Spider solitaire is one of the most popular single player card games. The goal of spider solitaire is to arrange all the cards into stacks from King down to Ace in each suit. It requires concentration, planning and of course some luck! Spider solitaire can be challenging but is super fun to play. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to play spider solitaire.
What is Spider Solitaire?
Spider solitaire is a type of solitaire card game that is played using two decks of cards, instead of the usual one. The game got its name because the tableau (layout of the cards) resembles a spider web.
The objective of the game is to arrange all 104 cards into 8 sequences (4 suits from King to Ace). Unlike other solitaire games, all the cards in spider solitaire are dealt face-up from the start.
The game requires strategic thinking to figure out which cards can be moved and piled up. Ultimately you win if you can move all the cards into a sorted stack pile.
How to Set Up Spider Solitaire
To set up a game of spider solitaire, you need 2 decks of cards with the jokers removed. That makes 104 cards in total.
Shuffle both the decks together thoroughly. Make sure the cards are well mixed.
Deal all 104 cards face-up on the table in 10 columns of 10 cards and 4 cards remaining as a draw pile.
- The first column should have 10 cards.
- The second column 9 cards and 1 empty space.
- The third column 8 cards and 2 empty spaces.
- This pattern follows until the 10th column which has just 1 card.
The remaining 4 cards become the draw pile.
The gameplay rules of spider solitaire are straightforward:
- The objective is to create 8 sequences from King to Ace in the same suit.
- You can only move exposed cards – cards not covered by other cards.
- You can move a card or group of cards to another column if the cards are in descending consecutive order sequence and in the same suit.
- Empty spaces can be filled with any card or sequence.
- Once all cards are turned over, you cannot draw anymore from the draw pile.
- The game is over when all cards are sorted into 8 stacks or no more moves are possible.
Valid Spider Solitaire Moves
There are two types of valid moves in spider solitaire:
- Moving Cards to a Blank Space
- You can move a King card or a descending sequence of cards in the same suit to an empty space in another column.
- Building Descending Sequences
- You can create longer descending sequences by combining two consecutive sequences of the same suit.
Here are examples of valid moves:
|Initial Tableau||Valid Move||Result|
|Column 1: <br>K♥ 10♥ 9♥||Move K♥ 10♥ 9♥ sequence to empty Column 2||Column 1 empty <br> Column 2: <br> K♥ 10♥ 9♥|
|Column 1: <br>8♠ 7♠ <br>Column 2: <br>9♠ 6♠||Move 7♠ 8♠ sequence from Column 1 and add to 9♠ 6♠ sequence in Column 2||Column 1: 8♠ <br>Column 2: <br>9♠ 8♠ 7♠ 6♠|
Tips and Strategies to Win Spider Solitaire
Spider solitaire requires thoughtful strategy and planning to win. Here are some useful tips:
1. Look for Free Cells to Move Partial Sequences
- Scan the tableau to spot columns with open “free cells”.
- Move sequences to free cells to create more flexibility in later moves.
2. Prioritize Creating Longest Sequences First
- Focus on exposing and building the longest consecutive sequences possible.
- Long sequences are harder to create later in the game.
3. Use Two Decks to Your Advantage
- Having two decks allows you to create sequences with two of the same card.
- You can combine a King from one deck with a King from the second deck.
4. Save Aces for Last
- Leave Aces in their original columns as long as possible.
- Build other sequences over the Aces to maximize your moves.
5. Be Strategic with Draw Pile
- Use draw pile cards only when you need them to make a key move.
- Avoid drawing cards until you have made all other possible moves.
6. Have Patience and Don’t Get Stuck
- Take time to analyze the entire board before moving cards.
- If you feel stuck, start moving cards strategically to create free cells.
Playing Spider Solitaire on Windows
The easiest way to start playing spider solitaire on a Windows PC is to use the built-in Microsoft Spider Solitaire game.
Follow these steps to launch the game:
- Click the Start Menu and search for “Spider Solitaire”.
- Click to open the “Microsoft Spider Solitaire” app.
- The game board will appear on your screen ready for you to begin playing:
- Click the “Deal” button to deal a new set of cards and begin playing.
- Use your mouse to click and drag cards to make moves according to the rules above.
- The game controls allow you to get hints, undo moves and begin a new game at any point.
And that’s it! You can now enjoy a game of spider solitaire on your Windows PC.
Playing Spider Solitaire Online
If you don’t have access to a Windows PC, you can play spider solitaire online using a web browser.
Here are some popular sites to play spider solitaire online for free:
- Card Games IO – allows 1 or 2 suit games
- Solitaired – includes statistics tracking
- 247 Spider Solitaire – customizable card backgrounds
- SpiderSolitaire.io – minimal design, easy controls
To get started:
- Go to one of the spider solitaire sites linked above.
- Click on “Start Game” or “Deal Cards” button.
- The cards will automatically be dealt on the table.
- Start arranging the cards by clicking and dragging with your mouse or finger.
- Refer to the gameplay rules and tips above to complete the game.
Online spider solitaire allows you to play anywhere on a laptop, smartphone or tablet with internet access.
Playing Spider Solitaire on Mobile Apps
Spider solitaire mobile apps provide a convenient way to play on your smartphone or tablet, even without an internet connection.
Here are some top-rated apps for iOS and Android devices:
- Solitaire City (Free, in-app purchases)
- Spider Solitaire (Free, ads)
- Solitaire by MobilityWare (Free, optional subscription)
- Microsoft Solitaire Collection (Free, ads)
- Spider Solitaire (Free, ads)
- Solitaire by Game Desire (Free, optional in-app purchases)
To start playing using mobile apps:
- Install a spider solitaire app on your iOS or Android device.
- Open the app and tap “New Game”.
- The cards will be dealt automatically.
- Drag and drop cards with your finger to make moves.
- The app will automatically check for valid moves.
Mobile spider solitaire apps are perfect for playing on the go against AI opponents!
How to Get Better at Spider Solitaire
Spider solitaire is a game of skill that gets better the more you play. Here are some tips for improving at spider solitaire:
- Practice daily – frequent short practice sessions help develop your skills faster
- Analyze the entire tableau before making a move – don’t focus on one column
- Start new games often – don’t get stuck on one layout for too long
- Learn new strategies and patterns – study winning games to learn new techniques
- Use undos cautiously – avoid undoing mistakes too many times per game
- Vary your play style – switch between short and long-term strategy
- Record your stats – track wins, score and time to benchmark your progress
Most importantly, have fun while playing spider solitaire! The more enjoyment you get out of the game, the more motivated you’ll be to improve.
Spider solitaire is a fun and engaging 1-player card game that requires thoughtful strategy. The goal is to arrange 104 cards from two decks into stacked sequences from King to Ace in each suit. Players can make valid moves by arranging cards into descending order sequences and filling up empty spaces. Following key strategies around building longest sequences first, utilizing free cells, saving Aces and using the draw pile wisely will help you win more games. Spider solitaire can be played on Windows PCs, online, or using mobile apps for endless enjoyment. With frequent practice and analysis, anyone can become skilled at this classic game. Now that you know the full rules and gameplay – deal yourself a new spider solitaire board and start stacking those suits!