Is Solitaire Good for Your Brain?

Solitaires Team • Updated February 28, 2023

Solitaire has long been a popular card game across Europe and the world. Its origins stem from Germany, where fortune tellers first used the game to tell whether players had good or bad luck. From its humble beginnings, Solitaire has spread across the world and has been developed into many variations, the most well-known of these being Klondike Solitaire Turn 1.

Additionally, some suggest that it has an array of benefits for mental and psychological health. There is now research that delves into the mental effects of games like Solitaire, with some studies even suggesting that card games can ward off diseases like dementia.

Solitaire Benefits

What Is the Game of Solitaire?

First, it’s best to learn a little about Solitaire itself. Invented in the 18th century, the game is traditionally played with a standard deck of cards and is typically played alone. In fact, this is where its name comes from, with ‘Solitaire’ deriving from the French for ‘Solitary’.

There is not only one way to play Solitaire as the game has evolved into many variations, including Spider, Pyramid, FreeCell, and even such recent variations as Scorpion Solitaire. If you want to pick up the game, start with Klondike Solitaire—it’s the most traditional version and is very easy to play. As you become more expert, you might want to try out other variations for an extra challenge. 

Scientific Research Supporting the Benefits of Solitaire

While there are no studies specifically addressing Solitaire, there is a plethora of research on the benefits of playing games on the brain and mental health. Most studies to date have been focused on video games, with results showing that video games can increase cognitive, emotional, and social health. While the media have highlighted the more negative aspects of playing video games, research demonstrates that playing games can actually decrease stress and anxiety and help with emotional regulation.

Turning to card games in particular, some studies have shown that games like Solitaire can increase children’s mathematical skills and set them up for future learning. These improvements were retained for over two months, even after the children had stopped playing. Furthermore, other types of games, such as board games, have additional benefits since they involve an increased level of social interaction. While Solitaire is not an inherently social game, it still involves a certain amount of interaction, especially if you play competitively. 

How Playing Solitaire Can Improve Cognitive Function

So we already know that playing Solitaire can bring a host of social and mental health benefits. However, it can also greatly benefit the functioning of the brain and mind, and potentially ward off diseases such as dementia.

Improves Memory

While many might consider Solitaire as just a way to pass the time, it has real benefits. For example, people who play puzzle games can learn, store, and review new data more quickly than those who don’t. Solitaire, therefore, allows people to develop their short-term memory as players often need to recall set groups of cards. Being able to tell which cards are in the stockpile and which are likely to be face-down on the tableau is key to winning a match. 

Develops Mental Skills

Playing Solitaire allows for the fostering of a number of psychological abilities. Puzzle games develop your ability to focus, reason, and plan, and these skills can be taken into your daily life. Solitaire can also increase your critical thinking skills, allowing you to analyze problems more efficiently. This is because, to play Solitaire well, you must consider the risks and potential future of the match before moving a card. In this way, it helps you plan good strategies and develop thinking skills. 

Increases Brain Power

In a study carried out by the University of Wisconsin, researchers discovered that regular gamers have better memories and increased brain volume. They concluded that those who read books, played games, and participated in puzzles were able to score higher on several mental surveys testing memory, recognition, and critical thinking abilities. So it really is true—playing Solitaire (or any type of puzzle game) is good for your brain.

Develops Tactical Thinking

Solitaire is by no means a complex game. However, you often need to think about the best Solitaire strategies to use to win. Some games are won on simple luck, but most Solitaire games rely on the skills of the player. Therefore, Solitaire increases your ability to consider new avenues and tactics so you can win the game. This can be applied to daily life, particularly when working on new projects, as sometimes you must consider different options to create a good outcome.

Tips and Strategies for Playing Solitaire to Maximize its Benefits

Now you know a little about the numerous benefits playing games like Solitaire can bring, you might be wondering what is the best way to maximize these advantages.

Play Often

The best way to maximize the benefits you feel from a number of activities is to play little and often. Just spending ten minutes a day with puzzle games like Solitaire can increase your cognitive abilities and help you relax. Again, this works in the same way as meditation, where everyday practice provides a significant advantage.

Play Different Variations

The traditional version of Solitaire, Klondike, is a great game, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option. An excellent way to challenge your brain and its skills further is to learn other variations of Solitaire, particularly trickier versions such as FreeCell or Tripeaks. This way, you keep the game new and fresh, which allows you to improve and stay flexible.

Take Breaks

When learning any skill, it’s never useful to spend hours plugging away at the same thing. In fact, taking breaks can actually help you improve faster as it allows your brain to rest and absorb any new information. Therefore, when playing Solitaire to maximize your cognitive skills, don’t be afraid to have a little downtime. When playing Solitaire, other puzzle games, or video games, it’s important to take time off and spend a few hours relaxing otherwise or spending time with family or friends.


Overall, Solitaire is a great game with a rich history that carries many benefits for your mind. You can play numerous variations and even challenge your friends, adding a competitive edge while enjoying the benefits for your mental health and brain. The world of Solitaire is vast and varied, offering an opportunity to relax, unwind, and sharpen your mind in a delightful and engaging manner.

Solitaires Team

Solitaires Team

"Our mission is to create a Solitaire platform that's not only convenient and enjoyable but also free and accessible globally. We are dedicated to ensuring that our platform provides an engaging experience that transcends borders and languages."