Rules for La Belle Lucie

Family: La Belle Lucie
Categories: Popular, Rewarding
Variants: Trefoil, Shamrocks
Also Known As: Alexander the Great, Clover Leaf, Midnight Oil, The Fan, Three Shuffles and a Draw

La Belle Lucie is one of the great classic games of solitaire. It is distinguished by its peculiar privilege of the draw. Its popularity may be measured by its many alternate names: Alexander the Great, Clover Leaf, Midnight Oil, and Three Shuffles and a Draw. Wins are rare but good play will greatly improve your chances. If you enjoy the game but would like to win more often, try Trefoil.


Shuffle the deck and lay it out in 17 piles of three cards each, with the leftover card alone in an 18th pile of its own. The cards are face up and fanned, so that all can be seen. These are the tableaus. There are also four foundation piles, which start out empty.


Tableaus build down in suit. Empty tableau piles may not be filled. Foundations build up in suit. Top cards of tableaus are available for building on tableaus and foundations.


It is rare to win a game with the initial layout. When you are blocked, you may scoop up all the tableau cards, shuffle them, and again lay them out in piles of three (with the last pile perhaps containing two cards or one). This shuffle may be repeated the second time you become blocked, but may not be done more than those two times.

The Draw

After the final shuffle, you may select any card in the tableau (whether it is available or not) and bring it to the front of its pile, or play it on another pile. This is the privilege of the draw, which you may only do once.

By popular request, Solitaire Till Dawn allows you to draw without waiting for the final shuffle, even though it’s technically against the rules.


The goal is to move all the cards onto the foundations.


Look for moves you can’t make, and work around them. You can’t reach any card under a King, until you can play the King to the foundations. A pile with (for example) a 7 on top of the 8 and 6 of its suit is blocked because there’s no place to move the 7 to. Don’t create those situations, and don’t waste time trying to uncover any higher cards in that suit. At the end, you’ll probably have to use the draw to get a lower-ranked card out from under its King.

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