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Top 10 Strategies to Win at Solitaire

When solitaire was first introduced, it helped people familiarize themselves with using a mouse to click, drag and drop items on the computer screen. But, while it is still played on desktops, this addictive game is enjoyed widely on mobile phones nowadays. It is a single-player card game that consists of 52 decks of playing cards.

There are two types of cards in this game. The downward facing cards and the upward facing cards. The upward facing cards are the single cards with their face value showing and are found at the end of each stack. Your job 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.

There are several versions of solitaire with some requiring more skills than others. For instance, there is a version called Klondike solitaire, which is a standard form of the basic solitaire game.

Now, because of the various variations, you’ll find this game having different names, depending on the region or casino. For instance, some people refer to Klondike as Canfield Solitaire. But the variations all have the same rules.

Many people wonder whether this game requires luck or strategy to win. Well, that depends on the version of the game that you play. For instance, some individuals argue that Klondike largely relies on luck while other hard versions like FreeCell are dependent on skillful strategic moves.

But, whether you rely on luck or not, there are some tips and tricks that could help you optimize your playing strategy.

Every solitaire game can’t be won. However, there are different strategies that you could take to improve your winning chances. Having a solitaire strategy will help you plan and calculate your moves. If you love to play this game, whether online or offline, this article talks about tips that will help you win at solitaire. Read on to learn more.

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 Benefits of Playing Solitaire?

Playing solitaire might not have obvious benefits. But this game does have various advantages. While killing time and boredom are the common reasons people love this game, players also collect psychological benefits that support a healthy mind and are useful in everyday life. Here are five benefits of playing solitaire.

Teaches You Focus and Patience

Many things can distract us and steal our attention from the task at hand. Plus, many people don’t have the patience to get through things. We want things done instantly, which is impossible in many cases. Thankfully, solitaire teaches us these two virtues.

For instance, if you are playing the standard solitaire version, you’ll need to be patient and focused so that you can arrange the cards right in the foundation piles.

Improves Your Cognitive Skills

If you’ve got a slow mind, you can use solitaire to improve your analytical skills and response time. This game enhances your cognitive skills as well as your decision-making process. Note that you’re not given many choices in this game. Rather you have limited resources for taking the right action that will lead you to win.

If you miss a few steps, you either lose, or you get a draw.

Increases Social Presence

Since aging makes it hard to move, senior citizens often spend most of their time indoors. But, when a person is cut off from social presence, it can lead to social anxiety, which develops from isolation. In extreme cases, it can even lead to depression.

Thankfully, a game like solitaire can increase a person’s social presence. While it can be played alone, you can play it with other people online in tournaments or offline. As such, it helps you become social, and you lead a good life.

Calms Your Mind

Solitaire is also a mind-calming game. It sets a player into a meditative state by letting them repeat similar actions to win it. Those suffering from anxiety might find it helpful. It’ll provide the mind with something to think and focus on during low-action times.

And by so doing, it diffuses the tension in your body and mind. Hence helping you relax.

Betters Your Problem Solving Skills

It’s normal to encounter issues without finding an effective solution sometimes for them. Solitaire is simply about solving problems and deducting equations.

As such, this game can prepare one to make creative solutions in the future. Plus, it teaches you how to think quickly. Especially when playing timed solitaire, you have to make the right moves quickly.

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.

You can play MobilityWare’s solitaire games on your iPhone/iPad or Android device.


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.

For more great content and fun games from MobilityWare, click here.

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