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  • Writer's pictureHeather Zhu

Expert Solitaire Strategy: 8 Tips for Winning Every Game

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Solitaire is a classic card game that continues to be enjoyed by generations of players. It's a game that requires strategy, patience, and a little luck. While solitaire may seem simple, it can be quite challenging to win. For many years, mathematicians have tried to come up with a 100% winning solitaire strategy using mathematical theories. However, despite the attempts, no one has ever figured out a sure-winning strategy for this game. In this paper published in 2005, the researchers referred to Solitaire as "one of the embarrassments of applied mathematics." To quote, "...that we cannot determine the odds of winning the common game of solitaire" and that these games "remain beyond mathematical analysis." While there is no definitive research on the odds of winning solitaire, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances. Your skills as a player will have to play a big part in achieving them. This makes Solitaire an even more challenging and exciting game to try. In this article, we will give you the most effective solitaire strategies that can give you the advantage of winning the game.

How to play solitaire?

Before diving into our list of tricks for playing solitaire, it is important to know the rules first, especially for beginners. Below are the basic steps and rules on how to play solitaire, whether you are playing solitaire online or the classic solitaire card game.

  1. Shuffle the deck of cards and deal out seven piles of cards with the first pile containing one card, the second containing two cards, and so on, until the seventh pile has seven cards. Turn over the top card of the remaining deck to create a discard pile. For online solitaire, the cards are already prepared for you.

  2. Try to move all the cards to the four foundation piles, which are arranged by suit and in ascending order (from Ace to King).

  3. Start by looking for any aces in the seven piles of cards. Once you find an ace, move it to one of the foundation piles.

  4. Move cards around the seven piles of cards, trying to build down in alternating colors and in descending order. For example, a red 6 can be placed on a black 7, and a black Queen can be placed on a red King. You can move a single card or a sequence of cards from one pile to another.

  5. If you create an empty space in the seven piles of cards, you can fill it with a King or a sequence that starts with a King.

  6. The game continues until either all the cards have been moved to the foundation piles or there are no more moves available. If there are no moves available, turn over cards from the draw pile and try to create more moves.


How to win solitaire?

We already mentioned that there's no guaranteed formula to win a solitaire. The game has a lot of possibilities and it is up to you as a player to determine the possibilities based on your moves. However, there are recommended ways for an effective solitaire strategy. Here are 8 of the most effective tips and tricks to win Solitaire.

1. Always try to move cards to the foundation piles as soon as possible


Move cards to the foundation piles as soon as you can. Building the foundation piles early can free up more cards to move around the tableau, which can make it easier to find moves. Moving cards to the foundation also uncovers hidden cards in the tableau, which can give you more options. To build the foundation piles, you need to start with Aces and then add cards in ascending order by suit. Not all cards can be moved to the foundation right away, but it's still a good strategy to look for opportunities to move cards there early on. By building the foundation piles early, you create more spaces in the tableau and increase your chances of winning.

2. Look for cards that can be moved to the foundation piles immediately


Look for Aces, twos, and other low cards in the tableau that can be moved to the foundation piles immediately. Moving these cards to the foundation early can create more spaces in the tableau and give you more options for finding moves. Keep in mind that not all cards can be moved to the foundation immediately. For example, you can't move a King to the foundation until you've built a complete sequence of cards in descending order by suit in the tableau. However, by looking for cards that can be moved to the foundation as soon as possible, you can set yourself up for success in winning.


3. Try to create spaces in the tableau


You can do this by moving a card or sequence of cards from one tableau pile to another. Having more space can give you more flexibility to move cards around and find the best possible moves, and can also help you uncover more cards to build the foundation piles. However, it's important to create spaces strategically and not too quickly, so that you don't limit your options for moving cards around.

4. Use the undo button to backtrack if you make a mistake


Using the undo button in solitaire online can help you avoid getting stuck and increase your chances of finding the best possible moves. However, it's important to use it strategically so that you don't slow down your gameplay and reduce your score.

5. Don't be afraid to draw cards from the deck


Drawing cards can help you uncover hidden cards in the tableau and increase your chances of finding moves.

6. Plan ahead and look for potential moves before making any moves


In Solitaire, it's important to plan ahead and think about potential moves before making them. This can help you make more informed decisions and increase your chances of winning the game. By looking for cards that can be moved to the foundation piles and considering the consequences of each move, you can make more strategic decisions and avoid making mistakes.

7. Keep an eye on the suit of the cards you're moving


When building tableau piles, alternate between red and black cards to ensure you always have the right cards available to build sequences and move cards to the foundation piles. When building the foundation piles, arrange the cards by suit in ascending order to easily see which cards are still needed to complete each pile. By following these solitaire strategies, you can definitely improve your game.

8. When possible, move cards from the highest piles first


Prioritize moving cards from the highest piles first. This can free up more cards to move around the tableau, which can help you find better moves and increase your chances of completing the game successfully. By focusing on the highest piles, you can maximize the number of available cards and improve your Solitaire game.

Is Solitaire skill or luck?

Now that you learned our 8 tips and tricks on how to win solitaire, can we say that Solitaire is based on skill or luck? The answer is yes for both. It's a combination of luck from the moment the cards are dealt and your skills as a player. Your ability to predict possibilities and calculate your moves will make your odds of winning solitaire be in your favor. To come up with the best solitaire strategy, you must keep on practicing and play more games. Set a timer for each game and try to beat your best time for each round that you play. See for yourself and observe what tricks work the best. Create your own playstyle and try to beat the odds using your skills. To practice and play Solitaire games for free, you can check out this online solitaire. Play for free and you can even win some money, too!

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