Pyramid Solitaire is a favorite among solitaire fans. This is one of those great classic games that has been passed down through generations. I learned it from my grandmother, back when we still used real cards. Amazing how some things are timeless that way. Sure, these days we play on phones and tablets, but the awesomeness of the game still holds true.
Briefly, the game is played by pairing exposed cards that add up to 13. For a more in-depth explanation, check out our YouTube video:
So today I thought I’d share a few handy tips for those dedicated Pyramid players looking to improve their stats.
First, choosing the right 8:
The 8 on the left just uncovers a King. Kings can be removed at any time, since they are already worth 13, so there’s no hurry to get to that card. Whereas the 8 on the right is covering a 9 and a 5. Look what happens if you pair that 8 with the exposed 5, and then remove the 6 and 7.
Now, you can pair the 4 with the 9 and there will be another 5 available to pair with an 8.
When in doubt, wait and see
Like many games, the strategy in Pyramid often involves NOT playing a move as soon as it becomes available. In this case, I’ll turn up another card from the deck. If, for example, I turn up a 10, I’ll pair the 8 on the right to uncover the 3 underneath. If I turn up a 3, I’ll pair the 8 on the right, remove both Kings and pair the 2 with the Jack in the waste pile.
What happened was just as good. I turned up a Queen which can pair to the Ace, thus exposing another 5. Now I can remove both 8s and both 5s, and the two Kings, and pair the Jack from the waste pile to the 2 beside the King, and then pair the 3 to the 10.
But wait… there’s more:
After all that, I can pair the newly exposed Queen and Ace, and then the 7 and 6, and then the King under that. After that, most of the Pyramid will be gone.
But, you may say, that was an easy hand and almost impossible to lose. Well… there’s another tip. Look at the hand before you start playing. If you are dealt a severely blocked or unwinnable hand, just deal a new game. As long as you haven’t made a move yet, the hand won’t be counted against your statistics.
Avoid a losing deal
You see all those Queens at the bottom of the pyramid? See those Aces at the top? This hand can not be won. At least 2 Queens can not possibly be paired because they are blocking their own mates.
Now for one more tip… though this is really more of a “cheat” or an in-game “Easter Egg”. As I said, I learned this game from my grandmother and I played for years with real cards. In the version I learned, it was okay to pair a card that was covered IF the only card that covered it was the card it paired with. So in a situation like this:
you COULD, in fact, pair the 6 with the 7. The logic is that, when you pick up the 6 to pair it, the 7 is thus exposed and available. That’s how I learned. You may have learned that way too.
Well, when we first made our Solitaire MegaPack for Android back in 2009, Pyramid was one of the original 25 games that were included. And even though we were just starting out, and even though it was especially hard for Josh to program the game to do that, I insisted that our app should allow this move.
“We are leaving it up to the player”, I said. “If they expect to be able to pair those cards, our app allows them to do it. If they don’t expect the cards to pair that way, they will probably never notice that the ability is there. Everybody wins.” And indeed, the move does not show up in the hints, and I imagine most people never realize they have the power to do this, but if you drag the 6 on top of the 7 or tap the 6 and then the 7, both will woosh away to the discard pile.
I love the convenience of playing solitaire on my Android. I also love that our Android apps still capture the feeling of playing with cards at the kitchen table, with the sun hanging low on a December afternoon.
Our Android apps offer several versions of Pyramid depending on the level of challenge you enjoy. Classic Pyramid Solitaire (as shown in the video) only allows 1 pass through the deck. Pyramid 2 is identical but that it allows 2 passes, and Pyramid 3 allows 3 passes through the deck. All those versions are offered in our free game, the Solitaire Free Pack. Our paid app, the Solitaire MegaPack, includes those three plus Pyramid Base and Climbing Pyramid.