, originally introduced to help people familiarize themselves with using a mouse to click, drag, and drop items on a computer screen, has evolved to become an addictive mobile game. This single-player card game consists of 52 decks of playing cards, with two types of cards: downward facing and upward-facing.
The goal of the game is to create a board of cards starting in the downward facing position and eventually move them into four piles based on their suit, ending face up. While there are many versions of solitaire, Klondike is the standard form of the basic game.
Although the variations have the same rules, some versions require more skill than others. For example, Klondike largely relies on luck while FreeCell requires strategic moves.
Whether relying on luck or strategy, there are tips and tricks to optimize your playing strategy and improve your winning chances. While not every solitaire game can be won, having a solitaire strategy can help plan and calculate moves.
To learn more about how to win at solitaire, read on for tips and strategies for playing this popular game, whether online or offline.
Top Strategies to Help Increase Your Winning Chances at Solitaire
1. Learn the Rules
Knowing the rules of every game is vital before you begin playing. Solitaire is no exception to the rule. You’ll likely win when you know and understand what you’re supposed to do and make well-calculated steps.
You should also understand the specific features if you’re playing modern types of solitaire. Almost all solitaire games are played with one or more standard 52 card decks. A player is supposed to build different foundations in sequence and suit by releasing and placing certain cards into position.
The first thing to do is to learn how to set up solitaire. This is an important and tricky part. The solitaire setup consists of four main areas; tableau, foundations, stock, and talon. Knowing how these cards are used and where they are placed is the first step to winning solitaire.
2. Target Larger Stacks First
It’s always wise to expose columns with big stacks first when targeting hidden cards. Doing this will help you get a better chance of revealing useful cards that can be used to build piles of revealed cards. It is also essential that you begin by moving all the cards from the stockpile. Once the moves are finished, deal with cards that can be dealt with from the deck.
3. Evenly Distribute Tableau Piles
A common mistake many players make is trying to complete a single pile. If you have a choice to maintain two piles with four piles and combine them to make a single pile of 8, leave them separate if you’re not going to reveal a downcard.
It’s better to leave small piles separated as you’ll get a larger choice of sets, especially after revealing your downcard, and you’re now working through the waste.
If you have room for only two long stacks, try making them opposite the other. What this means is that if the King in your first pile is red, try making the King of the second pile black.
4. Move Quickly If You’re Playing Timed Solitaire
Solitaire is not usually scored on time at a casino. But, for those playing online or in a competitive tournament, your time will likely affect your final score.
Therefore, you should be fast with moving cards so that you can get a huge bonus after playing. Note that in timed solitaire, you can beat your opponent who has successfully built foundation piles, even if you didn’t, although it is difficult.
We should also mention that some variations of solitaire, often online versions, allow players to move cards from the foundation to the back of the tableau. Doing this allows you to move other cards. However, you may be penalized if you’re playing timed solitaire.
5. Think about Color When Filling Spaces
Deciding to fill a spot with a red or black King is a big move that should be thought through wisely. Note that the King’s color determines the color order of that pile until you finish the game.
Carefully analyze the cards you have first to ensure that you won’t get stuck when stacking piles. Additionally, you should maintain the right order. You simply need to master the basic requirements of the moves you can make to do this.
For instance, foundation piles are built from Aces to Kings as per the suit, while sequences are arranged from Kings to Aces, and players need to alternate cards of different colors. Don’t just place cards of any color anywhere. Think and carefully plan your moves.
6. Handle Your Face Down Cards First
Face Down cards are usually the hardest to handle and offer low mobility. Therefore, don’t ignore the option of freeing them if you have it. And if you can play this card from the stockpile, it’s always wise to play it on the tableau. Particularly, players should aim for the longest face down piles.
Speaking of handling cards, we advise that you play Kings only if you anticipate real benefits. Remember that Kings are the only ones that can fill a free space cell. Therefore, don’t just move them if you do not see that move bringing you any benefit. Ensure that you are cleverly developing your foundation.
While it is hard to build foundation piles in the early stages, this isn’t a completely bad thing. You can allow some cards to rest in the stockpile as they can help with movement later if you get stuck.
7. Try Creating Stacks of Similar Suits
This is an important tip, especially for the end game. Doing this will help you work up to free a stuck card from the face-down cards. However, understand that this can be impossible in some cases. But it is wise to keep this option in mind when you run out of choices. Let’s look at an example.
When you have a 7S card blocking various face down cards and you don’t have 5H/4S, you can decide to release piles of 7C-6D-5C-4D and 6C-5D-4S if you have them, then place the 7S to where the 7C was previously to free the face down card.
This process builds smooth stacks and is essentially useful for chains of 4-5-6-7-8 cards. However, you should note that you can’t move cards in the foundation. Therefore, before placing a card at this point, you should be aware that you can’t reverse it.
8. Avoid Emptying a Spot without a King
Don’t just remove all cards from the slots without a plan. If you empty tableau spots without having a King, these spaces will remain empty since only Kings can fill the spots. As such, the entire column of play will be blocked unless you can reveal a King from your other cards.
Additionally, we also advise that you move cards only when it is necessary. Sure, it can be tempting to shuffle cards from pile to pile and build them slowly. But, this could end up locking valuable cards of different colors behind lower cards. Therefore, unless it is with benefit, do not move cards for no reason.
Again, since we are talking about moving cards, you should always make sure that you move Aces and Deuces to your piles as soon as possible. Note that these are a threat to your success if you leave them in the tableau. Plus, they’ll not help you if you get stuck.
9. Make Same Suit Piles on an Open Board
If you can access many cards on the tableau, always make piles on your board that use a similar suit. What this means is that if you’re playing the 9 of clubs on top of the 20 of hearts, aim at adding more clubs and hearts to this pile.
This will help solve stalled games that have an ace trapped under a column that is not moveable.
For instance, if a player has only the ace of spades and hearts in their foundation pile, they can flip clean through a patterned column consisting of hearts and spades to get the downcards beneath. However, if a column isn’t in an even pattern, you’ll be unable to reach the underneath downcards.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Your Strategy
If you’re struggling to reveal downcards or add cards to your foundation, you should consider changing your strategy. It’s pointless to stick to a guideline set if you’re stuck. Try making a single pile or moving all the Kings, or throwing 5s, 6s, and 7s around until you find a successful path.
However, bear in mind that not all solitaire games are winnable. Therefore, if you’ve exhausted every option and you’re still not winning, you may be stuck in an impossible scenario.
Lastly, understand that a good solitaire player makes the highest score using few moves. Thus, aim at winning at the highest point.
What Are the Advantages of Playing Solitaire?
Although playing solitaire may not seem to offer obvious benefits, this game actually has several advantages. While people often enjoy this game as a way to kill time or alleviate boredom, solitaire also offers psychological benefits that can support a healthy mind and be useful in everyday life. Here are five advantages of playing solitaire:
Teaches Focus and Patience
Solitaire requires players to remain focused and patient while arranging cards in the foundation piles. These virtues are important, as many people struggle to maintain focus or patience when completing tasks that require time and attention.
Improves Cognitive Skills
Solitaire can improve analytical skills, response time, and decision-making processes. As players have limited resources for taking the right action that leads to winning, this game challenges the mind and enhances cognitive abilities.
Increases Social Interaction
Solitaire can increase social interaction, which is particularly beneficial for senior citizens who may spend most of their time indoors. Playing solitaire with others in online tournaments or offline can increase social presence, help combat social anxiety, and prevent isolation.
Calms the Mind
Solitaire can have a calming effect on the mind, putting players in a meditative state by allowing them to repeat similar actions to win. This can be helpful for those suffering from anxiety, providing a focus for the mind during low-action times.
Improves Problem-Solving Skills
Solitaire is essentially a problem-solving game that requires players to deduce equations and make creative solutions. Playing solitaire can prepare one to make quick and effective solutions in the future, especially when playing timed solitaire.
Where to Play Solitaire
The most popular way to play Solitaire is on your mobile device either through an app or the browser. Some sites allow you to play solitaire for free straight from your desktop browser if you prefer to play on your computer.
Solitaire is a great game to relax your mind. Playing cards can improve both short-term and long-term memory along with other cognitive functions. It can also stimulate your body’s immune system, which triggers visual use, memory, and sequencing.
But, while it might look like an easy game at the first glance, it can be tricky. However, with these expert strategies, you’ll be better equipped when playing next time. Plus, you can still use the tips and hints even when playing online.
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