Solitaire Strategies

Christine H. Zhang
Mar 11, 2018 · 4 min read

Solitaire is one of my favorite go-to games. Each game lasts around 15 minutes and can be played with just one person. Solitaire is extremely easy to learn but deceptively hard to master. The goal is to arrange cards in descending red-black or black-red order to free all cards and build four ordered stacks for each suit starting from Aces. The most common version of Solitaire is called Three Turn Klondike. This means that you have no wiggle room and can only access every third card in the stockpile. (In contrast, Two Turn Klondike is an easier game with every other card available.) My personal preference is to play online.

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Only every third card (currently 4S) is accessible in the stockpile (top left). The top right has four card outlines for stacks starting with Aces for each suit. The bottom tableau has stacks of face down cards and one face up card to start.

Out of all possible games of three turn klondike, only ~80% are winnable. On, globally only 13.51% of games are won. For intuition, we can imagine a non-winnable game as one where all the stack face up cards are black and every third card in the discard pile is also black (and assume none of these cards are Aces).There are no possible moves since only red cards can be placed onto black cards.

Here are some observations and strategies from my hours of play:

Deal with your face down cards first

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Playing the KD is a better move than KH since it will free a face down card on the tableau.

Be mindful of parity

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Playing a black king is advised because the first column is already led with a red king and the QH can be played on top, which frees a down card.

Keep all your options open

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The 5H can be moved onto the 6C because the KD can be moved one column to the left, freeing up a face down card.

Try to create stacks of the same suits

Sometimes you need to break the rules

Look Twice

Please let me know if you come across any other rules that are helpful!

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