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Hard Solitaire

Hard Solitaire

Most people don’t tend to think of solitaire as being a very difficult game, but in fact there are many forms of hard solitaire. While it’s true that there is more or less always a degree of luck involved in any kind of solitaire, many hard solitaire games challenge your skill and strategic thinking in a variety of ways. Let’s look at some forms of hard solitaire.

Types of Hard Solitaire

The simple game of solitaire has been creatively adapted by many people over the years, so there are lots of forms of solitaire that are more difficult than classic versions such as Klondike. Broadly, there are four hard solitaire games that are considered to be the most difficult: 

There are two main ways you can determine the relative difficulty of a version of solitaire. The most obvious and easy to quantify is your mathematical odds of winning. Canfield, for example, gives you only a 1 in 30 chance of winning. Forty thieves is roughly 1 in 10, as is Scorpion – while Spider gives you around a 1 in 3 chance of winning. 

However, odds aren’t everything. A perfect computer simulation running would win this many games in each type, but a human being is unlikely to. So, there’s also an element of your own strategizing in how hard a version of solitaire is. One wrong move could mean you make the game unwinnable. 

The lower your mathematical chances of winning are, the more you are going to have to strategize. So, the games are made harder in two ways. 

How, then, do you approach hard solitaire? 

How to Play Hard Solitaire Games 

Of course each form of hard solitaire card games is going to have slightly different rules, but there is certainly a broad-brush approach that can be applied to them as a whole. The most important thing, as mentioned, is to play carefully, strategically, and with patience. A single wrong move can be enough to ruin your chances of winning in any of these forms of hard solitaire. Even if you can use an “undo” option, you aren’t always going to realize until it’s too late, and you won’t know which move ruined the game for you. 

At the same time, you’ve also got to contend with the fact that the odds are not on your side in most given deals of these forms of hard solitaire. Be prepared to lose many times – it’s part of how you learn! The simple answer to how to play these games, in the sense of how to learn how to play them, is simply to play as many games as you can. You’ll get better at hard solitaire with experience. 

There are also creative ways that you can make ordinary forms of solitaire, such as Klondike, more difficult. You can challenge yourself to win in as few moves as possible or even play against the clock. Many forms of solitaire also have a variation that is played with two decks, making it much harder to win. 

How to Win a Hard Solitaire Game

Winning in any form of hard solitaire is a question of how carefully you approach the game. Here are our main tips for winning hard solitaire card games. 

Build up tableaus evenly

In general, winning at solitaire relies on revealing the hidden cards in the tableau, or the reserve pile for Canfield. You have the best chance of doing this if you spread your sequences equally across the tableaus.

Think about color

Different forms of solitaire have different rules about color sequences, and this should always inform how you play. You want to think several steps ahead about sequences you can make, and color (or suit) will be a big part of this. 


Many of us might not like to hear it, but when the odds are as stacked against you as they are in hard solitaire, there’s only so far that tips and hints will take you. You need to play as many games as you can, and as you do, you’ll notice you can manage the spread better and better.

Play Hard Solitaire on

Solitaire is an enormously and richly varied game with countless different versions you can try your hand at. Despite what many people think, it is not at all a game of pure luck, and hard solitaire games are some of the most fun you can have with a pack of cards. 

FAQs about Hard Solitaire 

Now, let’s look at some frequently asked questions about hard solitaire variations.

What is the hardest form of solitaire? 

There may be some disagreement on this depending on whom you ask, but generally Canfield or Forty Thieves are regarded as the hardest forms of solitaire. They both require careful skill and strategizing, as well as the luck of the deal. 

However, there are other forms which don’t require as much strategy, but still give you a very low chance of winning regardless of how well you play. Tripeaks solitaire is a great example of this. There’s not much you can do to improve your chances of winning – it’s mostly about the luck of the deal! 

Are there unbeatable games of solitaire? 

There is no form of hard solitaire which is inherently and entirely unbeatable, but there are many possible deals in any form of solitaire which are unwinnable. As mentioned, Canfield gives you around a 1 in 30 chance of winning if you play a perfect game – so even the best player in the world couldn’t win every deal.