Syed ArhamSyed Arham06.04.2024

    From Beginner to Pro: Your Journey Through Spider Solitaire

    Spider Solitaire from beginner to pro main

    Ever since the popularization of digital Solitaire by Microsoft Windows in the early 90s, few Solitaire variations have gained as much love and popularity as Spider Solitaire. This seemingly universal adoration can be traced to the game’s simple layout and easy rules. At least that’s what I personally believe, since every single Spider Solitaire player that I’ve ever met emphasizes on how “elegant and simple” this game is.

    This variant was the first to catch my eye when I was on the lookout for a fresh Solitaire gameplay experience after spending most of my early teens playing Klondike Solitaire. After quickly reading up on the rules, I was all set to conquer this ‘simple’ variant. The reality turned out to be quite the opposite.

    My first game was a disaster. Despite investing a solid hour, all I could do was stare at the screen, struggling to find possible moves, until I finally admitted defeat. It was a challenging start, to say the least. And as I would soon discover, the blame lay entirely at my feet. Thanks to my overconfidence stemming from my experience at Klondike, I had completely overlooked the fact that this game has three difficulty levels. And, you guessed it, I was playing the notorious 4 Suits Spider Solitaire, the most demanding difficulty level in the game!

    It was a humbling lesson for me in the importance of understanding the game’s intricacies before getting started with it. And with this guide, I’ll chronicle my journey that started of with me being a novice trying to understand 1 Suit Solitaire to a seasoned player with a high win rate at 4 Suits Spider Solitaire. All you have to do is follow along, and sooner or later, you might be the one teaching 4 Suits to your buddies! Trust me, it isn’t as hard as it seems!

    How To Play 1 Suit Spider Solitaire

    How To Play 1 Suit Spider Solitaire

    1 Suit Spider Solitaire, the most fundamental and simple variant of the game, simplifies the deck by eliminating three suits. This transforms all the cards in the deck into a single suit, typically represented by Hearts. And since you’ll be required to use 2 decks for this game, you should be looking at a total of 104 Hearts.

    Now that we know what the cards look like, we’ll now learn how to first set up the game and then discover what rules dictate its gameplay.

    Game Setup

    • The two decks (considered to be all Hearts) are first nicely shuffled together.
    • A row of 10 cards is laid face down.
    • Another 4 rows of face-down cards are added on top of the first row. Each row must slightly overlap the row beneath it.
    • One more face-down card is each of the first 4 columns.
    • The top card of each column is then flipped up.
    • The remaining deck is set aside, as it forms our Stock.

    Game Rules

    • The objective of the game is to create sequences of cards within a column from King down to Ace. Once a sequence is completed, the cards in the sequence are removed from the game. To win the game, therefore, 8 sequences need to be completed.
    • During the gameplay, face-up cards can be moved to another card as long as the card being moved is one rank lower than the card it’s being moved to. For example, a 7 of Hearts can only be moved on top of an 8 of Hearts.
    • When a card is moved and a face-down card is exposed, the face-down card is flipped up.
    • As the game progresses, you’d naturally start running out of moves. Once you find yourself with no more moves to make, you can bring in a new row of cards from the Stock. One face-up card is placed on each column.
    • When a player is able to complete a sequence from King down to Ace, the completed sequence is removed from the layout.
    • Cards in sequence can be moved together as a stack. For example, cards in the sequence 8, 7, 6, and 5 of Hearts can be moved on top of a 9 of Hearts.
    • Any card or sequence of cards can be moved to an empty column.
    • When bringing in a new row of cards from the deck, all 10 columns must have at least once card in them if possible.

    Not that hard to grasp, right? 1 Suit Spider Solitaire is the perfect difficulty level for beginners, and even if you have prior experience playing Klondike or FreeCell Solitaire, I’d recommend that you don’t make my mistake, and start off your Spider Solitaire journey with 1 Suit.

    How To Play 2 Suits Spider Solitaire

    How To Play 2 Suits Spider Solitaire

    As the name suggests, this variation takes the difficulty one level higher by introducing another Suit. With the addition of this new Suit, you’ll now have to pay attention to not only the rank of cards, but also the shape it features as well. This means that while you can absolutely move cards on top of other cards regardless of the Suit they belong to, you can only remove a King-to-Ace sequence if all the cards in the sequence belong to the same Suit.

    See why I emphasized so much on mastering 1 Suit Solitaire first? This variant has a knack for being really frustrating for novice players. When I first graduated myself from 1 Suit Spider Solitaire and moved on to 2 Suits Solitaire, my first reaction was muttering: “This is impossible”.

    Many players share my reaction, as the mere notion of keeping in mind the Suit of the cards is enough to discourage you from moving away from the comfort of 1 Suit. But we Solitaire enthusiasts are relentless creatures, and challenge is exactly what we seek.

    My experience with this variant (which spans over 5 years) has taught me a couple of life-saving tips and tricks that will speed up your Spider Solitaire journey. Here’s what you have to know:

    StrategyDetails
    Reserve the stock!Treat your stock as your very last option. It’s always a good idea to first exhaust all possible moves before eyeing the Stock for additional cards.
    Try to kill two birds with one stone.Always try to accomplish multiple objectives with a single move. For example, moving a card might allow you to turn over a hidden card, create an empty column and complete a sequence! These moves are more abundant than you might think!
    Relocate complete sequencesIf you’ve managed to assemble a full sequence of cards, never hesitate to move it as a whole to free up a column or to reveal hidden cards.
    Empty columns are not meant to remain empty.Empty columns are invaluable resources, as you can use them to rearrange cards and build sequences.

    How to Play 4 Suits Spider Solitaire

    How to Play 4 Suits Spider Solitaire

    The original version of the game, 4 Suits Solitaire takes the challenge of Spider Solitaire up by not one but four levels. Undoubtedly also the most challenging version of the game, this variant uses all 4 Suits: Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds. 

    To be honest, the time it took me to get a hang of 4 Suits Solitaire is considerably less than the amount of hours I spent mastering 2 Suits Solitaire. I believe that this is because the skills and tactics that you learn while dealing with 2 Suits are fully scalable to deal with 4 Suits as well. 

    The only difference is that this version requires you to finally employ one of Solitaire’s most fundamental tenets: be patient. Yes, if you are hasty for even a single move, you can bid farewell to any hopes of winning the game.

    Since you’d have spent hours upon hours honing your 2 Suit Spider Solitaire skills before advancing to this version, my only advice here would be to play as many games of 4 Suit as possible. That’s it. By repeatedly descending in this arena, you’ll accustom your brain to learn and predict all the possible moves that you can make. It’s pretty much like developing psychic powers like Wednesday Adams, as seen in the Netflix show Wednesday!

    Nonetheless, here are a few handy strategies that you should keep in mind before tackling the wild horse that is 4 Suit Solitaire:

    StrategyDetails
    Keep an eye out for the column which contains the most hidden cardsMake sure to prioritize columns that have the most concealed cards.These face-down cards can potentially be the oasis in a desert when it seems like you’ve exhausted all your moves.
    Choose order over turningAt times, favor maintaining order over flipping new cards. You don’t unnecessarily want to break up nice sequences just for the sake of uncovering a card, no matter how lucrative that might be.
    Don’t be intimidated by disorderThe layout will be a complete mess during most of your games, so don’t let the lack of neat sequences intimidate you. It’s pretty much like a Rubik’s cube: sometimes you need just a few moves to solve it.
    Don’t shy away from using the redo buttonSeriously, no one is judging you. If you mess up big time, make sure to use this button to fix your mistake. As long as your don’t abuse it, it’s absolutely vital for your learning process.

    So, to summarize, just trust the process and play the game with dedication and commitment. Sooner or later, you’ll be absolutely dominating this game. However, on the split side, do remember that 4 Suit Solitaire is reported to have a win rate of less than 10%. So, by the laws of the universe, you’re not meant to win every single game. It’s mathematically impossible! So, while playing the game, try to focus on your learning process, and most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!

    Conclusion

    The journey from 1 Suit to 4 Suit Spider Solitaire is not an easy one, and that’s exactly what makes it so special. The sheer sense of accomplishment that one gains after winning their first games of each version is indescribable, and as a Solitaire connoisseur, I can’t wait for you to experience it as well!

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