Forty Thieves Solitaire

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Win Ratio:Getting Stat...
Average Win Time:Getting Stat...
Highest Score:Getting Stat...
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Forty Thieves (a.k.a "40 Thieves") is a challenging game of skill that has become quite popular in recent years. The game is most likely of French origin. In times past it has been known by a variety of names: Big Forty, Napoleon at Saint Helena, Roosevelt at San Juan, and Le Cadran.

Legend has it, Napoleon was an avid card and game player and supposedly played this game while exiled on the barren wind-swept island of Saint Helena after losing the battle of Waterloo to the British in 1815. While many of those facts are true, there is some controversy as to whether Napoleon was playing this particular game, or for that matter any kind of solitaire game at all. In David Parlett's History of Patience, the argument is made that the facts may have been misinterpreted. He certainly knows a thing or two about solitaire.

Forty Thieves will require your concentration and a considerable amount of attention to play it well. Although only 5% of Solitaire Network plays result in a win, we think that with careful forethought and close attention to what cards have already been seen, and yet to be seen, that the win rate would be somewhere between 15 and 20%.

Forty Thieves gets its name from the fact that there are 40 cards dealt to the layout at the start of the game - each card being a thief that wants to prevent you from winning - hence there are 40 thieves that are out to stop you. Although there are many variations of Forty Thieves, Solitaire Network is happy to provide this most common version of the game. But we are looking into providing other variations since it is so popular.

Forty Thieves Rules


Move all cards to the eight Foundation piles, starting from the Aces and continuing up to the Kings in EACH suit.

The Deal

Using two decks, 40 cards are dealt face up to the ten Columns with each column receiving 4 cards. The remaining cards form the Stock.


Starting with an Ace and continuing up to the Kings, each Foundation is built UP and in the SAME SUIT.


Columns are built DOWN and in the SAME SUIT. For example, within the columns, the only card that can be played onto a 7 of Diamonds would be a 6 of Diamonds.

The exposed card in any Column is available for play to another Column or to a Foundation pile.

Empty Columns may be filled with any card.

Stock and Discard Pile

Cards from the Stock are flipped one at a time to the Discard Pile. The top card of the Discard Pile may be played to a Column or to a Foundation. There are no redeals.