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Solitaire For Beginners: 14 Common Mistakes (How To Avoid Them)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Ahh, Solitaire – a game we have all played either at school, work, or even when bored at home. This legendary game is one of the most recognizable and popular card games in the world and has been a worldwide success ever since its digital launch in 1990, on Microsoft Windows.

If you have just picked up playing Solitaire recently and want to learn more about what common mistakes to avoid, you are not alone. It’s human nature to make mistakes, as that is how we learn. Solitaire is no different. It is through making mistakes that we learn what to do and what not to do.

However, there are some common mistakes that you should avoid making in Solitaire at all costs. These mistakes are painful and always hurt as you end up losing a game you should have won.

In this article, we will delve into the common mistakes that almost most Solitaire players make and how best to avoid them. So let’s get to it!

1. Ignoring the rules of Solitaire

Although Solitaire might have a much easier rule book to find loopholes in, ignoring the rules not only ruins the integrity of the game but also ruins any chances of winning. You’ll ignore a rule and do stuff your way, but in the end, it’ll come back to bite you as you’ll be stuck with nothing to do but restart.

2. Making A Move Right Away

It is just instinctive to open a game of Solitaire and, without thinking, make your first move. What most players don’t realize is that the first move can often make or break the game. The last thing you want is to jump straight into a game and start moving cards around.

What you should do is flip the facedown deck card first to get yourself an extra card before touching anything else on the tableau.

3. Moving Foundations

As the game starts and you have different piles to choose from, avoid moving a foundation from the start and instead move cards towards the foundations to clear up space and open up additional cards to work with.

4. Ignoring Viable Options From Stockpile

Several different types of Solitaire have a ‘stockpile’ from which you can check out cards and see what works out best for your deck and foundation. It is always best to use the stockpile card when no more moves are left on the tableau.

The best way to do this is to keep your stockpile card in reserve rather than moving it right away. Unless it is an Ace, King, or 2, in which case you should play them quickly to free up more cards and moves. In short, never ignore the options the stockpile offers!

5. Making Random Stacks

While the appeal of just making stacks as the game progresses is definitely alluring, it’s not advised. Don’t make this mistake, and instead, make ace stacks evenly, as it’ll make moving around cards simpler.

6. Keeping Cards Locked-Up

Oftentimes there will be cards on your tableau that are stuck and can’t be moved anywhere. Rather than leaving them be and letting them ruin your next few moves, move your set foundations around to try and un-stick this card and further the game.

7. Moving Cards Into Smaller Stacks

Moving cards from the stockpile to the foundation is a simple objective. However, the common mistake made in the process of reaching this objective is moving stockpile cards into smaller stacks. Don’t do that!

Always move these cards to the bigger stacks first. By doing this, you are actually opening up more options, even though that may not seem as obvious just yet.

8. Prioritizing Face-Up Cards

The entire object of Solitaire is to try and flip as many face-down cards as possible. By prioritizing playing face-up cards first, you are essentially setting yourself up for failure. Instead, try to make use of the face-down cards first. Zeroing in on flipping face-down cards will help you unveil cards faster, allowing you to better plan your moves.

I personally utilize this technique strictly on the grounds that it assists me with remaining coordinated when planning my game moves. It also helps in avoiding imprudent errors.

9. Leaving Empty Spaces Without A King In Place

The feeling of clearing stacks in Solitaire is one of a kind. In fact, people play the game only to get that ever-rewarding feeling, but sometimes it ends up being a mistake.

Why is that? Leaving an empty space without having a King in place devoids you from being able to flip face-down cards lying behind the foundation piles you have already built. A strategy that can quickly lead you to get stuck. Never leave an empty space unless you have a King to place in the slot first.

10. Not Using The Undo Button

Classic Solitaire, as played on Windows PC, offers players the ability to undo a move they have made only once per game. There are still a lot of beginners that don’t even know such a thing exists in Solitaire. You will be surprised as to how many more games you can win by using this button to correct an otherwise avoidable mistake.

It’s important, however, to use the undo button shrewdly. Only use it if you have made a mistake and believe that reverting a certain move can better assist you with moving cards around to win the game.

11. Not Using Temporary Kings

Another common mistake made in Solitaire is when people can’t figure out what to do with their existing kings if they are trapped or have no use. At that point, ignoring them isn’t a good option as you can always make your Ace into a temporary King.

12. Not Knowing Which King To Place In An Empty Slot

While you’re attempting to loosen up a spot on the board, it’s essential to know whether placing a red or black King in an empty slot would prove beneficial or not. Remember, a black King can only be placed on a black suit, while you can place a red king on either a red or black suit.

As a rule of thumb, only place a black King on an unfilled spot on the off chance that no other black cards are on the tableau. The red king, on the other hand, can be placed in an empty slot regardless of whether other red cards are on the board.

13. Always ‘Following The Book’

If you’re an avid reader of blogs that are helpful towards your Solitaire gameplay, sometimes it’s okay to let your thoughts carry you, allowing you to make moves that aren’t necessarily something you read about on the internet. You’ll face times when you have no choice but to defy the guidelines taught to you in basic guides.

Take chances and be bold with your strategies, especially as a beginner. This way, you will likely learn the most.

14. Being Impatient

One of the most beautiful things about Solitaire is that it teaches the importance of patience and perseverance. Sometimes it is best to simply remain patient and work towards getting the card you need to finish the game.

Just making moves for the sake of making moves isn’t going to get you anywhere. Think about what you are doing and what its outcomes are likely going to be.

Final Thoughts

There are a ton of mistakes one can make while playing a game of Solitaire. Whether you are a beginner or someone who has been playing for years, mistakes happen. What’s important is understanding the gravity of the mistake and learning from it so that you don’t do it again.

Some common mistakes such as the ones listed above can, however, be avoided right from the start. This will allow you to pick up the game faster, win more rounds, and have a lot more fun!

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.