Shamrocks Solitaire

Shamrocks Solitaire

Shamrocks Solitaire is a solitaire card game where the player deals all 52 cards into 18 piles (17 piles of 3, and a single card). The player may move any card he chooses to the foundations at the beginning of the game, but once a card is moved, all other foundations must be started with a card of the same rank. Only the top card in any given pile may be moved, either to the foundations or another pile. The piles can be built up or down, regardless of suit. The catch is that no pile may contain more than three cards at any given time. Also, once all the cards have been removed from a pile, that pile can no longer be used. Once a pile of cards is gone it is gone for good.

How to play Shamrocks Solitaire

Game Basics - The Deal

A nice variation of solitaire that provides for many move opportunities, Shamrock is unlike any other solitaire game. All cards are dealt at the beginning with 17 collections of three. The remaining lone card is placed in its own separate stack.

Game Play

The player must decide on a card to go into the foundation piles, and when the first card is placed there, all the other foundation cards must be of the same rank. It does not matter if the beginning foundation card is low or high because the cards will wrap. For instance, if the foundation is a King, the next card will be an Ace because the King is the highest in rank.

Cards placed into the foundation are in ascending order and must be of the same suit. The object is, as usual, to complete all 4 of the 13 card collections. Cards may be moved between the 18 stacks to uncover cards that will go into one of the foundations. Any card can be moved from one stack to another if it ranks one above or one below the card on which it is placed.

In the 18 piles, there can never be more than 3 cards. On one side of the center card, the same card can appear that is on the other side. For example, if only one card remains in a stack, the next card played on it can be a rank higher, and the third can be a rank lower than the second card with no regard for suit.

There is no suit order in the 18 piles of cards. Once all three cards are drawn from a stack, it is gone for the rest of the game. In other words, that stack area cannot be used to place new cards, making the game more challenging. This is very different from many other solitaire games where empty columns can be used for other cards.

The fewer stacks there are, the harder it is to move cards around to uncover the ones needed for the foundations. Only one card can be moved at a time either between stacks or into the foundations. Once a card is placed in the foundation, it can't be retrieved.

As with other solitaire games, when no further moves are possible the game is over. A game is won when all cards in the stack area are moved to the foundation piles, ending with 4 completed sets of 13 cards each grouped by suit.


Some forethought should be given before selecting the foundation card rank based on card availability that can follow it. Consideration should also be given to the availability of all four foundation cards, not just one or two.

It will take some study to access needed buried cards within the sets. Here's an example of a strategy to access a buried King.

There is a lone 6-Diamonds in one of the 18 piles. In another pile, there is a 5-6-7. The card to be accessed is a King buried in yet another K-2-6 pile. The plan is to uncover the King.

The 7 in the 5-6-7 run is moved to the lone 6-Diamonds, which becomes a 6-7 pile. That leaves a 5-6 two card run in what was a 5-6-7. The 6 in the K-2-6 pile is then moved to the 6-7 pile now forming a 6-7-6. That leaves the K-2-6 as a K-2. The 2 is moved off to yet another pile containing a 2-A run, and the King is free.

It may all seem confusing at first, but once the game is played a few times the strategies become easier.

To suggest an improvement, or just say hi, please contact me on twitter :-)
Follow @battagline  or  Tweet to @battagline