HomeLifeFive clever hacks to help you win at solitaire

Five clever hacks to help you win at solitaire

Ever since Microsoft launched solitaire on personal computers in the early 1990s, it has remained a mainstay of digital gaming. It’s straightforward, usually taking only a few minutes to learn, but if you want to build a winning streak, there are some surprising hacks that could help.

1. Evenly spread tableau piles

A common mistake is always trying to complete single stacks. If you have a choice to either keep two separate stacks of four cards each or merge them to make a single pile of eight, leave them separate unless combining them will help you uncover a down card.

If you have space for only two long stacks, try to build them in an opposite colour pattern. For example, if the king in your first pile is red, make the king in the second pile black. This gives you a greater chance of moving new cards you reveal later in the game.

2. Only clear stacks if you have a king available

Don’t rush to create an empty tableau space if there isn’t a king to put on it.

If you don’t have one to put there, that blank spot won’t help improve your game. Be smart and wait until you have a king to put there.

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3. However, you should always play kings carefully

Try to think a few turns ahead, when working out which king to play. Always use the king that will help uncover the most cards.

Check to see which of your kings has more currently exposed cards that will work with it. For example, a red king means you need a black queen, a red jack, a black 10, a red nine etc. If these cards are available to continue your new stack, then play the king asap.

Playing the ‘wrong’ king can cause mayhem. If you have a red queen, black jack and a pile of cards on top all the way down to four, you could leave yourself blocked by playing a red king in the empty space. With nowhere to move your red queen stack, all the cards beneath them will be trapped!

Be strategic and wait for a black one instead, which you can then stack.

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4. The magic of five, six, seven, eight

Solitaire has four ‘ordinary cards’ – five, six, seven and eight – which hold up the platform of your game. Playing them too enthusiastically, though, could lead to your downfall.

If you need to use them, think carefully about whether they meet a specific set of criteria:

  • The card inspires you to free a down card or will initiate a play that will free a down card in the next few moves.
  • Your card organises the suit (not the shade) of the following higher up card in a comparable shading. This is useful because it prevents sticking. So, if you’re considering playing a seven of clubs on an eight of hearts, the following nine up must be a nine of clubs.

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5. Move cards from the biggest pile of facedown cards

Examine your columns – which has the most hidden cards beneath it?

If you have two cards that could be moved onto a new stack, you should move the one with the greatest number of down cards below it. This allows you to reveal as many hidden cards as possible.

Remember, aces and twos won’t help you reveal more hidden cards. There’s nothing that you can stack on top of aces, so move them sharpish. The same goes for twos. Put them in the foundation as soon as you can, or they will hold you back.

Are you a solitaire fan? Do you agree with the tips above? Do you have any other suggestions? Why not share them in the comments section below?

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