By Neal Taparia - 06/27/2022
Spider Solitaire is a card game that tests skill and patience. It’s a variation of the traditional solitaire format. Unlike traditional Klondike Solitaire, Spider Solitaire uses two full decks of cards and features 10 playing columns. However, the aim of the two games is the same – to clear the playing area by moving complete stacks of cards, from ace to king, from the tableau to the foundation pile. There are multiple variations of Spider Solitaire itself, which increase in difficulty depending on whether the player uses one, two, or four card suits. This dictates whether players can create foundation piles based just on numerical order (one-suit), or if they must also be stacked by color (two-suit) or suit (four-suit).
There are many variations of solitaire that test different levels of skill, patience, and concentration. While each solitaire game may vary in the number of decks or cards used – and have different playing area layouts – the aim of each game is the same, to stack cards and clear the tableau. Some common alternatives to Spider Solitaire include:
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Spider Solitaire is a variation on traditional Klondike Solitaire, in which a player aims to stack cards in numerical order from ace to king and move these completed stacks out of the tableau and into a foundation pile. Once all eight stacks are completed and moved out of the tableau, the game is won.
The differences between Spider Solitaire and classic Solitaire come in the number of cards, playing columns, and foundation piles used. In traditional Solitaire, only a single deck of 52 cards is used, with seven tableau columns and four foundation piles. In Spider Solitaire, two full decks of cards are used, with 10 tableau columns and eight foundation piles.
The set-up of Spider Solitaire is similar to the traditional game, with both variations having three main playing areas – the tableau, the foundation pile, and the reserve pile. To create the tableau, make 10 columns consisting of four face-down cards each. Then, add one face-down card to each of the first four columns and a face-up card to the final six columns. Finally, add a face-up card to each of the first four columns. Leave space for eight foundational piles in the top right-hand corner of your playing area, with space for your reserve pile in the top left-hand corner. The final set-up should look like this:
Once the layout is complete, the player can begin to make moves. Any card (or numerical stack) in the tableau can be moved to any other, granted its value is one less than the card or stack it is being added to.
In a game of two-suit or four-suit Spider solitaire, any card can still be stacked on any other (granted its value is one lower) but only completed stacks of the same suit can be moved to the foundation pile.
When a player can no longer make any moves with the face-up cards available on the tableau, they can deal 10 additional cards from the reserve pile – one face-up card onto each of the 10 columns. However, there must be at least one card in each of the 10 columns before a player is allowed to deal.
Unlike traditional solitaire, any card can be moved into a vacant column – new piles don’t have to begin with a king.
Once a player has completed a full-suit stack – ace to king, of the same suit – this stack can be moved to one of eight foundation piles. Once all eight piles are completed, and the tableau is empty, the game is won.
If the player runs out of moves and deals before completing the eight foundational piles, the game is lost.
While the aim of the game is simple, the rules of Spider Solitaire make the game challenging. The rules are similar to traditional Solitaire, with any exposed card able to be moved to another stack if its value is one less than the top card on the new stack. However, the main difference in rules is that, in Spider Solitaire, stacks cannot be created within foundational piles. In traditional solitaire, the foundation piles act as live stacks, with single cards able to be moved into a foundation pile if the value is one higher than the top card. In Spider Solitaire, only complete stacks – from ace to king – can be moved into a foundation pile at once. There are also different rules depending on the variation of the game being played.
One-suit Spider Solitaire is the simplest variation of the game and is perfect for beginners. As its name suggests, one-suit Spider Solitaire only features a single card suit, meaning every card or stack can be moved to another based only on numerical value. And any complete stack, from act king, can be moved to the foundation pile. Once all eight foundation piles are created, the game is won.
Two-suit Spider Solitaire is ideal for intermediate-level players. Any card can be moved to another stack granted its value is one lower than the top card. However, only completed stacks in a single suit can be moved to the foundation pile. For example, a four of clubs could be stacked on a five of hearts, but only a full-suit stack – ace to king of all the same suit – can be moved to the foundation pile. The aim of the game is to create eight foundation piles – four of each suit.
Four-suit Spider Solitaire is the most challenging variation of the game and features all four traditional card suits. As in all variations of the game, any face-up card can be moved around the tableau by stacking onto another card with a greater value of one – for example, any three-card can stack onto any four-card of any color or suit. However, only complete, single-suit stacks can be moved to the foundation pile. This, therefore, increases the game’s difficulty, as the greater number of suits limits opportunities to move same-suit cards around the tableau. When a player creates eight foundation piles – two of each suit – the game is won. If the player is unable to make any further moves or deals, the game is lost.
There is no single foolproof method for winning at Spider Solitaire. A player’s chances of winning will depend on both the variation of the game as well as the way the cards are dealt. One-suit Spider Solitaire gives a player the highest likelihood of winning, followed by two-suit Spider Solitaire, with four-suit Spider Solitaire being the most challenging, although it is still possible to win. However, in any variation of the game, some deals are unwinnable, regardless of the moves made. The likelihood of dealing an unwinnable hand increases with the number of suits being played. In many online versions of the game, including Solitaired, players can toggle game settings to play ‘winnable games only’. Regardless of the type of game, there are some ways to increase a player’s chances of winning. These include:
As only face-up cards can be moved, it’s important to ‘expose’ these as soon as possible. The more face-up cards available, the more moves the player can make – increasing the likelihood of completing full stacks and moving them to the foundation pile. This also increases a player’s chances of emptying a tableau pile, which is useful for rearranging cards later in the game.
Before dealing 10 new cards, the player should be confident they have made every move possible on the current tableau. Once the player deals, a new card may cover a possible move and make it more difficult to complete stacks.
Unlike traditional Klondike Solitaire, an empty tableau pile can be populated by any card – not just a king. So, players can use empty tableau piles to move any card needed to expose a more useful card or stack underneath. For two- and four-suit games, follow these additional tips:
Where possible, players should always stack cards of the same suit before making any other moves. This is because the aim of the game is to clear the table by moving single-suit stacks to the foundation pile. Moving cards based on number rather than suit can ‘trap’ a useful card, which can no longer be moved or accessed.
Stacks of cards can only be moved when they are in the same suit, so building lower-value stacks of different suits means the player cannot move multiple cards at once. Building on higher-value ‘out of suit’ cards first means the player minimizes the number of cards they ‘trap’.
When a player moves a completed stack to the foundation pile, they should look at the remaining cards on the tableau to see where they can use the extra space. This may include moving smaller stacks into the vacated pile to expose ‘trapped’ cards below.
Spider Solitaire is different from traditional Klondike Solitaire in the number of cards used, piles available in the tableau, and the number of foundation piles needed to win the game.
In traditional solitaire, there are 52 cards in play, seven piles in the tableau, and the player needs to complete four foundation piles to win. In Spider Solitaire there are 104 cards in play, 10 tableau piles, and the player must complete eight foundation piles to win.
The aim of the game, however, is the same – to clear the tableau by completing ‘stacks’ of same-suit cards, from ace to king, and moving them to the foundation pile.
There is no single trick to guarantee a win in Spider Solitaire. The chances of winning a game of Spider Solitaire will depend on the variation of the game being played – one-, two-, or four-suit – the deal of the cards, and the player’s ability.
However, one-suit Spider Solitaire gives the player the greatest chance of winning, along with understanding the rules of the game. The odds of winning a game can also decrease with each move made and a single move can make a winnable hand unwinnable. Check out the tips in our guide to improve your chances of winning at Spider Solitaire.
Spider Solitaire uses two complete decks of playing cards, with 104 cards in total. 54 cards are initially in play in the tableau, split between 10 piles – four piles of six cards and six piles of five cards. The remaining 50 cards are then placed in the reserve or ‘stock’ pile and are used in five separate deals of 10 cards each.
No, not every game of Spider Solitaire is winnable. The chances of winning a game of Spider Solitaire depend on the variation of the game being played – one-, two-, or four-suit – as well as the deal of cards and the player’s ability.
One-suit Spider Solitaire is the simplest variation of the game and almost every deal of this version is winnable. The likelihood of a deal being winnable decreases by playing either two- or four-suit Spider Solitaire.
Some games are simply unwinnable to begin with, however, even in a winnable hand, every move a player makes can change the chances of winning. A single ‘wrong’ move can a winnable game become unwinnable.
The best variation of Spider Solitaire depends on the player, their preferences, and their ability. One-suit Spider Solitaire is advised for beginners as it provides the greatest chance of winning, while four-suit Spider Solitaire provides the greatest challenge for experienced players.
At Solitaired.com, you’ll find over 500 games including all variations of Spider Solitaire. Plus, you can toggle the settings on your game to suit you – including playing ‘winnable games only’.
The highest score possible in Spider Solitaire will depend on the platform used, as each has its own scoring system. Most Spider Solitaire games will give a player a starting score and deduct points for each move made and award points when a completed stack is moved to the foundation pile.
At Solitaired.com, we offer leaderboards for each of our games, so you can save your score and compare with other players.
Below is a list of the key terms used in Spider Solitaire that you may come across in this guide or while playing the game. We’ve even included a definition of each term to help you better understand the game and improve your gameplay:
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