This Is Why Solitaire Is Fun, and You Can’t Stop Playing It

Solitaire is one of the most popular card games around. Some people even go so far as to say that it’s addicting. Since it’s such a simple card game, you might wonder why solitaire is so addictive? 

Solitaire is fun primarily because it’s been shown to help people with anxiety stay calm and stress-free. It’s also a game that can be played anywhere and doesn’t need other people to play with. It’s also easy to track your skills improving over time, making players feel accomplished.

This article will break down why solitaire is so addictive and why you might’ve trouble stopping once you’ve started playing.

addicted solitaire player
Minutes can turn into hours quickly especially if you have fun doing something. That is why it might feel like you are addicted to having just 1 more game of Solitaire.

Why Is Solitaire So Addictive?

Some people call themselves “solitaire addicts” because they spend all their free time playing this game. 

Solitaire is addictive because it’s considered beneficial to most people. Most people say it’s a calming game that keeps their minds active, and it helps people build their self-esteem because it’s easy to see yourself improve at the game over time. 

While everyone has their reasons for playing this game, here are some of the most common claims people make when asked why they play the game so much.

It’s versatileThere are different types of solitaire, so it’s easy to switch versions and avoid getting tired of one.
It’s calmingThe game’s logic and predictability can help people who are prone to stress and anxiety.
Sense of accomplishmentIt’s easy to see improvement because you’ll notice your games getting shorter.
You don’t feel lonelyUnlike most card games, you can play it by yourself, so you won’t feel lonely.
It uses your brainYou have to be logical and think about your moves to win, so you keep your mind working.
It isn’t complicatedThere aren’t many rules to remember, so it’s easy to learn and easy to win. 
It passes the timeIt can be easy to spend hours playing the game because of the joy of winning or the desire to get better.
Table: Why is Solitaire so addictive

With claims like those, it’s easy to see why people worldwide love this game and choose it over other pastimes. 

Not only does solitaire help keep people calm, busy, and alert, but some less consistent but still note-worthy claims made about why this game is so addictive are: 

  • It helps with concentration. You have to pay attention to what you’re doing to play this game, and it isn’t something you can do passively like some muscle-memory hobbies. This can help people with ADHD or who have trouble concentrating generally.
  • It improves memory. Part of solitaire involves remembering the cards that are in your deck that you can’t see and remembering what cards you’ve come across. That can help you get better at remembering things in your daily life as well.
  • It’s a “safe” addiction. Winning and getting better at solitaire can release similar levels of endorphins as other types of addiction. However, while substance-based addiction is physically damaging, solitaire is a safe way to chase that chemical release.

The Popularity of Solitaire vs. Other Card Games

While solitaire is certainly a popular card game, you might wonder how it compares to other games as far as popularity. 

Here’s a table of some results that compare the popularity of solitaire compared to other single and multiplayer card games, based on popular opinion:

RankingCard Game
10Go Fish
Table: Popularity of different card games

As you can see, Solitaire manages to rank in the top ten, making it the only single-person game to do so. 

However, it’s worth noting that the wording for these studies can be misleading. While Poker might be more popular overall than solitaire, they’re typically played under different circumstances. When asked which card game is most relaxing, Solitaire usually takes the top spot. 

The Different Types of Solitaire Ranked

There are different types of solitaire, making it an incredibly versatile game. All versions will typically follow the same basic concept, sorting a two or four-suit deck into suits by playing them. However, there are some small variations between the different types of Solitaire.

There are dozens of solitaire variations, but these are the most popular versions of the game.

RankingType of SolitaireNumber of Suits
1Traditional Solitaire (also called Klondike)Four suits
2Pyramid SolitaireFour suits 
3Spider SolitaireTwo suits (can also use four)
4Free Cell SolitaireFour suits
5Scorpion SolitaireTwo suits
Table: Solitaire variations

The most common variation of solitaire is the number of suits that are traditionally played. Traditionally, the game is played with four suits. However, beginners will usually play two-suit games while they’re learning. 

Personality might also affect the type of solitaire someone plays and the number of suits they use, with people looking for relaxation potentially choosing simpler two-suit games over playing four-suits. 

Some solitaire variants are quite similar to each other, while others can play a lot differently. Win percentage also varies a lot depending on the variation of Solitaire, some Solitaire games are so hard you will not win more than 1% of the time. If you wish you can read more about Solitare Klondike and FreeCell Solitaire differences here.

Digital vs. Traditional Solitaire

Solitaire has also gained popularity because it’s been made into an easily accessible digital version. Most PCs come with a pre-installed version of the game, and there are many apps and websites available to be played. 

While the game concept is the same, there are differences between solitaire played on a computer versus a deck of cards. 

Traditional Solitaire Is Less Addictive

Playing digital solitaire might be more addictive than playing traditional solitaire because it’s easier. 

The computer takes care of setting up and shuffling the cards, so you can seamlessly start a new game after finishing the old one. 

Instead, when playing physical solitaire, you have to stop, reshuffle, and lay out your cards again, which can make it easier to stop playing once you’ve had enough of playing. 

Digital Solitaire Is Easier To Learn

Digital solitaire might be more addictive, but it’s also easier for new players to learn. Playing on “easy mode” usually involves selecting a difficulty option, and the computer takes care of the rest. 

It’s also easier to learn this game if you’re on your own because digital versions of the game will usually have a tutorial mode you can play or hints available if you’re stuck. 

Traditional Solitaire Exercises Your Brain More

Since solitaire played with physical cards doesn’t have hints you can select if you don’t know what your next move could be, it requires more concentration and memory. This version of the game is more strategic and can also cause players to feel more accomplished than they would if they beat a digital game. 

Final Thoughts

Solitaire may be an addictive game, but it isn’t hard to see why. It’s been used as a way to cope with stress and anxiety, as well as a way to pass the time, especially during long stretches of alone time.