How to play Baker's Dozen (Solitaire)

Baker's Dozen solitaire is a simple patience (solitaire) game played with face-up cards. The cards are arranged into 4 rows of 13 columns. (The term baker's dozen in English means a group of thirteen things— in this case, cards in a row!) It is one of the simplest solitaire games to play. The rules are similar to the solitaire game Simple Simon. A reason that many players enjoy it is that, like other games such as the popular Free Cell, all cards are visible at the start of the game.

Card layout for Baker's Dozen

All cards of a standard 52-card deck are dealt out into 13 columns of 4 cards each, as shown below. However, a special rule is applied: whenever a King is dealt to a column, it is placed underneath all other cards in the column (at the top of the column). Otherwise, the distribution of cards is random.

Baker's Dozen solitaire layout (Solitaire Whizz for iPad and macOS)

Baker's Dozen layout in Solitaire Whizz for iPad and macOS

As in many Klondike-like games, there are four foundation piles in Baker's Dozen. These are initially empty, at the top of the layout and will be filled as you go along, one foundation per suit.


To play Baker's Dozen, you move cards from the bottom of the 13 columns. The completely exposed card at the bottom of each column is available for play. Choose an available card and move it on to a foundation pile or on to another column. To move a card on to another column, you must simply respect the rank of the card, building in descending order. Suit does not matter. For example, a 5 of Spades can be built onto a 6 of Clubs.

Move an Ace on to an empty foundation to start it, then build up the foundations in ascending suit sequence. For example, once you have started a foundation with the Ace of Spades, the 2 of Spades can be moved on to it, then the 3 etc. Meanwhile, the Ace of Hearts will start another foundation, etc.

Note that unlike other solitaire games that involve moving cards around columns in the tableau, empty spaces are not filled in Baker's Dozen.

Winning Baker's Dozen

To win a game of Baker's Dozen solitaire, you must get all 52 cards on to the foundations. At the end of a successful game, you will end up with 13 cards on each foundation, consisting of the separate suits ordered from Ace through to King.

How often can you win at Baker's Dozen? Well, a feature the game has in common with Free Cell is that with the right moves, it is practically always possible to win at Baker's Dozen. (The special rule of moving Kings to the tops of their columns helps to ensure this.) As you might expect, difficult layouts are those that begin with many of the Aces and lower numbers blocked by higher value cards. But with a little bit of planning, even these layouts are generally winnable.

Starting playing Baker's Dozen solitaire

Baker's Dozen solitaire is one of the games included in Solitaire Whizz for iPad and Mac OS: