3 Most Loved Variants of Solitaire 

Solitaire enthusiasts across the country play solitaire as their favorite means of entertainment. Also known as the patience card game, solitaire has several variants, which are now available online, giving card game lovers many ways to enjoy themselves. The availability of cheap internet data and the affordability of smartphones allow players to play their favorite card game online from any part of the world at any time. Online gaming apps like Solitaire Gold also offer detailed tutorials on how to play solitaire for those players who are just getting started in the game.

Here are three variants of solitaire that are the most loved and played regularly by gamers online:

1. Klondike

Klondike stands out from all versions of solitaire and it enjoys massive popularity. It is the quintessential solitaire game that everybody should try at least once. Klondike is the variant that most people have in mind when they think of the word “solitaire.” Having originated in the late 19th century, it gets its name from a gold rush that took place in the Klondike part of the Canadian Yukon, where prospectors would play the game in order to pass time. 

The credit for the game’s massive popularity goes to the time when Microsoft integrated it into its Windows computers in 1990.

The gameplay

A 52-card deck is used in the game of klondike. The goal is to move all the cards to the foundation piles according to suit, beginning with the ace and ending with the king. Since these sequences begin with the aces as the foundation and build upward, klondike is typically described as one of the builder-type solitaire games.

Cards are dealt in an area called the tableau, and the primary deal involves laying out seven piles, with 1 to 7 cards, with only the top card of each pile turned face up. To  reveal the bottom cards, the player has to build sequences by shuffling cards within the piles. Sequences in the tableau columns are built in descending order, i.e from king to ace in alternating colors. As an exception, only kings are allowed to be moved into empty spaces on the tableau. 

The remaining cards that were not dealt into the piles form the stockpile. These cards are used when players run out of cards to build their sequences. 

2. Spider

Another game that lurks closely in the shadow of klondike with respect to popularity is spider. Spider takes the top spot among the 2-deck type of solitaire game. The name comes from the spider’s eight legs, referencing the eight foundation piles that must be filled to win the game. Many believe that spider is the best version of solitaire as it gives players a good chance of winning the game. The game was also said to be a favorite of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

The gameplay

Spider is played with two card decks. The tableau setting is very much similar to that of the klondike. This version of solitaire is different in that it does not involve placing cards into foundation slots. Instead, the cards are stacked in the tableau in descending order to spin a spider web-like pattern. Thus, there is no need to sort by suit. Another difference here is that the cards, when distributed, are all exposed or placed face up. The columns of cards remain in the tableau columns until the player lines up a whole column according to suit in a sequence, descending from the king down to the ace, at which point they are removed from the game. Cards can be moved within the tableau columns, but whenever fresh cards are needed, the 50 cards left in the stockpile are dealt out 10 at a time and distributed across the entire tableau.

3. FreeCell

FreeCell emerged from obscurity in 1995 as a consequence of its integration into Microsoft Windows 95. The game had been created by Paul Alfille as early as 1978, but it was only after its inclusion in Microsoft PCs that the game got the limelight. 

The gameplay

The gameplay of FreeCell is quite similar to that of klondike. It uses a single card deck, and the cards are dealt into eight piles. However, in FreeCell, all cards are dealt and there is no stockpile. All the cards are visible to the player. 

The goal is to build foundation piles from each suit in an ascending sequence, i.e from ace to king. Apart from the foundation piles, there are also four free cells that are put to use when a player temporarily needs to store a card from the bottom of any column. Cards are supposed to be arranged in the tableau columns in alternating colours and such sequences can be moved between columns by putting the free cells to use.


The wide and warm reception of klondike, spider and freecell by the online audience has proved that solitaire as a game will continue to have an enduring legacy, far beyond what Microsoft must have ever imagined when it first integrated solitaire into its system. The inclusion of these games in Microsoft’s software immensely helped these games garner popularity and attention. Almost 30 years on, these solitaire games have stood the test of time and will undoubtedly continue to entertain people worldwide in the future too. 

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