The games are played using one or two standard 52-card decks.

There are four suits spades, heart, diamonds and clubs. Spades and clubs are black, heart and diamonds are red colors.

The cards in each suit are ranked in ascending order like follows: Ace (on card: A), Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Jack (on card: J), Queen (on card: A) and King (on card: K).

A specific card is denoted by first calling its value, then its suit, e.g. King of hearts.

A family is a group of thirteen cards having one suit and containing all values.

Stacks in the main playing area are called the Tableau. Piles off to the side are called Foundations.

In each game the cards are piled up in either ascending or descending order. Depending on the game type some piles must be built up in sequence within the same suit, and others are built up in suits of alternating colors.

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