A simple yet difficult solitaire game contributed by Diego Crawford .

The Setup:

Shuffle a standard 52 card deck and either hold it face down or place it face down on a flat surface to form a Draw Pile. Jokers are not used.

The Object:

Play all the cards without any leftover "Junk'

The Play:

The player plays the game by taking cards from the Draw Pile one by one and placing them face-up on the Play Pile. Any card can start the Play Pile. Subsequently, to be placed on the Play Pile, a card must be

  • the same suit as the top card of the play pile, or
  • the same rank as the top card of the Play Pile, or
  • the opposite colour to the top card of the Play Pile and next rank above or below it, or
  • an Ace.

The third option, in which the card is of the opposite colour and one rank different is known as stepping.

Aces are wild. An Ace can always be played on the Play Pile and any card can be played on an Ace.

Junked Cards:

If the card drawn from the Draw Pile cannot be added to the Play Pile, it must be placed on top of the face up Junk Pile. The player can choose for tactical reasons to place a card on the Junk Pile even if it could have been placed on the Play Pile.

If at any point the top card of the Junk Pile can be played on the Play Pile, the player may move it to the Play Pile before drawing another card. So a previously junked 8 of spades can be played later on the Play Pile if the current top card is an 8 or a spade or a red 7 or 9 or an Ace. Keep in mind that a junked card covers the previous card in the Junk Pile, so the top card must be played first before the next can be played. Sometimes a long chain of previously Junked cards can be played one after the other.

Other Important things:

Any card may be put into the Junk Pile at any time, but no cards may be transfered from the Play Pile to the Junk Pile.

There should be at most three cards visible to the player at one time: the top card on the Junk Pile, the top card on the Play Pile, and the card just drawn from the Draw Pile.

If an Ace is drawn, it must be placed immedately in either the Play Pile or the Junk Pile. This means the next card must be placed on top of the Ace in the Play Pile or on the Junk Pile. The player cannot wait to see another card before deciding where to put it.

Saving Grace:

The first phase of the game is over when the Draw Pile is empty and every card is either in the Play Pile or the Junk Pile. At this time, the player may try to rid the leftover Junk by putting the top card of the Junk Pile in a temporary 'Saving Grace Pile.' In the SG Pile, the top card acts as the first card of a Play Pile. The Junk Pile is now a temporary Draw Pile, from which the top card can be played in the SG Pile if the suit or rank matches the top card. This means that if all the cards previously in the Junk Pile sequencially match each other in suit or rank, they may all be played in the SG Pile. (note: these Junked cards may only be put in the SG Pile and not the Play Pile) .


A point is scored for each card remaining in the Junk Pile. The aim is to have as low a score as possible: a perfect score is 0 points. Try to do better with each game. The inventor has only achieved a perfect score twice.

Naked Junk:

This is a beginners' variation in which the draw pile is face up. This means that four cards can be visible at one time. Also, in this variation, if there is an Ace on top of the Junk Pile it can be moved to the Play Pile even after the player has looked at the next card from the Draw Pile (in this case five cards will briefly be visible).

Last updated: 25th June 2010