For centuries upon centuries now, human beings have been playing card games in some form. The great thing about card games is the fact that, despite the breakthroughs and advancements in modern technology, all of the new forms of entertainment out there, and the new games that have been invented over the centuries, card games are still hugely entertaining and are still a part of modern living.
With card games you know exactly what you’re getting. There’s no need to download any new files. You don’t need to wait hours to play a game, there’s no need for a new update every 10 seconds, and you don’t need to worry about getting into arguments with complete strangers online. Ah, bliss.
While there are far too many card games out there for us to even consider listing them all, one of the most popular games is one which has been around for close to two centuries now, and that game is Solitaire.
Solitaire is a game of chance, luck, and skill. It tests you mentally, and at times it will also test your patience. Ultimately, though, it’s wholesome and very rewarding. If you’re a keen solitaire player and you’d like to improve, the following should prove very useful.
First off, what exactly is solitaire?
Don’t you worry, we’ll help you become the best solitaire player that you can possibly be in just a few moments. Before we can start sharing a few of the tips needed to become the world’s greatest solitaire player, though, we need to make sure you know exactly what the game is.
Solitaire is a single-player card game that is actually a collective name for a series of very similar card games which all share the same objectives – to systemically use up all of your cards, or in some cases, to pair the cards up so as to discard them.
The object of solitaire is to use all of your playing cards up by forming sequences and arrangements. There are different variants of solitaire and each one has a slightly different objective. Primarily however, the solitaire you’re most likely to encounter will require players to begin with a shuffled pack of cards and will attempt to arrange the cards into some type of numerical order, and often also arrange them in suits as well.
The game is also known as ‘cabale’ and ‘patience’, especially in England, so that gives you some idea of what type of game it is. If you like your card games rapid and fast-paced, solitaire may not be ideal for you. You need to channel your inner patience, take your time, and keep your cool if you want to master the art of solitaire. Fortunately for you, we’ve got a few tips and tricks up our sleeves to help you become a better solitaire player, and we’ll be sharing those with you a little later on.
A brief history of solitaire
In this next section, we’ll keep things brief. Partly because you’ll no doubt be itching to break out the cards and enjoy a game or two of solitaire, and partly because there are conflicting reports online surrounding the history and origins of solitaire.
We don’t claim to be historians, but we do know card games and the general consensus does seem to indicate that solitaire likely originated in Europe, around the late 18th century, or possibly the early 19th century, in Europe’s Baltic region. There are for example, a lot of references to the game we now know as solitaire, that can be traced back to Europe in the early 1800s.
What’s interesting to note, however, is that the game as we know it, was probably not originally designed for fun at all. Nowadays when we want to enjoy some simple fun and test ourselves mentally, we break out the cards (or jump online for a game of online solitaire) and see how many sequences we can form. Back then however, solitaire was likely a form of fortune telling.
If the individuals getting their fortune read had their cards form a sequence like what is needed to win at solitaire nowadays, this would indicate that their desires and wishes would come true. If no sequence formed, sadly that meant no dreams would be coming true for that unfortunate soul.
Another theory that adds fuel to the fire of solitaire, initially being a form of primitive fortune telling, is the fact that it is also known as ‘cabale’. ‘Cabale’ translates to ‘secret knowledge’. Hmmm, the plot thickens…
In 1826, a collection of ‘patience’ games were first published in Russia. These are the oldest known recorded references to the game commonly enjoyed today. The game’s popularity quickly spread to France and Germany.
It wasn’t long before the first English language translations made an appearance and in the 1860s, the game found its way to the UK. Legendary Victorian writer Charles Dickens’ book ‘Great Expectations’ even references the game as he has one of his characters playing a ‘complicated kind of patience with ragged cards’. This helped to boost the popularity of the game further, so much so in fact, that Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, was said to be a huge fan of the game.
Fast-forward to the present day and millions upon millions of people all over the globe still enjoy Patience today, both online and the good old-fashioned way, with a trusty deck of cards.
Solitaire Game Strategies
Okay, so, we know what the game is and where it traces its origins. What we don’t yet know, is what it takes to become a true master of solitaire.
Despite solitaire being fairly simple, and requiring a certain amount of luck rather than just skill, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do to become a better player.
If you’ve been bitten by the solitaire bug and you’re aspiring to be the best solitaire player that the world has ever seen, you’re probably reading the wrong guide. Seriously, though, while we can’t guarantee that the tips we’re about to share will make you a world class solitaire player, we can guarantee that you’ll find them useful at the very least.
Here are several proven strategies to help you become the best solitaire player that you can be.
Familiarize yourself with the rules
Needless to say, before you begin playing solitaire, one of the most important things you can do is take the time to learn the rules first.
There are many different versions of solitaire out there, and while each one is similar to the last, they are not exactly identical which is why it’s so important to learn the rules. Learning the rules of any game before playing it is vital, but for solitaire especially, this is truer than ever.
Of course, you know the basics, I.E building sequences, utilizing suits etc, but each variant of the game has other rules that you must learn if you want to increase your chances of winning. The good news is that the rules of most variants are not complex, so you should master them pretty quickly.
Begin with the bigger stacks first
Another very important strategy for any up-and-coming solitaire player is to start off with the larger stacks of cards first.
Most experts agree that it is best to try to expose columns which have the bigger stacks first when you’re looking for hidden cards which have yet to be revealed. This is because when you do this you’ll have more chances of turning over cards which are useful to you. It will increase your chances of building a larger stack of revealed cards.
This is also very important for you to move all cards from the stack. Once you’ve done this you can then work on cards which can be dealt with from the actual deck itself.
Always take suit color into consideration
One of the biggest mistakes that players who are new to solitaire tend to make, is failing to take the color of the suits into consideration.
When you fill a spot with a king, always pay attention to the color, and think wisely. This is because the color of the king will determine the color of the cards that will go into that stack. Think whether red or black would be the most useful king.
Before you commit, look at your existing cards and analyze them carefully so as to not get stuck with the wrong colors when you’re stacking your pile.
Understand foundations and sequences
When building foundation piles for example, you need to know that these are built with Aces low, and Kings high. This means they are built from Aces to Kings, according to the suit.
When forming a sequence however, the tables are reversed as you arrange them from Kings to Aces. Cards also need to be alternated between different colors. Again, this takes us back to what we were just saying about the importance of taking suit color into consideration.
Never empty a spot without a king
One of the most common mistakes that rookie solitaire players tend to make, and one which can so easily be avoided, is to never empty a pile or tableau spot, just for the sake of getting rid of all of the cards from that particular spot.
While clearing the spots is all well and good, if you don’t have a King that you can place into the spot, it will remain empty. If you’ve been paying attention, rather than browsing TikTok or watching random strangers argue online on social media, you would remember that we just mentioned how it is just Kings which can fill these spaces.
If you don’t fill it with a king, you’re setting yourself up for a bumpy ride because you basically can’t do anything with that column until you finally find a King from your other cards.
Begin by turning up the first deck card
Though this sounds fairly simple and straightforward, you’d be amazed by how many solitaire newbies make the mistake of starting to build their piles, while moving cards around on their tableau, without first revealing the first hidden card located within the upper deck.
While people have different strategies and trains of thought, if you want to be the best solitaire player that you can be, you need to get into the habit of revealing this card first, as in your very first move.
The main reason for this is that it will provide you with more options when you begin building the four foundation decks at the summit of your tableau, or on the piles underneath. With solitaire, and indeed, most things in life for that matter, it’s always nice to have options.
Only move cards when you have reason to
When playing solitaire, it’s always tempting to shuffle the cards from each pile to try and build them up, but this strategy can actually backfire on you.
If you shuffle cards and move them in this way there is always the risk that you will lock a valuable card behind a card lesser in value, essentially rendering it useless. This could come back to bite you on the rear end as the game progresses, and could even prevent you from winning.
Only move cards when you have reason to, I.E if you need to reveal a card that is hidden, or when you know it will be beneficial to do so.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? You practice, of course.
Finally, while this will likely not get you to Carnegie Hall, New York, it will get you to become a better solitaire player. The last technique needed for becoming a true solitaire master is to practice.
Like any game, the more you play and practice, the better you will become. The only way to get better at playing solitaire is to play more.
What are the main benefits of solitaire?
Now that you are, hopefully, resolved to practice solitaire more, let’s strengthen your resolution even more and explore the reasons why solitaire is such a fun game with many benefits.
Solitaire is a very entertaining game to play, yet it also provides a wide range of other benefits that people may not necessarily have been aware of before. While the game may not change the landscape of humanity forever, it certainly has its benefits, which we’re going to highlight below.
If you’ve been mulling over the idea of playing solitaire but have yet to commit to making a decision, here’s a look at several key benefits of playing this wonderful game.
Solitaire can be relaxing
Don’t get us wrong, solitaire can be very frustrating, especially when you’re painfully close to forming the perfect sequence, yet can’t quite make it happen. Despite this, however, it’s also a very enjoyable and relaxing game as well.
Solitaire is a game that helps people to mentally switch off, relax, live in the moment, and enter a zen-like state.
When playing solitaire, you switch off from the outside world because you need to focus solely on playing the game and achieving your goal. You’ll be so focussed on the game that you’ll forget about the stresses of work and everyday life and will instead live in the moment.
Solitaire is not as mentally demanding as a lot of other card games, but it requires just enough attention to keep your mind busy while helping the brain to relax, without shutting off entirely.
Solitaire is a great way to pass the time
Another very important benefit of solitaire that people often don’t realize, is the fact that the game is an ideal way to pass the time.
Solitaire is a single player card game that can be enjoyed anywhere, at any time. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can even enjoy the game on your phone, laptop, or tablet so you don’t even need to get up off the couch.
Because solitaire is relatively simple to play, and not especially mentally draining or taxing, it’s the perfect game to play alone when you’re bored and looking for a way to pass the time. Rather than scrolling aimlessly through social media, watching videos of people falling over, how about a game of solitaire to pass the time instead?
Solitaire provides cognitive health benefits
Perhaps one of the most important, and lesser-known benefits of playing solitaire, is the fact that it can provide cognitive health benefits that are great for the brain.
Solitaire helps to keep your brain sharp and engaged. It requires basic problem-solving techniques while also teaching the importance of thinking ahead. Not only does it help to train the part of your brain associated with problem solving, it also helps to improve your short-term memory as well.
With solitaire, you need to remember which cards and suits you have, and think about which ones you need. Your brain, though relaxed, will never be switched off when playing solitaire so you can give it a gentle workout. It’s the equivalent of taking your brain on a gentle hike through the wilderness, going at your own pace, rather than trying to scale Everest as quickly as you can.
Solitaire can teach patience
Yes, yes, we know it’s only a card game and it really isn’t that deep, but when you stop and think about it, solitaire is actually a very useful tool when it comes to teaching life lessons.
Solitaire, for example, helps to teach patience. Heck, the clue is in the name, as the game is literally called this in some parts of the world. The game shows you that sometimes it is best to wait, rather than acting impulsively right away. It’s the perfect metaphor for life itself, in that ‘good things come to those who wait’.
Instead of acting in the heat of the moment, sometimes it’s best to stop, assess the situation, and plan ahead. Patience is the name of the game, and with solitaire, it’s more apt than ever. If you wait, think about the possible outcomes of future card turns, and hold your nerve, you could be rewarded handsomely.
Solitaire is fun
Finally, despite getting all deep and emotional on you, talking about life lessons, metaphors, and other buzzwords, the last benefit of playing solitaire which we’re going to share with you today, is simply the fact that it is fun.
Yes, solitaire is a simple card game, but so what? Sometimes the simplest things in life are enjoyed the most. The game is easy to learn, but still requires some skill and luck. It’s also a very addictive game, in the sense that the more games you play, the more you’ll continue to want to play.
While solitaire is hardly an epic MMORPG on a next generation games console, it’s still heaps of fun to play and in today’s society, sometimes that’s all that we can ask for.
So, that brings this look at the art of mastering solitaire to a close.
We hope that the info contained above has been useful and informative and has inspired you to play more solitaire. We know that it’s hardly ground-breaking stuff, but hopefully the tips and strategies listed above will help you become the best solitaire player that you can be.
Remember, take your time, think each move through, plan ahead, and above all else, have fun!