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Undo moves. The chances of winning solitaire are between 80 and 90%. However, even if you have a winnable game, if you make one wrong move, it may be the end of your game. If you're stuck, you can undo as many moves as you’d like to get yourself back in the game and win!
Change difficulty levels. You can play solitaire with turn 1 and turn 3 options. Turn 1 is when 1 card is drawn from the stockpile at a time and is an easier version. Turn 3 is when three cards are moved from the stockpile at time, and is harder because you can only play every third card.
Track your moves and time. If you love solitaire, you’ll want to track how many moves it takes to win a game, and how long it takes. You then challenge yourself to beat your record times and number of moves. Practice makes perfect!
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Not only can you play solitaire online, we've put together one of the most comprehensive guides to teach you everything about the game. Below, learn about:
The goal of classic or klondike solitaire is to create four foundations, each based on their suit color, and ordered numerically starting with the Ace at the bottom and ending with the King at the top.
The foundations are placed in the top row, next to the stockpile, which is on the far left. In the example below, you’ll see that two of the four foundations have so far been created. The Ace in the Spade pile is the first card placed in that pile. In the diamond pile, the Ace has already been placed there, and then followed by the Two of Diamonds. To complete the Diamond pile, you’ll need to place then place the Three of Diamonds, followed by the Four of Diamonds, etc., until the foundation is complete with the King at the top.
Once all four foundations are complete, you win. Cards are moved to the Foundation from either the Stock or the Tableau.
You can place cards in the Foundation pile from the Tableau, which is the series of 7 columns beneath the four foundation piles.
Starting the game, each of the seven columns in the tableau has a different number of cards. The first tableau column has one card, the second column has two cards, the third column has three cards, etc., and the last column has seven cards. The last card in each of the tableau columns is flipped over so you can see the card. Only the last card in each tableau column, or the card flipped over from the stockpile, can be moved to the foundation.
You can freely move any face up cards within the tableau. Cards that are eligible for movement must end up on top of a card that is of the next highest value after it, as well as the opposite color. In the example below, you can see how the Three of Hearts can be moved on top of the Four of Clubs. As you move cards within the tableau, the last face down card is then flipped over revealing more cards, which can eventually be moved to the foundation or elsewhere in the Tableau. You’ll see below as the Three of Hearts is moved, the Queen of Hearts is found.
You can move a group of cards in the Tableau, and not only individual cards. Below, you’ll see how both the Queen of Hearts and Jack of Clubs can be moved on top of the King of Spades.
You also have an opportunity to move kings into any spaces created by the full removal of cards from a Tableau column. This process can be important as it can help you unearth more cards from the Tableau, helping you win the game.
In the example below, you’ll see how the first column in the tableau is empty, as that card has either been moved to the Foundation or another part of the Tableau. In that empty Tableau column, the King of Spades, Queen of Hearts, and Jack of Clubs can all be moved there together. This reveals a new card from the column they were moved from, progressing the game. Alternatively, in the same example, you can move the King of Clubs from the Stock pile to the empty Tableau column.
At the beginning of the game, all the cards that are not dealt into the Tableau are then part of The Stock, which is the group of cards face down on the top left.
Cards can be taken from the Stock one at a time, and are placed individually next to it face up. Once placed face up, cards are “active” and can be placed onto any available foundation or into the tableau. For example, if there is an Ace of Diamonds in the foundation, and a Two of Diamonds is drawn from the stockpile, it can then be placed on top of the Ace of Diamonds. In the graphic below, a Nine of Clubs in the stockpile can be moved on top of a 10 of diamonds in the tableau.
If a card taken from the Stock can not be placed in either the Tableau or the Foundation, another card can be moved from the Stock on top of the card that could not be placed, which is now considered inactive and part of the “waste.” You can continue to draw cards from the Stock until it’s exhausted, at which point all the waste cards are again placed facedown in a new Stock, which you can then start drawing cards from again.
As you move cards among the Tableau or from the Stock, you are “building.” All these movement methods can be used and recycled continuously until primary goal or completing all four foundations is complete, or a stalemate occurs. In the latter case, the game terminates because there are no longer any viable movement options on the Tableau or in the remaining Stock pile.
On Solitaired, we keep track of how long it takes you to win a game and the total moves you make. As you get better, you can challenge yourself by completing games faster or with less moves.
After a 52-card deck is shuffled you’ll begin to set up the Tableau by distributing the cards into seven columns face down, with each new card being placed into the next column.
The Tableau increases in size from left to right, with the left-most pile containing one card and the right-most containing seven. As an example, this means the first seven cards will create the seven columns of the Tableau. The eighth card distributed will go into the second column, since the first column already has its one and only card.
After the piles are complete, they should be cascaded downwards such that they form a “reverse staircase” form towards the right. Ultimately, you will have seven piles, with the first pilie containing one card, the second pile containing two cards, the third pile containing three cards etc. Only the last card in each of the Tableau columns is flipped over face up so you can see it’s suit, color and value. In our game, this is automatically done for you!
All leftover cards after the foundations are created become the “Stock,” where you can turn over the first card.
Here's a video to see how to set up and play a solitaire game to get a better understanding.
The following terms show up across most popular solitaire gameplay modes. You should familiarize yourself with these terms even if you only intend to play Klondike or classic solitaire because each term’s in-game mechanics may influence how you approach the game in the first place. These terms will also allow you to understand different strategies more effectively.
The Stock (called the “talon” in some game modes) refers to the cards left over after setting up the Tableau for a round. These cards are usually kept facedown, with cards being withdrawn from the top of the deck and placed in the “waste” pile unless the player can apply the newly revealed card to their foundations.
Depending on the rules of the chosen solitaire game, the Stock can sometimes be remade by taking all cards from the waste pile and flipping them back over. At that time, the new Stock may be shuffled if the game mode allows for it.
Also known as the “heap” or the “discard pile”, the waste refers to the collection of cards that are drawn from the Stock and placed face up. Only cards from the Stock can be placed in the waste pile, while only the card at the top of the waste pile is considered “active” for placement onto the player’s foundations.
This is the area used for “building” over the course of a game. Tableau structures can vary from one game mode to another. In Klondike or classical solitaire, foundations are randomized when the player creates the basic seven column cascading structure at a round’s commencement. This whole area is known as the Tableau.
While not used in all forms of solitaire, cells are a special mechanic that provide the player with a maneuvering space over a round’s course. Cells take the form of a “free space,” often above the main Tableau, that will accept a single card at a time. Any card can be placed into these cells, though it is common to use this space to reserve a strategically significant card such as an Ace. In classic solitaire, there is no cell or free space.
Building is the process undertaken by the player that involves moving cards around the Tableau for the purpose of achieving the game mode’s main goal. These mechanics will vary based upon the game mode’s rules, with options to require building based upon the cards’ suit, color, and more. In Klondike solitaire, for example, cards are built into the foundations based on alternating colors and descending card values.
A family is one term used to describe a “completed” foundation based upon the specific rules of the game mode. Most modes define a family as containing one of all 13 card values, starting with the low card Ace and ending with the King. In Klondike solitaire, each family must have the same suit.
The Dummies guide has additional terms you might want to familiarize yourself with.
Several worthwhile strategies exist for solitaire, most of which are based around strategization and anticipating which cards remain available on the Tableau as well as in the Stock. Also, because it's a game based in creating current and future opportunities for successful building, many of the following tips also provide fool proof methods for creating fresh opportunities during the course of play.
Here again, all of the following tips and strategies apply specifically to Klondike solitaire. However, some of these strategies may also apply to alternative game modes depending on the game design
At the beginning of a fresh game, always flip the first card on the stockpile before making any moves on the Tableau. This will provide you with one extra option while considering which moves will be most advantageous in the long term.
As you play, always move aces to the Foundation. Because the ace is crucial to starting a a foundation, it is advantageous to place them there from the get go. The same process can be done for “2”s, depending on how your particular game is progressing.
Whenever possible, make moves that expose hidden cards on the Tableau. This process will put more viable cards in play as you progress, making it less likely that you’ll hit a stalemate because the card you need is still face down and covered.
In the process of exposing hidden cards, you should prioritize exposing cards in the largest remaining Tableau columns first. This means, the columns towards the right. This helps to ensure that these larger piles (usually the two rightmost piles) do not become a burden to satisfy late in the game, when the total number of viable card sequencing options begins to shrink.
During regular play, you will likely have an opportunity to completely free up one of the columns on the Tableau. However, you should only open a free space on the Tableau if you have a king immediately available to fill it. Failing to do so can close off one major option until a viable king appears from the Stock or from the remaining hidden cards.
As you play, remain mindful of your color options. This is because you must sequence each card in a given foundation by alternating color. Moreover, there are only two color options for any given card value in a deck, making it more challenging to successfully complete a round if you fail to account for when or where a properly colored card may appear.
In all forms, the primary goal of the game is to reorganize or sort the cards in the deck according to certain parameters. In regular solitaire, which is the classic version you're used to playing and often called Patience or Klondike solitaire, this goal takes the form of sorting the deck’s cards into four piles (sometimes known as a “family” or the Foundation) from Ace to King of the same color and suite.
Generally, an individual player’s goal in playing is to successfully expend their entire “Stock” while placing every card into a “family” or foundation while using a tableau to sequence and move cards. Here are popular alternative game modes that you should try out after mastering classic klondike solitaire.
In this game mode, all cards are dealt into eight cascades face up such that all cards are visible from the get-go. The goal of this game is to build up each of the foundations (which receive their own special cells) by suit, starting with the ace and rising to the king.
This game mode has become increasingly popular since it was added as a free game in the Windows operating system in the 1990s.
This mode requires two decks of 52 cards, which are shuffled together and dealt out into 10 cascading piles. The top card of each pile is then flipped, after which point the player works to build families by rank and in suit sequence order. Additionally, 10 cards from the Stock can be dealt out for use so long as there are no open spots on the Tableau.
This unique game calls for the player to arrange the Tableau in a single large cascade shaped like a pyramid, with a single card at top and continuing down to a six card base. All cards are face up, with only cards that are not “covered” by two other cards in the pyramid being considered active. These cards must be paired with cards draw from the Stock to create pairs equal to 13 (based upon traditional valuations for face cards).
Solitaire is one of the few card games with one of its core mechanics right there in the name. In fact, most folks treat solitaire (also known as “patience” in Europe) as the go-to card game when they’re playing solo or alone. You don't need to coordinate with friends to play the game, or worry about hurting anyone’s feelings by winning. You can start playing unencumbered immediately.
Whether you’re playing on a computer or with your own 52-card deck, it can test your ability to strategize and plan ahead (even without an opponent present). Francis Prose explained it best in a New York Times op ed, noting that the thrill of solitaire comes from beating personal best scores while juggling skill, randomness, and luck at the same time. Though the game takes some “patience,” it’s can also be very rewarding when you win.
Computer solitaire was originally introduced in the Microsoft Windows system. Back then, users did not understand how to use a computer system, in particular how to use and click with a mouse. Solitaire was introduced as a simple way to teach users hand eye coordination with the mouse. Clicking and moving cards around was a simple and fun way to orient users with the mouse skills needed to use a computer.
The introduction of solitaire in Windows led to many professionals playing the game at work. Just like coffee breaks, playing solitaire is an easy and quick way to step away from work and recharge. In fact many studies show the importance of taking breaks at work. For example, a micro break of 30 seconds to 5 minutes, can improve mental sharpness by 13% and one small 15 second break every 10 minutes reduces fatigue by over 50%. Solitaire is an ideal outlet to take a quick break.
Solitaire also helps reduce mental stress. Games can be a form of escapism from everyday stress. The rapid gameplay and the quick progression you playing is ideal to focus your mind away from life’s anxieties, and can thereby improve your overall wellbeing. Physiologically, endorphins are released through the excitement of the game, leading to the feelings of pleasure. However, the immediate rewards you can get from winning, and the ability to quickly play again, can also make the game addicting.
Solitaire may find its origins in a fortune-telling layout used in Demark and Norway as far back as the mid 1700s. The game, with several of its modern mechanics, became popular in France in the 1800s, which in turn caused it to spread to England and eventually North America. In England, in particular, the game (under its worldwide name, “patience”) was even popular enough to be mentioned by Charles Dickens in his contemporary classic, Great Expectations.
The first written account of the game’s rules and structure appeared in an 1870 book by a woman named Lady Adelaide Cadogan. Similar collections popped up around this time, which led to the standardization of solitaire’s mechanics into what is known as Klondike mode today. However, even as far back as Lady Cadogan’s collection, players of the game were creating variations that acted as seeds for the hundreds of alternative solitaire games available today.
Solitaire also received a new birth of interest after it went digital. Though versions had been available on earlier computer systems, the inclusion of solitaire among the free games in the Windows operating system allowed new players to learn the game in the free time. This same phenomenon caused FreeCell and Spider to both rise in popularity among the general population, as they appeared as free games in later editions of Windows.