Alaska Solitaire

Alaska solitaire is a variation of the more popular Yukon variety of patience card game. Like many such games, what’s great about Alaska solitaire is that whether you’ve been playing cards for years or never before, the rules are easy to pick up but the strategy of the game can be tough to master. Today, we’re going to look at everything you need to know about the Alaska solitaire game. Let’s dive into it.

How to Play Alaska Solitaire 

Firstly, it’s really easy to find places to play Alaska solitaire online free. Just type the name of the game into a search engine and you’ll get plenty of options for playing Alaska solitaire online. 

When you load the game up, or deal the hand yourself with a real deck, your game should look like the following: seven tableau piles containing all 52 cards in the deck, the leftmost tableau having only a single card and the rightmost having 11 cards. At the top, you will have four foundations which are empty to begin with. 

Alaska solitaire is about building sequences so that you can free up cards and build up your foundations, starting with the aces, by suit. When all cards are in the foundations, you’ve won. 

Let’s look at the specifics of the rules, then. 

Rules of Alaska Solitaire 

The rules of the Alaska solitaire game are as follows: 

  1. Card sequences must be built up in the same suit and in either ascending or descending order. For example, an eight of diamonds could be placed on either a nine or a seven of diamonds. 
  2. Groups of cards can be moved as long as the top card in the group can be placed in a sequence. It does not matter if the rest of the cards are not in sequence. 
  3. There is no stock in Alaska solitaire, but not all cards are dealt face up. The rightmost tableau has six face down, then five and so on down to one. 
  4. The foundations must be built up from the ace by suit, as in classic solitaire. When all cards of each suit are arranged in the tableaus, you’ve won. 
  5. You cannot play an ace to a king—only a matching queen can be played to a king. 

Winning Alaska solitaire isn’t quite so simple, though, so let’s look into some strategies for winning. 

How to Win in Alaska Solitaire 

As mentioned, you will ultimately win Alaska solitaire when all cards are in the foundation piles. Here are some tips for getting there: 

  1. Strategize and think carefully about each move. Alaska solitaire is a tough form of the game and the odds are against you. The more carefully you play, though, the more you even out the odds and minimize your chances of getting yourself stuck. 
  2. Focus on uncovering face down cards. Winning at Alaska solitaire is about getting all the cards in play. It’s easy to get stuck, as mentioned, and the most common way this happens is by not being able to get at the face down cards. 
  3. Play aces straight into the foundations. In some forms of solitaire, there can be advantages to not playing aces to the foundations right away. This is not the case in Alaska solitaire, so play these cards straight into the foundations. 
  4. Build sequences evenly. Alaska solitaire is hard, but you can use the sequence rules to your advantage. Because you can build sequences in both ascending and descending order, you have more options for where you can place cards. However, this is offset by the fact you can only build sequences in suit. If you build up one suit too much, you will likely end up getting yourself stuck. 
  5. Play Alaska solitaire online. Playing online will give you more options for understanding your mistakes and where you’ve gone wrong, as you can undo as many moves as you need to. 

Variations of Alaska Solitaire 

There are several variations of Alaska solitaire: 

  1. Yukon solitaire: Alaska is usually itself said to be a version of Yukon solitaire. The difference is primarily in how sequences are built: in Yukon, they are built in alternating color rather than in suit, and you can only build in descending value. 
  2. Russian solitaire: Russian solitaire is another very similar form of Yukon solitaire in which you build sequences by suit. So, this form differs from Alaska solitaire only in that you can only build by descending order and not by either ascending or descending. 
  3. Australian solitaire: This form of solitaire more closely resembles Klondike in a lot of ways, but like in Alaska solitaire, sequences must be built by suit. However, you also have a stock pile which is not present in Alaska solitaire. 


What are the odds of winning Alaska solitaire? 

With Alaska solitaire, the odds are fairly heavily stacked against you and you have only around a 1 in 30 chance of winning a given deal. Playing the game with random shuffles will give you this probability of winning, though even a technically winnable game can still be derailed if you aren’t careful and get stuck. 

Is Alaska solitaire easy to play? 

Alaska solitaire is considered one of the more difficult forms of the game. Yukon solitaire is already considered a harder form of the game, and Alaska solitaire makes it even harder. However, Alaska solitaire is very easy to play in that the rules are very easy to pick up.