Card games have been around for a long time, and solitaire is arguably one of the most popular versions played worldwide. Spider, or Spider Solitaire as it’s popularly known, is one of the most popular variants of solitaire card games, originating as far back as 1949. Although its rules are simple and the game is easy to play, pros use a few techniques to win every time.
Here are eleven strategy tips to win like a pro at Spider solitaire:
- Know the game’s rules by heart.
- Don’t shy away from the undo button.
- Make empty piles as early as possible.
- Flip hidden cards as soon as you can.
- Build stacks on higher cards early on in the game.
- Put kings in empty columns.
- Build stacks with the same suit of cards.
- Build stacks with mixed suits.
- Refrain from dealing more cards as long as you can.
- Organize your stacks often.
- Always beat the timer.
Some of these tips aren’t new, and any solitaire player (regardless of experience) can recognize that they are pretty intuitive. However, the trick is applying them in just the right way to breeze through every Spider solitaire game you play—as a pro would! Read on to learn how to use these strategy tips.
Did you know that you can win roughly only one in 3 games in spider Solitaire? This number is a lot lower than classic Solitaire (Klondike). You can read more about why solitaire is so hard and win percentages for different Solitaire games on this link.
1. Know the Game’s Rules by Heart
Learning the rules of any game is vital, and knowing Spider solitaire’s rules by heart will take your gameplay to the moon. Knowing the game’s principles will help you make better gameplay judgments and develop high-quality strategies to win the game. Fortunately, the rules of Spider solitaire are easy to master.
The principles are straightforward—create suit sequences in ascending order in piles of cards (foundations). However, building this sequence is more complicated than it appears. You can play Spider solitaire with two standard 52-card decks (minus jokers), but you need to grasp a few fundamentals to proceed. The most important is assembling a pile of thirteen cards in increasing order atop the foundation pile.
Did you know: Spider Solitaire is played the most often with 2 decks. You can however play a single deck variant called Will o’ the Wisp. The single deck variant is a lot easier to win than its 2 decks’ bigger brother. You can read more about Will o’ the Wisp rules on this website.
You play each round of Spider solitaire by moving and laying cards or card piles in different foundation columns. Therefore, you’ll need to understand how to create a winning strategy and pay attention to various card arrangements.
A Spider solitaire game needs a minimum of one player and starts after the deck has been shuffled and dealt. You need to deal 44 cards flipped over, and ten cards face up into ten tableau columns. Take note that you need to arrange one of these ten face-up cards in each foundation column.
The stockpile comprises the leftover 50 cards from the deck.
Online Spider solitaire follows similar rules, and players battle against others and a clock. The winner of a Spider solitaire game is typically the first person to complete it before the clock runs out.
2. Don’t Shy Away From the Undo Button
An undo button is a fantastic and valuable tool, even if many players think it’s cheating. The undo button is a reliable ally and a guaranteed method to win any game, including Spider solitaire.
It’s impossible to know the identity of a flipped card, but you can take a step back after flipping it if you don’t want the card you received. You can build a new strategy after pressing the button, albeit at the expense of a few extra moves.
Using the undo button is a powerful Spider solitaire strategy that’ll help you save time and improve your score in the game. Therefore, I recommend you use the undo button as not just a do-over tool but as a strategy for a sure win.
Undoing your move can also help you figure out how various actions influence the general structure of Spider solitaire, a necessity if you want to become a pro. I recommend you use the undo function for as many scenarios as possible to see which additional moves you get and understand the game’s mechanics.
3. Make Empty Piles As Early as Possible
Making empty piles is an excellent strategy when playing Spider solitaire, and you need to move your cards around as early on in the game as possible. You can move and rearrange cards from columns with fewer cards to create empty piles. These empty columns are handy and can serve as storage throughout the game.
Start with the columns with the fewest cards, and empty the piles by moving the cards early in the game. You can also use these empty piles to build your cards. Additionally, open piles can help when you run into sticky situations and need to reveal face-down cards.
While you can shift your cards to empty piles if you aim for bigger stacks, I would advise you to pick columns with the fewest cards.
However, a strategy is only as good as a plan, so don’t rush into creating empty piles without one in mind. Stacks are built on kings, and it is useless to make empty piles if you don’t have an open king in the game. Therefore, I recommend you reserve this strategy for when you’ve an available king or a pile built on a king.
4. Flip Hidden Cards As Soon as You Can
Flipping your cards over is an integral part of Spider solitaire and another excellent strategy to boost your chances of success. It can help you reveal hidden cards and experiment with a wider variety of alternative moves. Furthermore, it can serve as a helpful move to build ascending suits if you time it well.
Therefore, reveal as many face-down cards as possible to maximize your chances of constructing a winning card sequence. Flipping hidden cards is also an excellent way to fill an empty pile or start a new column.
5. Build Stacks on Higher Cards Early On in the Game
You can only win in Spider solitaire if you build stacks in ascending order and from the bottom up. I recommend you start building stacks from the top, beginning with the highest-ranked card in the game.
You’ll quickly finish a stack if you start with a low-rank card like an Ace, so I suggest you go higher. You cannot build a stack with an Ace, so begin with higher cards like a King and add more cards as the game proceeds.
Take note that you cannot move unbuilt stacks to a new pile as a unit. Building this way is also practical for holding cards from various stacks in the game.
6. Put Kings in Empty Columns
Kings in Spider solitaire are the foundations of winning stacks, and you can’t put them on any other card. As a result, you must transfer a revealed King card to empty piles and reshuffle the deck. This strategy will assist you in building winning columns and completing the natural construction as rapidly as possible.
7. Build Stacks With the Same Suit of Cards
Building winning card piles in Spider solitaire means you need to stack your cards in ascending order (from the bottom). These stacks can be of the same suit or color, depending on the difficulty of solitaire you’re playing. The easiest type of Spider solitaire requires that your card stacks be in order without any attention paid to the suit or card color.
However, I’ll assume you’re reading this article to learn to play like a pro, and pros play the highest possible difficulty level—winning stacks based on suit.
You can build mixed sequences inside the tableau in Spider solitaire, but you can’t move these stacks when they’re finished. Fortunately, you can disassemble them at any point in the game, but this will grow increasingly difficult as the game progresses.
Therefore, the most logical strategy is to build your stacks with the same suit of cards early on in the game. The faster you finish building a winning sequence, the more cards you’ll be able to flip over. Hence, it’ll be easier to complete the game and make even more winning sequences.
Building stacks with the same suit of cards will also make a Spider solitaire game easier and increase your chances of winning every game you play. Be careful you don’t get carried away with stacking cards of similar suits and forget to consider the general arrangement of cards in the game.
8. Build Stacks With Mixed Suits
Focus on the game and ensure you develop even more comprehensive and efficient strategies on the fly. Spider solitaire might not be as intense as chess, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t require a great deal of strategy to win.
Like chess, some moves require sacrifices, and winning might mean delayed gratification. Don’t be afraid to create mixed stacks if you think it’ll help your overall strategy and help you win.
Mixed stacks can help you access valuable cards that you can use to start or finish winning sequences. They can also help you find critical cards to fill other columns. These cards may sometimes be what you need to win the game.
This strategy can also assist you in revealing additional cards, particularly if you know which cards are face down. An added advantage of building mixed stacks in Spider solitaire is that it can help you create empty columns, which is helpful for whatever Spider solitaire strategy you use in the game.
9. Refrain From Dealing More Cards As Long as You Can
Patience is a virtue and a powerful strategy in a Spider solitaire game. Dealing more cards from the stockpile is necessary to move the game forward, but you may want to hold off on hitting the stockpile as long as you can.
While dealing more cards from the stockpile may increase your chances, it may affect your overall strategy and block many available moves.
The stockpile in Spider solitaire deals cards randomly and can be a “wild card” in your gameplay. However, this randomness can be a strategy in itself.
The stockpile may be an advantage in Spider solitaire by introducing new cards to the game, providing more ways for you to construct winning sequences, and developing even more powerful strategies. Dealing more cards from the stockpile can also offer timely cards necessary to complete stacks and win the game.
I advise that you make sure you’ve at least one empty column before you deal more cards from the stockpile. That way, you know that you can use the additional card in your empty column to your advantage, and you’ll have at least one move to play.
10. Organize Your Stacks Often
Some housekeeping can go a long way when playing card games, and I recommend you clean up your gameplay and organize your stacks as often as you can. If possible, you’d clean up your stacks with each turn. Organizing your stacks will help you focus and ground you in the moment—a necessity if you need to develop even more efficient strategies on the fly.
You can use empty columns as storage spaces and supports, but make sure you do this carefully, so you don’t accidentally put yourself in a tight spot. Ensure you examine all the available cards in the game and the sequences you’ve built.
Like I said before, mixed sequences can be a tool, especially if you want to organize your stacks. You can deconstruct the mixed stacks in the game and move them around as much as you can, even transforming them into single-suit stacks.
Additionally, organizing your stacks will help you visualize the field properly and know the cards you need to create winning sequences.
11. Always Beat the Timer
Spider solitaire was traditionally played using physical cards, but you can play it anywhere thanks to the rise of the internet and smart devices. However, the virtual nature of modern Spider solitaire means that the game is pretty fast-paced, and timers are a staple of online games.
Therefore, I recommend you check how much time you spend per round so as to beat the timer and set a personal timer for yourself.