Tesseract Mobile

To Win and Love Montana

I think I’ve played more hands of Montana Solitaire than any other game.  It is also known as Addiction Solitaire, and rightly so, as it is a very addictive card game.  However, some people say “Montana!  I can never get anywhere in that game!”  Well, today I’m sharing my Montana strategy so you, too, can enjoy every single, solitary minute of this fabulously addictive card game.  It really is a lot of fun, once you know this one simple trick!


First, here are the basics rules to play MontanaAddiction Solitaire:

– Your goal is to sort all the cards from 2 to King in suit going left to right.

– A card can be moved to an open space, but that card must be 1 rank higher and the same suit as the card in front of the space.  For example, you can move the 7 of Clubs to that open space behind the 6 of Clubs.

Now, here is the key to winning:

Look for a move you want to make, then decide how to make it happen.


Some people just make whatever move they see, but that doesn’t end very well.  You see, it’s only a matter of time before the Kings block your progress.  At that point, you will need to shuffle the unsorted cards, BUT  you only have 3 shuffles in the game.  So you need to make as many useful moves as possible before you are blocked by the Kings.

Allow me to demonstrate:


First we should open a space in the front by moving one of the front cards away.  We can move the 7 of Hearts behind the 6 of Hearts if we move the King of Clubs behind the Queen of Clubs.


Similarly, we can move the 3 of Hearts behind the 2 of Hearts if we move the 5 of Clubs behind the 4.  We do not want to move the 2 of Hearts up to the new empty space because there is a King in front of the 2 and nothing can be moved behind a King.  But that’s no problem, since we have three other 2s to choose from.

Now this next one is a bit more complicated, as so many moves in Montana are.  However, I should tell you it is not necessary to remember all of these moves.  When you get to an empty space, you simply start making the one possible move of a card into that space and eventually you’ll find your way back the the goal.


After all that, here’s what we have:


So now that we have some open spaces in the front, let’s start moving up some 2s.  If we put the 2 of Spades in the second row down, the 3 and 4 of Spades are already in position!  And if we move the 2 of Diamonds to another open space, we can move the 5 of Spades behind the 4.


If we continue on in that fashion for a while, we will eventually become blocked by the Kings.


At that point, we shuffle all the cards that have not already been sorted.  In the above layout, the 2-5 of Diamonds, 2-7 of Spades, 2-9 of Hearts and 2-8 of Clubs would all stay where they are and the other cards would be picked up, shuffled, and dealt out at random, like this:


Unfortunately, there are only 3 possible moves left before this hand is lost.  Montana is not an easy game by any means, but it can be entertaining and fun if you know the strategy.

Now here is the end of a different hand, but this one is winnable!  I personally prefer the classic card style (with the little suits in the middle of the card), so I changed it in the Appearance screen.

Montana 9

Move the 9 and 10 of Clubs behind the 8, move the King of Clubs to where the 10 of Clubs was, then move the Jack of Diamonds behind the 10 of Diamonds.  We’re almost there!

Montana 10

Move the Queen and King of Diamonds behind the Jack and move the Queen and King of Clubs behind that Jack…

Montana 11

Now all that is left is to move the King of Hearts behind the Queen and we have won Montana!!!

Yes, I know that probably looks quite complicated, but trust me – it’s a fun solitaire game.  And if it’s not the game for you, there are plenty of other games to love in the Solitaire MegaPack and Solitaire Free Pack.

And, for our MegaPack players – if Montana looks interesting, give Gaps a try too!

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  1. Comment by John Rodriguez on April 2, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Instead of using a full deck of cards (I call level 13), I have created a progrmam where you start with only 2,3, and blank spaces. When you win that, if its winnable, then you go on to the next level, 2,3,4, and blank spaces. So you build up to level 13. When I win a level I store the beginning winnable pattern. So, when I go to a level I can play a random shuffled game or a winnable game. Playing a winnable game eliminates the luck involved in Montana.
    My program is written in basic, so the display is
    Any idea how many full-deck game patterns are winnable without any reshuffles, but with the ability, which I have, of going back to any move and going a different direction? I’ve won a few, but not too many.
    John Rodriguez

  2. Comment by Laura on April 3, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    That is an interesting question, John. I have no idea how many Montana hands are winnable without any shuffles. I’ve played the game a lot over the last ten years or so and I only remember doing that once or twice.
    I know we are working on a winnable game database for our Solitaire MegaPack and Solitaire Free Pack. Our version of Montana allows unlimited undos all the way up to the start of the game unless the player has shuffled the cards. There is no undo allowed through a shuffle.
    How many winnable games have you found using your program?

  3. Comment by Martha on August 4, 2014 at 2:49 am

    I have won a number of games without shuffling, probably about 15-18, but I can’t tell you how I did that. It just worked out. I am not a frequent player, and I play purely for fun. Just wanted you to know that multiple wins without shuffling are possible.

  4. Comment by Laura on August 4, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Martha! Montana has been a favorite of mine for years, but I have *rarely* won without a shuffle. Great job! So glad to hear you are enjoying the game!
    Thanks for visiting and have a terrific day.

  5. Comment by John Rodriguez on December 9, 2014 at 3:18 am

    Hi Laura,
    I just revisited this site and noticed your message. I have only won a couple at level 13.
    Spent 4 hours the other day trying to win one
    without a shuffle. Couldn’t do it. Level 6 (2-5) is where it starts to get difficult with some deals. Have won only 4 or 5 level 11s.
    John Rodriguez

  6. Comment by Bill Roscoe on February 9, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I’m a computer science professor who used to play a variant of this game as a boy: I don’t think I ever won without shuffling. I put together a program last week to test which deals are solvable without shuffles, and was amazed to discover that 63 of the 100 random deals I tried were. (Almost all the others allowed a play of 60 moves or more before becoming stuck.) A paper on this and related topics, and the code of my program, may eventually appear on my web site.

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