When we talk about the game of solitaire, we must bear in mind that we can be referring to an endless number of card games that use this popular name which, as we will see below, has a common denominator: it is a game in which only one player is needed.

So no matter what type of solitaire game, whether it is classic solitaire, spider solitaire, Chinese solitaire or mahjong, or for example white card solitaire… all of them will have numerous elements in common.

Moreover, as we will discover in this article, there are numerous adaptations both regionally (Japanese solitaire, solitaire with Spanish deck) and by format (online solitaire, free solitaire)…

Origin of solitaire as a game

Although and in many other countries numerous card games are known in which a single player with a single deck of cards could spend hours and hours enjoying a traditional form of the game in which no rival is needed and the player simply has to try to order the cards using the basic rules of the game in question, the phenomenon of Solitaire as a world-famous card game came about thanks to computer technology.

Who would have thought that a young computer science student would design the most widely used Windows application, seeking to evade a faculty exam? Believe it or not, this is the origin of Microsoft Windows solitaire… when back in 1989, a Microsoft intern, Wes Cherry, created the computer version of solitaire that 365 days later would become part of Bill Gates’ world-changing operating system. From then on, almost half a thousand solitaire games such as Mega Solitaire, White Card Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, Pyramid Solitaire, Ladder Solitaire… and many others would conquer the market and turn free solitaire into one of the most popular pastimes in history.

The incredible thing about this story about the origin of the solitaire game was the motive behind it, as Cherry had no related task to develop the game, nor was he part of a team that created applications, simply to avoid his university final exams, he wrote the code for the now famous game. But like everything else in life, it was a mixed bag for Wes. As an intern, he received no compensation for his creation and was not even listed in the copyright. In an interview given some time ago, he laughingly claimed only a penny per copy (something that will never come)…

Types of Solitaire

As we have already explained, Windows and iOS operating systems along with others such as chess have always included some variant of this game, making it a social phenomenon. Below we will discover some of the most famous types of solitaire games

White card solitaire

A standard deck of 52 cards is used, with four open squares and four open landing places. The cards are arranged in eight cascading columns, with four columns containing seven cards and the remaining columns containing six cards.

The card at the front of each column begins a stack of cards and each card must be placed in a descending cascade of alternating colours. It should be noted that the cards in the arrival squares are placed according to their suit.

How to play Solitaire

Solitaire hearts

The objective is for each of the participants (usually four) to pass three cards to their opponents (first to the left, then to the right and then to the opposite player) in order to score as few points as possible.

To do this, whoever has the two of clubs discards the two of clubs to the centre of the table and all opponents must do the same, following the original discard suit. Whoever throws the highest card of that suit gets all four cards. Hearts are considered negative cards and whoever takes the most hearts scores the most points and therefore loses.

Arkadium Solitaire

This is simply a Flash version of the classic Windows Solitaire Spider game. Why not use an application and download the Flash version? Simply because many users use other operating systems such as Mac or Linux.

Pyramid Solitaire

This Pyramid Solitaire game is based on forming pairs of cards from the deck that add up to 13 points. To do this we must know the numerical value of the cards and the rule of only being able to use cards that are not blocked by others, so for example the 9 goes with the 4, the 3 is paired with the 10… the aim of the game is to discard the pairs that form a pyramid, hence the name. And as for the values, the Ace is worth 1 point, the Jacks or Jacks 11 points, the Ladies 12 and the Kings 13 points, so when moving the cards from the deck to the discarded cards area, this can only be done up to a maximum of 3 times.

Spider Solitaire

Having already defined the classic solitaire game, we can go over some of the most popular solitaire card games that have been developed from the basic principles mentioned above. Among them, we must highlight Spider Solitaire. A game whose objective, like that of almost all solitaire games, is to arrange all the suits in as few moves as possible. But in this case it is played with two packs of cards and depending on the level (beginner, intermediate or advanced), there can be one, two or four different suits.

The cards are placed on the board in ten columns face down, with only the first card of each column being turned over. Cards that do not belong to any column are stacked in a corner. Basically all the cards must be removed from the board, arranging each column in descending order from King to Ace. If you manage to form the whole column, it disappears from the board.

Ladder Solitaire

Also called Mega Solitaire, Ladder Solitaire is also about trying to put together all the cards of the 4 suits of the deck, always in ascending order from Ace to King, hence the order is called ladder, as happens in poker or card games where the cards are scored in a correlative way. In this case, we must build straights in columns in order from highest to lowest and always alternating colour.