Baker’s Dozen is a fun and challenging solitaire card game that is played with a standard 52-card deck.
The game gets its name from the unique setup of 13 columns or stacks of cards. It is an open-packer and very similar to the game Castles in Spain.
The goal of Baker’s Dozen Solitaire is to move all of the cards from the 13 starting stacks into four foundation piles built up by suit from ace to king.
To set up the game, first deal out 13 cards face up in a row. Then deal three more rows on top so that each column or stack has 4 visible cards. Finally, move any kings in the starting stacks to the bottom of their stack. This creates the starting setup of 13 stacks with 4 cards each.
Gameplay and Making Moves
The gameplay involves moving cards from the stacks to the foundations or between stacks. An ace when available can be moved to start a foundation pile.
Once started, the next card in sequence and the same suit can be added to the foundation. Cards in the stacks can be moved to another stack if the card ranks are in descending order regardless of suit. Only the top cards in a stack are available to be moved. Empty columns remain empty.
Baker’s Dozen Rules
Some important game rules to keep in mind:
- Only top tableau cards can be moved
- Empty tableau spaces stay empty
- Cards placed on foundations cannot be moved
- Cards can be moved between tableaus in descending rank order regardless of suit
Ending and Winning
The game is won when all cards have been moved to the four foundation piles in sequence from ace to king in each suit. If no further moves can be made, the game is lost.
The chance of winning is 50%. While skill and strategy greatly improve the odds, the randomness of the initial card layout means some games are simply not winnable.
Below you can find a selection of strategy tips to help you win a game of Baker’s Dozen Solitaire:
- Try to empty columns early to open up space
- Focus on building one suit at a time, but be flexible to switch if needed
- Prioritize uncovering face cards like kings and queens to start builds
- Place low cards like aces and deuces in foundations whenever possible
- When adding to builds, focus on trapping cards rather than matching suits
- Expect to rearrange stacks later to get suits matched up
- Avoid building on foundations unless necessary
- Look for potential blocking cards and try to uncover them
- Utilize empty spaces for temporary holding piles if needed