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How To Play Solitaire

Learning how to play solitaire is a great way to pass the time and is an easy hobby to learn at any age. Solitaire, perhaps derived from the word “solitary“, is the name given to any variation of a number of card games that can be played alone. These games can vary greatly in the complexity and the concentration level required. They are, in general, an enjoyably diverting way to pass the time.

In most cases, when learning how to play solitaire, the game involves arranging the cards in a certain way on a flat surface, then returning them to a certain prescribed order without breaking the rules of the game. The rules can be greatly simplified for younger hobbyists; they can also be made more difficult for more advanced players.

The History Of Solitaire

Solitaire is said to have originated in Germany some 300 years ago where it was referred to by its more sociable name of “Patience.” In its beginning days it was used as a method of determining what kinds of things one should embark on in his near future. If a man was able to win a game of Patience or Solitaire within his first few tries, luck was said to be with him, and his endeavors were sure to work out in his favor.

Learning how to play solitaire began to gain more widespread attention and popularity in France in the early 1800’s. Napoleon knew how to play Solitaire and it is said that the great Emperor himself played the game while in exile. Solitaire soon moved across the English Channel and, as the French taught the English how to play Solitaire, it lodged itself firmly into English culture. From there, the English taught the Americans how to play Solitaire and it soon moved on from the United States and spread quickly around the world.

Did You Know?

  • There are probably more kinds of solitaire than all other card games combined.
  • The first book on the subject was printed in 1870. It was titled Illustrated Games of Patience by Lady Adelaide Cadogan, and it contained 25 games.
  • The seven-pile game that builds black on red that everyone calls ‘Solitaire’ is actually called Klondike.
  • ‘Idiot’s Delight’ is an alternative name to almost all basic solitaire games.

Getting Started With Solitaire

Getting completely immersed in learning how to play Solitaire can be accomplished with no training whatsoever. To learn how to play Solitaire requires only a deck of cards and a few moments of spare time. The deck of cards can be purchased at your nearest general store for only a couple of bucks. Time, however, is priceless. Make sure that nothing is burning on the stove and that all your children have been well fed before beginning this highly addictive hobby!

How To Play SolitaireFor more advanced types of solitaire games, you may want several decks of cards. Storing your cards in a safe place is very important. Even though most cards are made of a fairly strong and bend-resistant material, they are still susceptible to creases and bends if stored improperly. It is best to keep the boxes that they come in, as this helps keep them safe and organized.

Losing the average game of Solitaire takes only about three or four minutes. Winning takes only slightly longer. Solitaire, however, often creates the desire to repeat the game over and over, so prepare to spend anywhere from fifteen minutes to a couple of hours on the hobby in a single sitting.

While there is a small cost associated with purchasing playing cards, there is another option for the technologically inclined. There are many online venues for playing solitaire – many computers come with such games already loaded. Other games can be downloaded or played online either with a computer or with another compatible mobile device. Many of these games allow you to play head-to-head with virtual competitors all over the world.

How To Play Solitaire

Step One

Depending on the type of game you want to play, you will probably begin by laying all the cards face down on a table or other flat surface. The next steps outline the playing process of a specific solitaire game set.

Step Two

Directly below the main pile, lay out seven piles of cards face down on the table with one card in the first pile, two in the second, three in the third, and so forth all the way up to seven. Turn over the top card in each of the smaller piles. Now turn over one card from the main pile so that you can see its face. Place it in a separate pile beside the main one.

Step Three

The object of the game is to arrange all the cards neatly into four piles, one pile for each suit, each consecutively ordered from Ace to King. Whenever you turn over an Ace, you may place it aside to start one of these piles, and cards may be added to them consecutively – by suits – as they come up or are turned over.

Step Four

The main rule is as follows: a card may only be stacked on another card of the opposite color with an immediately higher value. For instance, if any red three is turned up, it may only be stacked on top of any black four. You may also move entire sets of face up cards stacked on top of each other as long as this rule is followed.

Step Five

When a stack of face down cards is revealed, the top card may be turned over. If no further plays are available, turn over the next card in the main pile and stack it face up on top of the last revealed card from that pile. Plays may only be made with the top card from the revealed pile.

Step Six

When you are done playing, be sure to put your cards away carefully. If you will be tracking things like the time it took you to complete and whether or not it was a win or loss, be sure to write that down and store it with your cards. The important step to remember when learning how to play solitaire is to have fun and not take the game too seriously.

Tips and Tricks

The following playing tips can help you get the most out of learning how to play solitaire…

  • Keep your cards crease-free by storing them in the boxes they are sold in.
  • Play online so that you can utilize the help features (this is especially helpful for new hobbyists).
  • Make sure that you have ample space when playing with real cards so that you have room to sort your piles.

Ways to Grow the Hobby

The most popular and widespread way that Solitaire is played today is on a personal computer. Several variations of the game have been developed and are included with most operating systems. Once you have mastered the basic game of Solitaire try more challenging variations like Three Card Solitaire or Freecell.

Once you learn how to play solitaire, here are a couple of other ways to expand the hobby…

  • Play competitively with friends to see who can reorder their cards the fastest.
  • You can join a card-playing club that focuses on all sorts of card games such as poker, bridge, euchre, etc.
  • Join an online solitaire group
  • Try making up a new solitaire game based on your favorite forms of solitaire

Related Solitaire Resources

Check out the following online resources to learn more about how to play solitaire…

Solitaire Now – offers a wide variety of free solitaire games as well as a solitaire forum.

Free Online Solitaire Card Games – a site that offers a few online games you can play for free.

Solitaire Game Rules – an information site on how to play popular versions of solitaire.

Related YouTube Videos

Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.