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How to Play Freecell

With only a single deck of cards, keep yourself entertained with this single-person game of strategy.


  • Step 1: Deal Deal all of the cards, face up, into eight stacks, placed side-by-side. Arrange the cards so that they are slightly overlapping, cascading top to bottom, and all cards are visible.
  • TIP: Leave six to eight inches of space under each cascade to give you room to move cards around during the game.
  • Step 2: Leave space for free cells and suit stacks Leave space above the left cascades for four free cells, to hold cards that you can't use immediately. Leave space above the right cascades for four suit stacks, to build suits in numerical order, from Aces to Kings.
  • Step 3: Use Aces at end of cascades to start suit stacks Move any Aces from the ends of cascades to start suit stacks.
  • Step 4: Build sequences Move the bottom card in each cascade to another cascade to build alternating number and color sequences and free other cards to grow the suit stacks. For instance, move a red four on top of a black five.
  • TIP: Keep your cascades overlapping by half an inch so that you can see all of your cards.
  • Step 5: Move sequences from one cascade to another Move the sequences from one cascade to another to continue the alternating number and color pattern. Only move sequential cards and be sure the sequence continues after the move.
  • Step 6: Move cards to free cells Move any available card to one of the four free cells if you cannot build suit stacks or move cards. Bring a card from the free cell when you can add it to a suit stack or use it in an alternating sequence.
  • TIP: Move Kings at the bottom of a cascade to a free cell to free your other cards. They are the highest ranking cards and cannot be placed on top of another card.
  • Step 7: Clear cascades and build suit stacks Move cards and build sequences and suit stacks until you clear each of the cascades. Use a cleared cascade spot as a new free cell.
  • TIP: Make the game more challenging by only allowing Kings to move to empty cascade spots.
  • Step 8: Continue clearing cascades Continue moving cards to clear the cascades until all of the suit stacks are built and no more cards are in the free cells.
  • FACT: Playing cards date back to the 10th century, when the Chinese began using paper dominoes to play various games.

You Will Need

  • A deck of cards

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