Original Patience Games by David Parlett
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Cards 52   Type Open fan   Success 86%

You don't need to be reminded of the peculiar properties of those degenerate stars called black holes, as nowadays they have become virtually part of the entertainment industry. This game, derived from a traditional one variously called "Golf" and "One Foundation", purports to illustrate the process whereby all matter unlucky enough to fall within their gravitational reach is irretrievably sucked in. Shlomi Fish suggests that 86% of all possible deals are solvable, and that "in at least half the [unsolvable] deals you'll reach a dead end fairly quickly", typically by about the ninth card played.

For a competitive two- or three- player version of Black Hole see Yo-yo

For a free online version of Black Hole, see Tomas Mertens' Solitaire Paradise.


Put the Ace of spades in the middle of the board as the base or "black hole". Deal all the other cards face up in seventeen fans of three, orbiting the black hole - like this:

BlackHole diagram


To build the whole pack into a single pile of 52 cards based on the black hole.


The top (exposed) card of each fan is available for building on the centre pile. Build in ascending or descending sequence regardless of suit, going up or down ad lib and changing direction as often as necessary. For example, part of a sequence could run: -Q-K-A-2-3-2-A-K- etc. However, it's generally not advisable to go up and down too often, and many games be brought out without changing direction at all.