A simple guide to the world of solitaire


A hobby for many and a pastime for more, solitaire has really transformed the independent gaming culture. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most popular types of solitaire – classic, golf, spider and Yukon – and where you can play them.

Solitaire Games

The word ‘solitaire’ is an umbrella term for the wide range of games such as Klondike and Yukon which are all variations of one game. Before solitaire was popularized online in the 1990s when it was included with Microsoft Windows, the game originated in Europe in the mid-18 century. Some suspect that the game acted as a form of fortune-telling, as cartomancy (divination by cards) and tarot card reading gained popularity during this time. Today, solitaire is an online favorite by many, with more than 100 distinct forms available for players with just the click of a mouse. A few popular variations of solitaire include Klondike, spider, Yukon, and golf solitaire. We’ve comprised a brief overview of these four types of solitaire.

Classic Solitaire (Klondike)

Commonly known as Klondike, classic solitaire is a game that most people are familiar with playing. The game is played with one pack of 52 playing cards, 28 of which are laid out to form a tableau of seven columns of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 overlapping cards; these columns are arranged from left to right respectively. The card at the end of each column is then turned face up while the remaining cards are placed face down. The objective of the game is to build all four suits in ascending suit sequence from Ace to King in four separate piles.

You can play Klondike solitaire for free here.

Play Klondike

Spider Solitaire

This version of solitaire involves two standard 52-card decks to begin with. The game is laid out with 10 columns of cards; the first four columns have six cards and the last six columns have five. The last and final card at the bottom of each column is dealt face up and the rest of the cards in the deck are set to be used later. The objective of spider solitaire is to arrange 13 cards of the same suit in sequential order in an independent pile (ex: King of Spades all the way down to Ace of Spades). Once a full suit is created, it is discarded from the game. Spider solitaire is won if all eight suits are played out. There are two common variants of spider solitaire, the 2 suit version and the 1 suit version. In both of these versions, the rules essentially remain the same except for the “suits.” In 2 suit spider solitaire, players assume that all red cards belong to one suit and all black cards belong to the other suit. The cards are then moved in descending order as usual (ex: a 10 of diamonds, a 9 of hearts and 8 of clubs can be moved onto any open Jack). Once a complete group of cards in one suit is in perfect sequential order it can be removed from play. Furthermore, in 1 suit solitaire, players assume that all cards belong to the same suit; this is a particularly easy version to play.

You can play spider solitaire and choose from the four suit (traditional), two suit or one suit versions here.

Play Spider

Yukon Solitaire

Yukon solitaire is similar to Klondike but it has its special caveats, too. Like classic solitaire, Yukon is played with a single pack of 52 playing cards and its layout is almost the same. 28 cards are dealt to start the tableau of seven columns, however, the remaining 24 cards are dealt face up to the final six columns. The main thing that makes Yukon solitaire unique from its counterparts is the fact that players must move cards of alternating colors between columns and they don’t have to be of the same suit. Yet the objective of the game is highly similar to Klondike – to build four foundations of cards of the same suit in descending sequential order.

You can play Yukon solitaire for free here.

Play Yukon

Golf Solitaire

Another popular game under the umbrella of solitaire is golf solitaire, which is known for its fast-paced quality. The game is played with one pack of 52 playing cards and the layout includes seven columns of five cards each, which are all face up and slightly overlapping. The remaining cards in the deck are set aside to form the stock, and the exposed card at the bottom of each column is available to play. To begin gameplay, cards are removed from the tableau and added to a waste pile if they are in sequence (one rank above or one rank below). In golf solitaire, suits are irrelevant and the objective is to remove all the cards from the tableau and turn them over to a single waste pile where building occurs when exposed column cards are transferred.

Play golf solitaire here.

Play Golf