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Spider Solitaire Beginner Tips

Here are a few tips and strategies that will help you win more Spider Solitaire games:

Do not be in a hurry

An easy way to lose many games is to simply play the first move that appears to be a good one. Often there will be a better move.
Study different options and decide which is more likely to put you on the road to victory.
Even when a better move is found, there might exist a still better move.

Plan your moves

Playing moves at random will likely not result in many wins.
Attempt to find a combination of consecutive moves that accomplish some useful objective, such as turning over a hidden card, reducing the number of breaks between runs or completing a suit.
But also be aware of the costs of accomplishing the goal, such as the loss of an empty column or the piling of many cards into one column.

Don't give up easily

Many players quit and start another game when it looks like they might lose.
However, many Spider Solitaire games can be won from difficult positions and even some from what look like impossible positions.
In fact, at the 4-suit level, easy victories are relatively rare. So, giving up quickly will ensure a very low win ratio.

Early game strategy

In at least the first few rounds of play, the obvious strategy should be to attempt to vacate a column.
In fact, almost no games can be won without vacating columns. One method is to do so at any cost, and another is to hold back some moves that might hinder access to some hidden cards.
The best advice appears to be to do so at all costs. However, be aware that this can often backfire. You might wish to experiment with some strategies first.

Be wary of aces

The ace has the distinction that it is the only card onto which another card cannot be placed by the player.
Only a deal can place a card onto an ace. This makes aces very pesky. Too many open aces can cause a loss as there are fewer open spots where cards can be moved to.

As a game progresses, the player should keep tabs on where the aces are and whether or not each might become a problem.
Sometimes it's best to forgo a move that would expose an ace, and sometimes not. Like very many things in the game, it's a judgment call.
When an ace is in a column and blocking access to many cards, rather visible or hidden, it's usually a good idea to move the ace if possible, but not necessarily at the first opportunity to do so.
Also, keep in mind that no suit can be built without the ace, so burying aces too deeply can also backfire.

King advantages

Most Spider Solitaire players, especially novices, believe that the king is the card to be most wary of. (While this belief is warranted, the ace is probably even more troublesome.)
The king has a few advantages that most players seem to overlook.
Up to twelve cards can be piled onto a king, more than any other rank. This makes the king the ideal rank to head a run. As well, with only a few rare exceptions, the king is the only card that can be removed from the board without the player ever moving it.
This advantage is huge. In some sense, it actually makes the king the most important rank of all. So, do not disrespect the king.

Steve N. Brown
I hold a master's degree in mathematics. As well as solving difficult math problems, I've always enjoyed playing games of strategy because they challenge me to think. So, when Spider Solitaire became popular around the turn of the century, it was very easy for me to get hooked on the game. At that time, there were no good books on how to play the game and the online advice was also very poor. So, I learned how to play the game on my own through experimentation, careful observation, and an awful lot of practice. One thing led to another and, eventually, I wrote a book on the topic: 'Spider Solitaire Winning Strategies'.

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