How to Win at Spider Solitaire with the Least Number of Moves
Spider Solitaire is a unique Solitaire variation with a few key differences from the original game. Two decks of cards are used, and the overall goal is to create 8 foundational sequences of descending suits (hence the name, “spider”!). If you’re looking to optimize your gameplay, here are a few tips to level up at Spider Solitaire—and win in the least number of moves.
How to win at Spider Solitaire: 7 tips and tricks
Spider Solitaire uses a variation of the classic Solitaire ruleset that offers more avenues for creative and strategic gameplay.
Unlike in the original game, cards don’t need to be stacked in an alternating color format, and you have many more tableau spaces and extra stock cards to work with. These variations can make Spider Solitaire a fun spin on classic Solitaire. Here are some universally applicable strategies to level up your Spider Solitaire gameplay.
Always opt for natural builds
When you’re building your tableau, opt to create what is called a “natural build”, which allows you to build your stacks according to suits. For example, keep diamonds with diamonds, and hearts with hearts. These stacks are easy to arrange and transfer around the board. This can be vitally helpful to your game since Spider Solitaire requires a deliberate usage of suit cards.
The foundational stacks will always be of the same suit, which means that while creating mixed-suit stacks in the tableau is a valid move, they will eventually have to be deconstructed to complete the game. Same-suit stacks, on the other hand, will be valuable up until the final moments of the game.
Reveal hidden cards ASAP
Hidden cards are the key to freeing your tableau space for open movement. A common beginner trap for any Solitaire variation is to neglect revealing your hidden tableau cards in favor of grabbing new cards from the stock.
A fresh selection of cards from the stockpile can be satisfying, immediately opening all new options for gameplay. However, any hidden cards in the tableau will become buried by all of the additional cards held in its tableau spot. You’ll have to shuffle more cards around just to reveal them, dragging out the game and forcing you to take more moves. This is a surefire way to artificially inflate your move count with little benefit—always be cognizant of the state of the tableau before adding on more complexity.
Make the most of empty columns
Empty columns are like having a free cell to move a card into for a short time and can make many different strategic plays possible. One caveat is that Spider Solitaire only allows you to take cards from the stock when every tableau pile has at least one card in it. It’s recommended to utilize these empty spaces as a storage bank, where cards can be briefly placed to facilitate complicated shuffling that you can’t fit otherwise on the tableau.
A good strategy to keep is to try and place kings in empty spaces if you intend to use them for more storing builds. Kings are notoriously hard to play around, being at the very top of the card order; empty columns can be a great way to avoid running into this difficulty.
Only use the stock when you have to
The stock replenishes you with new cards when you run out of moves to make.
Using the stock can be a great play—if you don’t have any other options.
Look closely before you choose to take from the stock. Control of the stock is always up to you, and by using it you’ll be adding ten new cards to the playing field. These cards are necessary to complete the game, but improper usage of the stockpile (when you still have moves left to make in the tableau) can restrict you later in the game.
For this reason, double-check that you don’t have any further arrangements or plays to make before turning to your stockpile. High-value cards such as kings and queens that are on the top of the board are very dangerous if buried—you might find your game unplayable if extra cards are hastily drawn from your stock on top of them.
Get builds out of the way to make space
Builds can be removed as whole pieces, and building them early is important.
Utilize empty spaces as a holding spot for cards if you need to organize a lengthy build. Something to avoid is having a tall, multi-card build on top of any hidden cards, as well as forming them without a king at the top.
The reasons for that, predictably, are that hidden cards underneath a tall build make unveiling those hidden cards even more difficult. Then, finding a way to slot in that necessary king into a pre-existing build requires more and more shuffling around the more built your card stacks are. In a sense, it’s putting the cart before the horse.
Smaller builds can also become difficult to manage. There’s a high likelihood that there will be at least a couple of aces in the hidden cards. Did you forget to reveal a card that’s now hidden under an entire stack of organized cards? You’ll either have to find another spot for that stack to fit cleanly or break it apart into more manageable chunks, which can be a discouraging feeling.
Making sure to build early when possible can help to avoid these timely pitfalls!
Use undo when you make a mistake
Spider Solitaire is a complicated game. Using the undo button during gameplay isn’t something to be ashamed of, as with this many possible moves during gameplay it’s natural that even high-level players may make a mistake and need to back up a move.
When you’ve noticed you’ve made a mistake or that you’ve found yourself stuck, using the undo button can be a helpful tool to analyze your misplay and understand how a single action can massively swing the direction of a game. This can increase your understanding of the game, and improve future gameplay.
Keep playing—practice makes perfect
Finally, remember that Spider Solitaire is a difficult game, and is not even winnable 100% of the time, simply because of the pure randomness of playing with 102 cards.
Try not to let a few unlucky runs discourage you. As with all games, the point is to have fun. Solving a (sometimes very complicated!) puzzle can take time and practice. Like any skill, practice will improve your abilities and, over time, these Spider Solitaire tips and tricks will become easier to put into action across a variety of different game setups.
If you want to practice with a lower-complexity ruleset, there are many variations of Spider Solitaire. The game can be played with 1 suit, 2 suit, or 4 suit rules—which refers to how many different suits you’ll play the game with. Rather than jumping into a 4-suit game immediately, playing a 1 or 2-suit game can create an easier entrance into the game.
Try out these strategies in your next game of Spider Solitaire
Congratulations! Equipped with these tips for Spider Solitaire, you’re ready to make strategic plays, see more wins, and win in fewer moves overall.
Keep in mind that solitaire, like any game or skill, improves with experience. Try not to get discouraged if some games don’t work out—statistically speaking, it’s likely that some games won’t. As long as you’re excited to play again, you’re set to continue improving.
Many variations of Spider Solitaire are available online to play, for free, to hone these skills. If you want to test out your new strategies, consider heading over to 247 Solitaire to take on the Spider!
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