games you might ACTUALLY play by yourself. We know most of you think that card games are made to banish boredom between people at parties, and that’s correct, that’s what some of them are, but you deserve something special to play individually! 

We filtered all we found and only made a list of the best games. Besides game characteristics, we’ll also tell you how to play each one of them, so you’ll find everything in one place. What we like best about these card games is that they help with your self-confidence, help you concentrate, create stronger strategies, and also work amazingly well as stress relievers.

Take a look at our table of contents:

  • The games:
  1. Solitaire;
  2. Devil’s Grip;
  3. Street & Alleys;
  4. Emperor;
  5. Baker’s Dozen;
  6. Four Seasons;
  7. Pyramid;
  8. Canfield;
  9. Accordion; 
  10. The Idiot;
  11. Roll Call;
  12. Memory;
  13. Napoleon at St.Helena;
  14. Cribbage Squares;
  15. Yukon;
  16. Hope;
  17. Clock;
  • Interesting facts to know;
  • Conclusion;

1. Solitaire

Solitaire

Set-up: 

Use a 52-cards deck. Start by placing one card face-up, and 6 more cards face-down in a row to the right. Add more cards on top of these 6 cards, so you have 2 cards on the second card, 3 cards on the third card, and so on. Turn the top card of each pile over. Make a place for foundation piles, and leave the remaining deck aside. 

Playing the game:

You may start by placing one card on top of another card, only if that card is 1 higher, and has a different color from the card you’re about to play. Continue moving cards until you have one Ace. It should be placed on the foundation pile. You should place other cards in that pile, based on the sequential order, and they should all be the same suit. So, if that first Ace was a diamond, all the others on top of it should be diamonds too. 

If you’re stuck and have no card to play, turn over 3 cards of the remaining deck. Once you have another Ace of a different suit, you start the other foundation pile. Your goal on Solitaire is to make 1 pile per suit, which means 4 foundation piles of different suits.  

2. Devil’s Grip

Devil's Grip

Set-up:

Shuffle 2 decks of cards (Aces removed). Make 3 rows of 8 face-up cards on the table. The remaining cards create the stock of the game.

Playing the game:

There are specific orders for each row. On the first row, there should be a sequence of 2, 5, 8, J of the same suit. The second row should have 3, 6, 9, Q or the same suit, and the last one should have a sequence of 4, 7, 10, K. You may swap any 2 cards you want between rows. You may also move one card on top of another if it fits the order. 

For example, if you have a 3 on the second row, you may place a 6 of the same suit on top of it. When you move cards, you replace their empty space with the top card of the stockpile. The game continues until there are no moves left. When that happens, count the cards of the stock, and calculate your score.

3. Street & Alleys

Streets & Alleys

Set-up:

Once again, take a 52-cards classic deck. Make 2 columns (with a room in-between) of 4 cards, faceup. Continue placing other cards on top of the initial ones, until you have 7 cards in each stack on the left column, and 6 on the right.  

Playing the game:

If you already know how to play solitaire, this is way easier to understand. In that room between 2 columns, you have to make the foundation piles, starting with Aces of 4 different suits. You may also move cards from one stack to another, only if that card is one rank higher. Place cards on the foundation piles, based on the sequence and the suit. 

Stacks may get empty because you move cards. When that happens, you should move any card from any other stack to fill the emptiness. If you manage to arrange all the cards in order in each foundation pile, you win. If you get stuck with no moves left, the game is lost. 

4. Emperor 

Emperor

Set-up:

Get your 2 decks of classic cards. Place 10 cards face-down in a horizontal row. Place 3 other cards on top of each initial card, and flip the 4th card of each stack over. Let the remaining deck aside. 

Playing the game: 

There are 3 ways of moving the cards. The first one is moving cards to the foundation piles, just as in the previous games. The second one is placing one higher-ranked card on top of a lower one. Last but not least is playing on the waste pile, meaning, you play cards from the deck, and whenever a card can be useful, you place it on top of another card, or into the foundation piles.

Remember that when a face-up card moves somewhere else, the face-down card underneath it gets turned over. If you move all your cards, in all possible ways, into the foundation piles, you win (you’re not competing with anyone but, anyway). On the other hand, if you have no moves left, you’ve lost!

5. Baker’s Dozen

Baker's Dozen

Set-up:

Using a full deck of cards, make 13 stacks of 4 cards each. Cards are added on top of the previous one, but each card should be visible. Next, wherever you have Kings, place them on the bottom of the stack, so they’d be the first cards.

Playing the game:

Just as we talked about earlier, cards may get moved from one stack to another. Keep in mind that this action can be made only by top cards, and only if they’re one rank lower than the cards they’re being moved to. Once again, you have to make the foundation piles, starting with Aces and ending with Kings. Each foundation should have its specific suit. 

Once a card gets moved to a foundation pile, it can’t be moved back, we bet you know that! Different from the other games, once you move all cards from a stack, you don’t have to place another card on it, to fill in the space. The goal is already known: move all the cards to the foundation piles, making 4 piles of each suit. 

6. Four Seasons

Four Seasons

Set-up:

You may also find this game as Vanishing Cross. Start by placing 5 cards in a cross formation (tableaus), and four other cards in the corners, making the foundation piles. Keep the remaining cards in your hand, so you can start playing them into the discard pile.

Playing the game:

You may add cards into the foundation piles, only if they’re in sequential order, starting from Ace to King. Just as in the games we mentioned before, you’re free to move cards between tableaus, without regard to the suit, but by checking the cards’ value. Isn’t it the same as some others we mentioned? Well, there’s a little trick in this game… 

This time, the rank of the first card on an empty foundation pile and the rank of the card placed in the initial layout must match. Let’s say your first card on the foundation pile is a 5. This means that the other fives in the game must be played on the other empty piles. Pretty simple, huh? As you learned already, the goal is to move all your cards into foundation piles. 

7. Pyramid

Pyramid

Set-up:

Make a pyramid of 28 cards. Start it with 7 cards on the bottom row, and continue until you have 1 card on top. All cards are face-up. Place the remaining cards aside.

Playing the game:

Considering the pyramid and the drinks, we may say this drinking game is a bit similar to Ride The Bus. Anyways, what you’ll try to do during the game, is discard cards that add up to 13. You may combine cards from the pyramid rows, or the draw pile, revealing one at a time. If you play one card from the draw pile, and it doesn’t help you with anything, you draw the next card. 

Keep in mind that Aces are worth 1 point, Jakes 11 points, Queens 12 points, and Kings 13. Various combinations are possible: a Queen and an Ace, an eight and a five, or even a King standing alone. The only important thing is that the sum of their value ends up at 13. If it doesn’t, you can’t discard cards. There are two ways of winning the game: all cards get removed from the pyramid, or the draw pile gets exhausted.

8. Canfield

Canfield

Set-up:

Do we need to remind you a 52-card deck is required? Deal 13 cards face-down on the table, and turn over the top card. Place that deck somewhere on the table. Next, draw 4 other cards on the same horizontal line, making the layout. Place one other card up the layout, this is what we call the foundation pile.

Playing the game:

Based on the first foundation pile card dealt at the beginning, that’s the starting card for the other 3 foundation piles as well. You may move cards from the layout to the foundation piles. That empty place created, can be filled with another card from the stockpile or the draw deck. You may also move cards between layouts, only if the card is one lower than the initial one, but opposite colors. 

Also, it’s acceptable to move cards directly from the stockpile into the foundation piles. If you think you need more cards, you may use the draw deck. Flip over the top 3 cards every time the game needs a refresh. Your game ends whenever you move all the cards into the foundation piles. 

9. Accordion

Accordion

Set-up:
Shuffle the deck and start flipping over the top cards of the deck. Yes. That’s all. We’ll tell you more about the gameplay in a bit. 

Playing the game:

Flip over the top card of the deck and place it on the table. That’s what you do with the following cards as well. The goal of Accordion is to have the least possible piles of cards at the end of the game. You may do it by stacking cards. That is done in several ways. Stacking cards is possible if you have 2 neighbor cards that have the same rank, or the same suit. 

Let’s say you just flipped a 2♣, and then a 2♦, you may place the second 2 on top of the first one. Another mechanic of stacking cards, by sit or rank, besides neighbor cards, is if these two cards are 3 cards in between. Here’s an example: if you already have 3♣, A♦, 5♠, and now you’ve drawn a 5♣, you may either stack it with the neighbor 5♠ or with the 3♣, matching suits.

10. The Idiot

The Idiot

Set-up:

Start the game by dividing the cards into 4 decks. There’s nothing else complicated about the set-up, humans!

Playing the game:

Besides Fyodor Dostoevksi’s novel, there’s also a card game named ‘The Idiot’! This remains one of the simplest, and yet pretty enjoyable ones. After finishing with the set-up, take one card out of each pile and lay them down. If you have more than 1 visible card of each suit in these piles, make sure to remove the lowest-ranked one, so you’ll be left with only 1 card of each suit.     

Next, place 4 new cards on top of the existing ones, and repeat the same process all over again. Once there are no cards on a pile, make sure you take one from other piles and fill the empty place. The goal of the game is undoubtedly getting Aces at the bottom of each pile. 

11. Roll Call

Roll Call

Set-up:

Easy peasy lemon squeezy, all you gotta do for the set-up is shuffle the deck and hold the cards face-down in your hand. 

Playing the game:

Start by playing cards one by one, turning them over on the table. Every time you draw a card, you say a number. Simply, you gotta start counting out loud Ace, 2, 3,… to King, and repeat it all over again, every time you draw cards. Now, whenever the number you just said, and the card you played have matching numbers, you throw away that card, you call it. So, if you’re counting and you said 4, and the current card is a 4, throw away that 4! 

Once you play all the cards, take the pile again in your hands, without shuffling them or grabbling the order of cards. Repeat the same process anew: count Ace-King, play & throw cards, start again with the remaining cards. When you’re out of cards, meaning, you’ve thrown them all, you win. Otherwise, if you take several attempts and still can’t match, just end the game peacefully… 

12. Memory

Memory

Set-up:

Shuffle a deck of standard cards, or even 2, if you want the game to last longer. Without seeing the cards, place them face down on the table, making horizontal and vertical rows. 

Playing the game:

I’m pretty sure you have played memory card games several times. Start by turning over two cards at a time. If these two match, collect and place them aside. If they don’t match, turn them face-down again, and start flipping over cards. As you can see, the point is remembering what you turned over lately, and where is its place. This makes it easier for you to create combos. 

The game ends whenever all cards have created duos, and you have placed them in the pile. The more decks you use, the more complicated the game becomes.  In the beginning, you obviously will just flip cards without even analyzing, but later on, you keep memorizing the cards, so you combine them. 

13. Napoleon At St. Helena

Napoleon At St. Helena

Set-up:

Use 2 packs of classic cards and shuffle them together. Remove 4 Kings from the created deck, and place them in the center of the table. Next, remove 4 aces and place them underneath the Kings. Divide the other remaining cards (96) into 12 piles, 8 cards per pile. Place them below, above, and on the sides of Kings & Aces.

Playing the game:

Now look, you should remember that Kings build down sequentially, meaning, King, Queen, Jack, and so on. On the other hand, Aces build-up, so, it goes Ace, 2, 3, to King. All cards placed on top of Kings and Aces should have the same suit as the card on bottom. You may move cards between tableaus, but, most importantly, move into the 2 center rows. 

Once you run out of moves, you may gather the tableaus cards (on the sides and below/above Kings and Aces), shuffle, and deal them again on the table. You continue the same process until you have moved all the cards into foundation piles, 8 possible ones. You get it now, why do you need 2 packs, right?

14. Cribbage Squares

Cribbage Squares

Set-up:

Make a 4×4 cards grid on the table. Then, place the remaining cards below, and turn over the top card. 

Playing the game:

It’s important that cards are arranged well. They must touch horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. The game goal is to have a good score. Easy to guess, huh? But, how to do that? Each row and column created in this game has its worth. You may create pairs, fifteens, runs, flushes (just as in poker terms), his nobs, his heels, and many other combinations possible.

Anyways, similar to the other card game, Cribbage, there’s a score goal. You may continue as long as you want, but a good total score would be 61. Make the grid, combine cards, use cards from the draw pile, make the valuable combinations, and win the game! 

15. Yukon

Yukon

Set-up: 

Shuffle the 52 cards, deal 28 cards on the table, creating 7 piles. The first pile has 1 card, the second one has 2 cards, and so on, so the last pile has 7 cards. Turn the top card of each pile up. Place the remaining cards face-up on the last 6 piles, equally.

Playing the game: 

After you’ve created the piles, you should always remember the foundation piles. So, after you see the cards, if an Ace is on top, you move that above the cards, creating the foundation pile. You already know that there should be 4 foundation piles, 1 of each suit. It is possible to move cards between piles, but only if they’re different colors.

The ‘trick’ of the game is that if you want to move a card to another pile, but you have other non-sequential cards on top, you can move them all together. You may just end the game when you run out of moves, or you may also continue until you’ve placed all your cards into foundation piles. 

16. Hope

Hope

Set-up:

Use a piquet deck of cards, or a standard deck, with 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s removed. Shuffle the deck and start playing.

Playing the game:

What you gotta do first is decide on a suit, any of the 4 possible suits you want. I’d personally pick hearts <3. Since your deck of cards should be face-down, you start by turning over the top 3 cards. Take some seconds to analyze if any of the cards have the heart’s suit. If yes, set them apart. Turn over 3 more cards, set aside the heart-suited cards, in the same place as the previous ones. Repeat this process 5 times, and then shuffle the deck again (without the ‘special cards’).

This whole cycle, starting from shuffling the deck, turning over the top 3 cards, setting the special suit cards aside, drawing 3 more cards, repeating it 5 times, should be done 3 times. If after these 3 total rounds you’ve set aside all the hearts (in our case), you win. Otherwise, if you have any heart left in your hand, you’ve lost… Shall we never lose hope!

17.   Clock

Clock

Set-up:

Arrange all cards (face-down) as if it’s a clock. The cards will be moved into piles starting from Aces (1) to Queen (12). The extra pile, the thirteenth, King, is the pile in the center of the circle.

Playing the game:  

Start the game by turning over the top card of the center pile. Check what that card is, and make sure you place it in its pile. Let’s say the top card turns out to be an Ace, you gotta place it in the bottom of the first pile, the Aces. Next, turn over the top card of the current pile, and place that card where it belongs. You continue moving cards until you have 4 cards face up in each pile. 

Wait, how do you win? Well, if you manage to turn over all the cards, and have 13 piles of 4 cards of a kind each before playing the last King, you win. Otherwise, if you have cards left, but the King is played, sorry mate, good luck next time… 

Interesting Facts To Know About Card Games

  • Cards – and the number of cards mean something. Based on our research, 52 cards in each deck represent the weeks of a year. Two colors the cards are made in, red and back, correspond with day and night. Also, if we sum up all the suits in the cards, it’s equal to 365. This number looks familiar, doesn’t it?;
  • It’s fun to know that there are over 150 kinds of solitaire games documented till now. Just imagine how many of them are not known yet!;
  • Playing card games help on keeping your thinking and memory skills sharp;
  • Psychologists say that card games also help people with disabilities since they tend to keep them mentally active;
  • Cad games, especially if played alone, help fight boredom & loneliness, help you deal with stress, and develop different skills, such as memory, discipline, concentration, strategy, and way more. 

Conclusion

We all deserve a little treat for ourselves once in a while, don’t we? I bet you couldn’t find anything better than playing some card games by yourself! There’s fun, hours of entertainment, but there’s also developing important life skills. 

We made sure to explain each game simply, so, you may just start playing them just by using a deck of cards. It was important to mention only the best ones, the unique ones, so things wouldn’t be cliche, and you’d enjoy every detail. Also, each game has its own characteristics, so, no matter your personal traits, you’ll absolutely find something that fits. 

And yeah, if you’re missing some drinks, don’t forget there are dozens of drinking card games out there!

Go have fun, what are you waiting for?

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