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How to Play Spider Solitaire: For Beginners

How to play solitaire, a beginners guide

Are you an avid Solitaire player and wanting something a little more challenging to play that is in the same wheelhouse? You might be interested in a game called Spider Solitaire.

This addictive game has attracted many solo players over the years. It is generally considered a winnable game, as long as a player makes the right moves.

Spider Solitaire is a game for one player that involves using two decks of cards. While there are several variations of the game that employ anywhere from one to four decks, the fundamental rules remain constant across all versions.

As with any game, it’s common to encounter obstacles and challenges while playing Spider Solitaire. However, through consistent practice and implementing various strategies, you can improve your gameplay and increase your chances of winning. To begin, it’s crucial to understand the game’s fundamentals and become proficient in its mechanics. In this article, we’ll discuss essential tips and tricks that will aid you in enhancing your Spider Solitaire skills.

Spider Solitaire Game Set-Up

The game setup is an integral part of playing Spider Solitaire. Players playing traditionally will need two decks without the jokers. Here are the steps of setting up Spider Solitaire gameplay:

  • Shuffle your cards together
  • Deal out 10 cards, face down, in a row to form a tableau
  • Create 10 piles of cards, face down, by dealing out another 3 rows of 10 cards that are face down
  • On the four leftmost piles, deal out 4 more cards face down. Then another 1 card that is face-up at the bottom of each 10 pile stack.
  • The remaining ones should be placed in the deck face down to the right of a player’s 10 pile to be used as stock cards.

Be sure to note that you only play with the face-up cards. Once they are used up on the board, only then can you use the stock cards.

Spider Solitaire Turns

The number of turns you make is usually indicated at the bottom of your screen. To excel at the game, it’s essential to minimize the number of turns you make. Reducing your moves can improve your score significantly. While there is no limit to the number of turns a player can take, making too many moves can negatively impact your score. As a result, experts suggest prioritizing order over turns in specific situations. Incorporating order into your gameplay involves grouping runs in your game state and minimizing suit changes within those runs. By implementing this strategy, shifting cards between columns becomes more manageable, enabling you to access specific cards when needed and simplifying the process of building a suit in certain scenarios.

Rules of Playing Spider Solitaire

As we’ve already mentioned, there are different variants of Spider Solitaire, but they all use the same basic rules. However, in each version, cards are moved differently. Let us explain the rules of different variants.

    • 4 Suit Version Solitaire Rules

If players cannot make any further moves, they can deal 10 cards, one to each column. There should be at least one card in the column.

You can only place a single card to another pile of cards if it is one less value than the one you plan on placing it on top of. E.g., you can place any 7 on any 8.

Players can only move a group of descending cards that are in the same suit. E.g., you can place a group of 10, 9, and 8 of hearts onto any open Jack.

You must turn over a face-down in a column.

You can remove from play a complete descending group in a single suit. For instance, those that are arranged from Kings of Spades all the way down to Ace of spades, it then can be removed to win a game.

Players can place a single card or any group into an open empty column.

      • 2 Suit Version Rules

This variation of Spider Solitaire is widespread in many computer versions and can be played using two standard decks by treating all red cards as a single suit and all black cards as another suit. The game features arranged foundation piles that can be moved provided they are all of the same color. For example, players can place a 9 of hearts or a 10 of diamonds onto any open Jack. Additionally, complete groups of cards in a single suit that descend in perfect order can be removed from play. For instance, players can remove all the red cards arranged from King down to Ace. The remaining rules for this variation are akin to the four-suit version.

        • 1 Suit Version Rules

Players must assume that all cards belong to the same suit to stimulate the move. Therefore, you can place any group onto another appropriate card, so long as it’s arranged descendingly. E.g. one can place a six of spades, five of diamonds, and four of clubs onto any open play. You can also remove from play any descending group. This Spider Solitaire variant is one of the easiest to play and quite relaxing.

Tips on How to Win at Spider Solitaire

          • Plan your moves concurrently- play with the combination of moves that will give you the most gains.
          • Find the best moves that will lead to success.
          • Move with a purpose- don’t make a move just because it’s obvious. Often moves that look innocuous, like an opportunity to move 6 of hearts onto 7 of hearts, may get you stuck later on.
          • Any open card that isn’t an Ace shouldn’t be viewed as an asset since it’s gone once you use it.
          • Rather than wasting a vacant column, find ways to use them to move cards between columns advantageously.
          • Shift strategy when you get stuck. For example, you can forgo building a suit unless by completing it causes the relevant column to vacate.


To win at any version of the game, one must remember the objective, which is building piles in descending order from the 10 piles in the tableau until a player uses up all cards from the stock. Players move their face down top cards individually to the adjacent ones that go before them numerically to win. Kings are always the highest, and Aces are always the lowest. You can use stock cards at the bottom of each pile to play, should you run out of moves. However, once they are used up, it’s impossible to play past this level. Hence you lose the game. It is essential to build a strategy to ensure that the game is won. Remember that one wrong move can leave you stuck with an unplayable tableau. So plan your play carefully before executing them and good luck!

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