How to Maximize Your Tri-Peaks Score

Tri Peaks Solitaire is a fun, and popular solitaire game, combining elements of Golf Solitaire and Pyramid Solitaire. It has an interesting scoring system, which is a little counter-intuitive… Often you can get much higher scores when you DON’T play all the moves you can.

There are 2 keys to getting a high score in Tri Peaks Solitaire:

  • Clearing each Peak.
  • Forming long sequences.

Clearing Each Peak

You get quite a lot of points for clearing a peak. You get 15 points for clearing the first peak, 15 points for clearing the second peak, and then 30 points for clearing the last peak. Thats a total of 60 points, which shows that it is definitely worth while getting rid of all the peaks, and unless you can form an incredibly long sequence, it’s always worth trying to clear the peaks.

Forming long sequences

The second key to doing well at Tri Peaks Solitaire is to form really long sequences, where you do not deal a card from the talon.

The Tri-Peaks scoring system will give you one additional point for every card you move in a sequence. So the first card you move gives you one point, the next card gives you two points, the next card gives you three points, and the next card gives you four points, etc. The sequence ends as soon as you deal from the talon, and the sequence begins at one point again.

This system is interesting because it often makes sense to not move cards as soon as you can.

There are 2 ways to illustrate this.

12 Move Sequence Versus Two 6 Move Sequences

What do you think the difference in scoring would be between one 12-long sequence versus two 6-long sequences? Most people know the long sequence will outscore the shorter sequences, but not many people realise by how much!

The 12 long sequence gives us a score of 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12, which is 78.

Surely the two 6-long sequences won’t be too far behind?

Well, we get 1+2+3+4+5+6 for the first sequence. And then we 1+2+3+4+5+6 for the second sequence.

The total is only 42! Even though the same number of cards were removed, the difference in scores is 36 points!

Another way to illustrate this is to see what would happen if we extend out a long sequence…

12 Move Sequence Versus 14 Move Sequence

What if instead of 12 card in the sequence, we could somehow remove 14 cards in sequence instead? Well, that would give us an extra 13+14 points, which is 27 extra points.

Adding two cards extra on the 12 card sequence almost resulted in as many points as two 6-card sequences!

As you can see, it really pays to form one really long sequence. You need to make sure you form one sequence of atleast 10 cards before you start getting a reasonable score.

Now, when Tri-Peaks Solitaire starts, you normally find you can form a reasonably long sequence. But rarely is it more than 10 cards. Don’t use that sequence until you have studied the tableau carefully!

Look at the cards above the bottom layer. Look for a lot of cards all around the same rank. See if you can see any long sequences. When you do, see what cards are covering that sequence, and then work to remove those. DON’T remove cards that could make that sequence longer, even if you can play them in shorter sequences before hand. You want to aim for one sequence, as long as you can humanly make, to get really good scores in Tri Peaks Solitaire.

This has to be balanced against the first key though, which is to uncover the peaks. You don’t want to hold on too long for that perfect sequence, because it may mean that you don’t get to uncover the peaks.


Have a look at the screenshot below, taken from Tri Peaks Solitaire deal #1039…

Tri Peak Solitaire 1

Straight away, there is a sequence with a score of 28, by moving:

  • 6 Diamonds (1 point)
  • 5 Hearts (2 points)
  • 4 Spades (3 points)
  • 3 Spades (4 points)
  • 4 Clubs (5 points)
  • 3 Hearts (6 points)
  • 2 Diamonds (7 points)

This would leave us at this position…

Tri Peak Solitaire 2

Notice that if the 7 of clubs wasn’t there, we could add an Ace and a King to the sequence, and if the Jack of clubs wasn’t there as well, we could add Ace, King, Ace, King to the sequence.

So, instead of doing that sequence straight away, lets hold off, and wait until we can get rid of the 7 and Jack of clubs. So instead of putting anything on the 5, just deal again from the talon. This reveals an 8 of Diamonds, which we can now put the 7 of Clubs on. Later we get a Queen of Hearts, which we can put the Jack of clubs on.

Later on we get a 5 of spades, leaving us at this point:

Tri Peak Solitaire 3

Now we can do the following sequence:

  • 6 Diamonds (1 point)
  • 5 Hearts (2 points)
  • 4 Spades (3 points)
  • 3 Spades (4 points)
  • 4 Clubs (5 points)
  • 3 Hearts (6 points)
  • 2 Diamonds (7 points)
  • Ace Hearts (8 points)
  • King Clubs (9 points)
  • Ace Clubs (10 points)
  • King Spades (11 points)

So by holding off, we were able to get an extra 38 points (8+9+10+11)

You might not believe, it, but we can make this sequence even longer!

How? Well, how about if we don’t get rid of the 7 of clubs, and instead, start when we have dealt an 8?

So we remove the Jack, and keep dealing until we get an 8, which is at this point:

Tri Peak Solitaire 4

Now we can move this sequence:

  • 7 Clubs (1 point)
  • 6 Diamonds (2 point)
  • 5 Hearts (3 points)
  • 4 Spades (4 points)
  • 3 Spades (5 points)
  • 4 Clubs (6 points)
  • 3 Hearts (7 points)
  • 2 Diamonds (8 points)
  • Ace Hearts (9 points)
  • King Clubs (10 points)
  • Ace Clubs (11 points)
  • King Spades (12 points)

This gives us an extra 12 points, taking this total sequence score to 50… which we have to trade off against the fact that we have now gone quite a long way through the talon, and may not be able to clear the peaks.

This is what makes Tri Peaks Solitaire so fun… some creative moves that slightly extend out a sequence can have a huge impact on your score, but you risk not being able to finish the game. You’ll often find that if you try the same deal several times, you’ll be able to get some really massive scores, that didn’t seem possible the first time you played.