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Learn how to Play Spider Solitaire!

How to Play

This “spider” version is certainly one of the most popular online Solitaire games of the Web, although many people don’t really know the rules and how to play it. We have created this tutorial guide with the intention of helping all the new players to this Solitaire game.

Below, you will find not only a guide on how to play Spider Solitaire, but you will also find some tips (click here for even more tips) that might help you win all those difficult rounds that require more strategy skills and logic from the player.

How to organise the table to start playing

A typical Spider Solitaire Table
A typical Spider Solitaire Game

Spider Solitaire is played with two pack of cards of 52 each, where all the Jokers should be removed. Ten columns of cards must be created, where on the first four columns there must be 5 cards facing down and a 6th card faced up (revealed). The other six columns must have 4 cards facing down and a 5th card faced up (revealed). The remaining cards will stay on the main deck and will be used later on.

Rules of the Game

There are three main variations of Spider Solitaire. All of these three have the same basic rules, but the way in which the cards can be moved is different in each version. Therefore, these little changes that might seem subtle end up changing the way you play and the strategies you will have to use to win the game. We will start our guide to Spider Solitaire with the original version that uses the four suits of the pack, because this is not only the original version of the game, but the most complex and challenging one!

Rules to play the Four Suit version (hardest level)

– A card can only be moved to another pile of cards if the card that it’s being moved is of smaller value than the first card on the pile that it’s going to be moved to. For example, you can only move a 5 onto (put on top of) a 6.

– Groups of cards can only be moved if all the cards being moved are of the same suit and if they are placed in perfect descendant order. For example, you can move a 9, 8, 7 of Hearts as a group, as long as this sequence is of the same suit and it is placed over any 10 (not necessarily one of hearts, but a 10 of hearts would be the best choice) available on the table.

– If a card that is facing down becomes available, then it must be revealed and turned face up.

– Any card or any group that can be moved, can be placed on empty columns (columns that don’t have any cards)

Black Spider

– You can can deal an extra 10 cards (from the cards on the “main deck” that have being separated from the other ones on the table), one for each column on the table, if you get stuck and can’t find any available move to continue your game, or even if you just want to deal these 10 cards. However, when you do that, you must have at least one card on each one of your ten columns if you wish to use any “extra” cards. For this reason, it is not recommended that you get rid of any of the entire columns before you start to finish the game.

– If you have a group of cards that are of the same suit and are on perfect descendant order (from King to Ace), those can be removed from the table. For example, a sequence that starts with a King of Hearts and goes all the way to the Ace of hearts, in perfect order, can be removed. Your main goal is to do exactly that with all the columns to win the game.

Rules to play the Two Suit version (intermediate level)

– This is certainly a very common version on computer games. To play this version using all the 52 cards of the ‘deck’ you must assume that all the red cards are of the same suit and all the black cards are of the same suit (or, that the red suits are one, and the black suits are one, there is only black and red on your deck). On the two suits version, groups of cards can be moved, but only if they are in perfect descendant order and if they are all of the same suit (black or red, in this case). For example, you can move a 9 of Hearts and an 8 of Diamonds and a 7 of Hearts, on to any available 10 on the table.

– If you have a complete descendant sequence of cards of the same suit, you can remove those from the game. For example, a sequence of black cards starting with a black King and that goes all the way to a black Ace, can be promptly removed from the game.

– With the exception of the rules mentioned above, the other rules for the classic four suit version apply to the two suit version as well.

Rules to play the Single Suit version (easiest level)

Easiest Spider Solitaire Version
Easiest Spider Solitaire Version

– To play the easiest version (with only one suit), you must consider all the cards of the pack of cards as being of the same suit.

– That means that you cam move any group of cards in descendant order when available. For example, a 5 of Spades, a 4 of Diamonds and a 3 of Hearts can be moved to any available 6 on the table.

– Any group of cards in a complete descendant sequence of cards, from the King to the Ace, can be removed from the game.

– This is considered to be a particularly easy version of Spider Solitaire, but it is also ideal if you are starting to play or if you want a less challenging round to relax.

To more information on Spider Solitaire check out our tips below and on our other pages, and also check out these Wikipedia pages: Spider Solitaire and Solitaire.

Tips to win the classic 4 Suit version!

The four suit version of Spider Solitaire is certainly one of the most difficult versions of Solitaire that you will find out there, and there are rounds that you simply cannot win, regardless of your skill. That being said, to win this version of the game, you will need a little bit of luck as well. The versions of two and one suit are much easier, and, therefore, your chances of winning are much greater on those versions.

– If you are playing a version on your computer that allows you to “undo”  your last move, it’s always a good idea to use that to peek at the card that you are about to reveal and find out how that is going to weigh on the rest of your game before you decide to actually make that move.

Spider Solitaire Card Game
Spider Solitaire Card Game

– Always try to put together cards of the same suit. That will give you more flexibility to move your cards on the table further in the game.

– When you have two or more clear columns, it’s usually better to pile columns of cards when the suits are already organised (all the same), before you fill these free spaces with ‘permanent’ cards. Your goal here is to organise your active columns in a way that they became easier to move further in the game.

– Since Kings cannot be moved over to any other card, it’s recommended that you move them to empty columns, whenever possible.

– Always try to use cards of the columns that are “closer” to being cleared. The idea of the game is to actually clear these columns.

– Always try to reveal new cards by moving your current cards first, instead of moving them directly to an empty column.

– Always build new columns starting with high value cards, which usually allow you more possible moves. For example, move a Jack over a Queen, before you move a 10 over the Jack.

Strategies to Win

Tip number 1: Try to build in your columns sequences of the same suit

The first thing to loot at when you start the game is the available movements to put together cards of the same suit. Groups of cards of the same suit can be moved all together, making it easier to reveal the cards that are still face down.

Tip number 2: Reveal new cards

Pile of Cards
Pile of Cards

An excellent advice for any version of Solitaire, regardless of its variations or of how many suits you are using on the game, is to reveal new cards. The cards that are facing down in the game are completely useless, so try to move your cards and reveal the new cards as soon as possible to make more sequences and clear up your columns.

Tip number 3: Build your sequences and your columns starting always with high value cards.

You can’t start a column with an Ace, because there is no card to go over the Ace (as it is the lowest value card in the game), so using high value cards will make your columns and your sequences more accessible to your other possible cards, therefore you will have more available moves.

Tip number 4: Keep your columns and sequences always with the same suit

It is always a good idea to build sequences and/or columns with cards of the same suit, so it is a bad idea to ruin one of these sequences and/or columns with a card that doesn’t belong to the same suit, because it will ‘lock down’ your columns. You can’t move columns with cards of different suits together. If you have an option, always choose to put cards of different suits on sequences and columns that are already mixed with cards of various suits.

Tip number 5: Empty columns are always welcome in your game

The good thing about them is that you can move any cards and any sequence of cards to them. That will give you the opportunity to reveal cards that are still facing down or that are under cards of different suits. You can use an empty column as a “parking spot” for your cards, placing them on the empty column to reveal and move a card under them and then moving them back to some other place, so that you always have the empty column to allow you this kind of movement.

Tip number 6: Don’t use the cards available on the bottom (not dealt yet) until you really need them

Using the cards that are available on the bottom of the table will obviously reveal new cards, but this new cards will be put over your existing columns in a random order which ends up making it harder for you to get to the cards that are still facing down on your columns, and can also ‘lock’ some of your columns.

Spider from Spider Solitaire

 

Tip number 7: The right time to break your same suit sequences

A column with a sequence of three cards of different suits can sometimes be converted into a column with only two cards of different suits. You will need an empty column to move the first card of the column you want to convert and another column to move the other cards that were under the first card of the sequence you are breaking. If the first two cards of the column you are breaking are in sequence you will have the option of clearing up again the empty column you used on this process.

Tip number 8: Try to not move Kings to empty columns

No matter which version of Spider Solitaire you are playing, once the Kings are put onto an empty column, they cannot be moved out of it (since they can’t go over onto any other card because the King is the highest value card) unless you are removing the whole column from the game after having completed a whole sequence of cards. Since your empty columns can be very useful for your mobility in the game, it might not be very wise of you to lock them up with a King, so you should avoid that. Only move Kings to empty columns when you see necessary or when you find yourself in a stage of the game where you have multiple empty columns available and it is easier to finish the sequences.

Tip number 9: Avoid the obvious

Think twice before you make your moves, because sometimes the obvious move might not be your best option.

With all this tips and strategies to play Spider Solitaire, we hope that you put them to practice and start to win more rounds at this addicting game that requires so much form our brains. Enjoy!
Click here to play Spider Solitaire 1 Suit (easy)