How to Play Spider Solitaire

Spider Solitaire is easily one of the most popular solitaire games on the internet. Continuing our how to play solitaire guides, we aim to show you not only how to play but also how to win this particularly challenging card game.

Setting Up Spider Solitaire

Spider Solitaire is played with two decks of 52 cards with all jokers removed. As you can see from the picture below, you must deal 10 columns of cards. The first 4 columns of cards have 5 cards that are face down with the sixth card at the bottom dealt face up. The last 6 columns of cards have 4 cards dealt face down, with the fifth and final card on these columns dealt face up. The rest of the cards remain in the deck to be used later.

Spider Soltiaire Set Up

Rules of Spider Solitaire

There are three possible variants spider solitaire. All three use the same basic rules, but the way the cards can be moved is slightly different for the easier version. It's probably best to explain the rules for the 4 suit version of the game first and then explain the changes for the easier two suit version and one suit version.

Rules for the 4 Suit Version

  • A single card can only be moved to another pile if the card being moved is one less than the card it will be placed on. For example any 9 can be placed on any 10.
  • Groups of cards can only be moved if they are all in same suit and are in perfect descending order. For example you could move a 10, 9 and 8 of diamonds as a group onto any open Jack.
  • If a card that is face down in a column is open it must be turned over.
  • Any group or single card you might be able to move can be placed on an empty column.
  • You can deal 10 cards from the cards remaining, one to each column if you cannot make any moves. However there must be at least one card in each column when you do this.
  • If you have a complete group of cards in one suit in perfect descending order it can be removed from play. For example King of Spades all the way down to the Ace of Spades. Remove all the cards to win the game.

2 Suit Version Rules

  • This is common variant of spider solitaire seen in many computer versions. To simulate this using a 2 standard decks of cards just assume that all red cards are one suit and the other suit is all black cards. Now groups can be moved if they are in perfect descending order and they are all in the red suit or black suit. E.g. You could move a 10 of diamonds, a 9 of hearts and 8 of diamonds onto any open Jack.
  • If you have a complete group of cards in one suit in perfect descending order it can be removed from play. For example all red cards starting from the King down to the Ace.
  • All other rules are the same as the 4 suit version.

1 Suit Version Rules

  • To simulate this using a 2 standard decks of cards just assume that all cards belong to the same suit.
  • This means you can move any group of descending cards onto another appropriate card. E.g. a 6 of spades, 5 of diamonds, 4 of clubs can be moved onto any open 7.
  • Any group of cards in perfect descending order from King to Ace can be removed from play.
  • This version of Spider Solitaire is particularly easy, but it's quite relaxing!

Win Spider Solitaire Four Suit

The four suit version of Spider Solitaire is easily one of the most of the challenging solitaire games out there and simply put not every game can be won. You always need some luck! The two suit and one suit versions are far easier and winning is much more common!

  • If you are playing it on the computer with an undo feature (or just peeking when playing with two decks by hand), it's often worth looking under a card you are about to uncover to see if that will give you another move.
  • Where possible build cards together in their respective suit. This gives you greater freedom in moving the cards as the game progresses.
  • When you have two or more open columns it is often easier to restack columns so that they are in their suits before filling those columns with more permanent cards. The idea is to clean up your active columns so they are easier to move later.
  • Kings can never be placed on any card, so its usually best to move these to open columns.
  • Where possible try to play cards from columns that are closer to being empty. Really the key to the game is getting those empty columns!
  • Always try to expose new cards first by moving your current cards around rather than moving them straight to an empty column.
  • Always build on higher ranked cards. Often this means that you get more moves. For example move a Jack onto a Queen before moving a 10 onto a Jack.

We hope this guide will help you understand the rules of Spider Solitaire. Enjoy playing!

Further reading

Are you curious about how to play other solitaire variants? Check out one of our guides: