Is There a Strategy to Solitaire?

Basic Tips, Hints, Strategies for Solitaire

According to most accounts, the game of solitaire, in some form or another, dates back to the 18th century. That means that players have had a few thousand years to produce some pretty effective strategies for solitaire. Players use all different techniques and employ a variety of game plans. If you were to ask for the best solitaire strategy, you are likely to get a different answer from anybody that you ask. The only way to find solitaire strategies that work for you is to try a few for yourself.

Solitaire Social Tips

You might be interested in the features of our Solitaire game. It’s quite an unusual type of Solitaire to play against another player using magical buttons.

It should be noted that these methods are not mutually exclusive. In fact, most are meant to be used together. These are more solitaire strategy tips than they are outright strategies. These are basic ideas to keep in mind while playing, with a strong emphasis on basic.

Classic Solitaire Strategy

Know the Rules

When we say basic ideas, we really do mean basic. It goes without saying that you should be very familiar with the rules before playing, but this rudimentary step is worth mentioning because it’s easier than you think for some of the more obscure rules to slip your mind. You could consider yourself stuck when really, you are just unaware of all your current options.
Solitaire has been a staple of personal computers for years now, so everyone thinks they know the game inside and out, but you would be surprised at what you might not know.
Another reason for mentioning this is all of the versions of solitaire available these days. There are plenty of variations and twists on the standard game, so you will want to be familiar with any and all new rules.

Hold Off on the Hand

While it may be tempting to start sorting through the hand right away, it is a better idea to tackle the columns first. The more you can shuffle around and arrange on the actual board before drawing out of the hand, the better. Once the hand cards get involved, it only gets more complex, and drawing cards right away is only going to complicate matters. One step at a time!

Start With the Biggest Stacks

We can all picture the traditional layout in our minds, with the piles getting bigger as your look from left to right. These are your tableau piles. If you have multiple cards that you can play, it is a good idea to start with the biggest pile that you can work off. The bigger the pile is, the more cards there are to reveal, and the more cards revealed, the easier it is to start moving them to the foundation piles.start from the biggest stack

Do not Finish the Stacks

Everyone loves finishing a pile and having that empty tableau spot staring them in the face. However, you want to keep the seven piles as even as possible. This gives you access to the most cards at one time. If you have two or three giant piles, there are going to be a lot of buried cards that you cannot reach. If you have seven even piles, though, not only does that give you at least seven available cards but shifting things around to get to those buried cards is going to be easier on account of the options available.

Leave Your Options Open

There will be plenty of times, especially in the early game, where you will have multiple moves sitting in front of you. Do not just make a move because you can make it. Moving cards for the sake of it is a good way to dig yourself into a hole, at which point you can forget about winning the game. Always think ahead.
It can often be difficult to know just where a certain move will take you, so a good rule of thumb is to make the move that will leave you with even more moves to make. You always want as many options available as possible, so look at your top cards and decide which move will open up the most options.

Red King or Black King?

red and black kingsIf you do end up with an empty pile, that gives you an opportunity to place a King. Do not just throw down the first one you come across, however. Give serious thought to what color you are placing and look at your available cards to get an idea of your reds and blacks. Until you start moving cards to your foundation piles, you need to alternate colors, so make sure you do not leave yourself in a tight spot by not clearing room for the colors at hand. In short, do not play a Red King if you do not have a Black Queen!

Pay Attention to Suits

The foundation spots are dedicated to the four suits – clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds – so it is a good idea to contain suits to specific piles when you can. This is not mandatory, of course, and if you need to mix spades and clubs or hearts and diamonds that is not going to kill your chances of a victory. That being said, the more a row sticks to the same two suits (because the colors need to alternate, it will always be at least two suits), the easier it will be to fill the foundation spots once you near the end.

Leave the King

This goes hand-in-hand with not finishing the stacks, but if you simply can’t resist the urge, at least leave the King down. This way you already have the foundation laid to start another stack without having to wait for another King to pop up. More importantly, you can only move a King to that empty space, so that entire row will remain useless until you uncover one or pull one from the cards in the stock.

Aces and Twos Go Straight to the Foundation

Aces and Twos do not help a lot in solitaire, because their placement is so limited. So, when you get an Ace or a Two (especially an Ace, obviously), the best move is usually to move it straight to a foundation pile. With Aces this is easy, because they are the building block of the pile, but a Two you may have to hop around with until you get the matching Ace laid down.

Change Your Strategy

If a certain strategy just is not working, do not be afraid to change it up. None of these strategies are mandatory. You can clear columns, mix suits, and work from the smallest stacks first and still end up winning the game. These are tips, not rules, so use them as you see fit. Not every tip will be applicable. As silly as it sounds, the best strategy for solitaire is whatever works!

Do not Be Afraid to Undo

Undo in online SolitaireMost digital solitaire games offer an undo option that will let you take your last move back. You can also easily emulate this in a tabletop game. If you are a solitaire purist, you may see this as cheating, but if you are just out to have fun, let yourself off the hook. The undo feature is there to be used. If you are not playing in a tournament or playing for money, that means you are just playing to have fun, so do not impose silly rules where there are not any. It is just a card game. Undo those mistakes!

Expect Unwinnable Games

From a technical standpoint, every single game of solitaire is winnable. All of the necessary cards are there. However, unless you are psychic, you are going to make the wrong move from time to time and end up in a situation where the game cannot be won. You cannot know what the face down cards are, so sometimes you will just have to take a chance. There are going to be elements of luck and chance in every game of solitaire so you cannot get discouraged when you do not clear every board.
By using this embedded online Solitaire game you may practice all the advices above.

So Many Games, So Many Strategies

There are several variations of the classic solitaire formula. TriPeaks, Spider, Pyramid, and FreeCell are just a few of the more popular twists on the game. At heart, though, they are all solitaire. A lot of the strategies discussed above will be applicable, at least partly, to all the different forms of the game out there. Do not be afraid to experiment to figure out which strategies work for which variants. There are plenty of resources out there to help you improve your game. After all, to answer our initial question: yes, there is a strategy to solitaire.

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