How to play: Monte Carlo solitaire

Like the popular Pyramid solitaire game, Monte Carlo involves discarding pairs of cards to clear the deck. As its name suggests, it is largely a game of luck, although occasionally a player must choose wisely between two possible moves. While Monte Carlo lies more towards the 'fun' end of the spectrum than patience games with more strategy, it has the advantage that it can be won a good percentage of times.

Two versions are including in the present version of Solitaire Whizz for iPad: the version described here plus the variant Monte Carlo 13s.


A 'grid' of 5x5 cards are laid out to form the tableau. Other cards are placed in a stock pile for future redeals.

Initial freecell layout (Solitaire Whizz for iPad)

Monte Carlo layout in Solitaire Whizz for iPad


The aim is to discard all cards by pairing them off against one another as described below.


The game is played by discarding pairs of cards. To discard a pair of cards, they must be:

Discarding a pair temporarily leaves gaps in the grid and cards separated by a gap are not considered to be 'next to' one another.

Redeals: When no more moves are available (or at any time, if you are playing a non-strict version of the game), you may perform a 'redeal' that involves filling gaps in the layout. To do so, you shift cards up towards the top-left of the layout to fill any gaps (essentially, move cards to the left, wrapping round from the beginning of one row to the end of the previous row). This will push all gaps to the bottom of the layout. Those gaps are then filled with cards from the stock pile, while they are still available. After a redeal, you continue as usual, discarding as many pairs as you can before redealing once more.


In reality, Monte Carlo is largely a game of luck. However, when faced with alternative moves, try to look at the effect on surrounding cards following a redeal: will removing the pair mean that, after a redeal, the gap closes in such a way that another pair of same-numbered cards are brought next to one another. Or will the move mean that a pair is separated?