Spider Solitaire Rules and How to Play

If you have two decks of cards and some time to spare, you don’t need a partner to enjoy a card challenge. Take these Spider Solitaire rules as an inspiration.

Spider Solitaire (also known simply as Spider) is one of the world’s most popular patience-type card games. 

Its name refers to the spider’s eight legs corresponding to the number of sequences you must build to win this game. 

Though the game is undoubtedly based on the rules of classic Solitaire, Spider is played with two card decks, just like another outstanding solitaire-type card game Diplomat.

Key highlights of this Spider Solitaire rules guide:

  • What is Spider Solitaire?
  • Spider Solitaire rules
  • Spider Solitaire scoring 
  • Spider Solitaire rules in pictures 
  • How to play Spider Solitaire (Video tutorial)

Read on and learn how to play Spider Solitaire in a few simple steps.

What is Spider Solitaire?

Spider Solitaire Card Game Info image

Spider Solitaire is a classic patience-type single-player challenge. You aim to sort the cards into 8 consecutive sequences and remove them from the layout. 

Number of Players:

Age: 12+

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Length of Play: 10 – 30 minutes

Type of Game: Sequence-building card game

Similar to: DiplomatSolitaireFreecell 

Main Objective: Build 8 sequences and remove all the cards from the layout.

Our Take: There are never enough versions of Solitaire. Spider Solitaire is easy to learn but, thanks to its adjustable level of difficulty, challenging even for experienced players.

Related: 8 games like Solitaire

What You’ll Need to Play Spider Solitaire?

If you plan to play Spider Solitaire, make sure you have the following:

  • Decks: 2
  • Number of Cards: 104
  • Cards Omitted: Jokers

Spider Solitaire Rules

Your goal in Spider Solitaire is to build sequences of cards from Kings down to Aces. When you complete a sequence, you can remove all the cards in it from the game. 

Logically, since you play with 8 suits (4 from each card deck), you need 8 sequences to win the game. 

Since we’re learning how to play this game from scratch, let’s focus on the easiest version of Spider Solitaire, where suits don’t matter.

However, once you’re familiar with the rules, you can advance your gameplay by validating only same-colored or same-suited sequences. 

Starting the Game

Take both decks of playing cards and shuffle them thoroughly together.

Next, lay down a row of ten down-facing cards in the upper part of your playing space. 

Add four more rows below the initial one, allowing the cards to protrude slightly.

Add one more card to the first four columns, so you end up with 10 columns in total, four with 6 cards in each and six with 5 cards in each.

Now, flip over each column’s top (or, technically, the bottom) card to see their faces.

Place the remaining deck face down on the side as your stockpile.

How to Play Spider Solitaire

The up-facing cards can be moved as long as you can place them on top of another up-facing card that’s precisely one rank higher.

The cards are ranked just like in most other patience-type games:

  • King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace (highest to lowest). 

Example: Queen can be moved on top of King, 5 can be moved on top of 6, 10 can be moved on top of Jack, etc.

You can also move multiple cards together as a stack if they’re in a valid sequence.

Whenever you remove a card from a column, flip face-up the next card below it (the one just revealed).

If you use up an entire column, move a card/stack of cards on the empty space. 

All 10 columns should always have at least 1 card whenever possible (even if it means breaking up a sequence you’ve already built).

What if you get stuck?

Continue making all the available moves until you get stuck (or decide not to make the available moves for any reason).

Then, take your stockpile and deal one new up-facing card on each column. This refreshes the game with new options, so you can continue moving the cards as needed.

When you collect an entire sequence on any of the columns, remove it from the layout and put it above it or on the side. 

Continue until you have no more cards to deal, no more moves to make – or until you successfully remove all the cards from the layout. 

Spider Solitaire Scoring

Single-player card games usually don’t need scoring. You can either win or lose. 

In the case of Spider Solitaire, winning means removing all the cards from the layout. 

The game is lost if a player gets stuck without any other options. 

Spider Solitaire Rules in Pictures

Step 1

Spider solitaire rules 1 image

Shuffle two decks of cards and deal five rows of ten down-facing cards plus a sixth row for the first four columns. Flip the bottom row face-up. 

Step 2

Spider solitaire rules 2 image

You aim to create 8 sequences from King to Ace, and there are 3 levels of difficulty to try: mixed sequences, sequences of the same-colored cards, and sequences of a single suit.

Step 3

Spider solitaire rules 3 image

The up-facing cards can be moved individually or in stacks on top of another up-facing card that’s precisely one rank higher. Move them around as needed to build sequences.

Step 4

Spider solitaire rules 4 image

If you use up an entire column, fill the empty space with another card or stack, even if it means breaking up a sequence you’ve already built.

Step 5

Spider solitaire rules 5 image

If you get stuck, deal one new up-facing card on each column. You can do this as long as you have some cards left to deal. 

Step 6

Spider solitaire rules 6 image

When you build an entire sequence (King to Ace), remove it from the layout. To win the game, you need to remove all 8 sequences.

How to Play Spider Solitaire – Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a trick to Spider Solitaire?

Spider Solitaire is not about tricks, but some strategies can be helpful. For example, try emptying at least 1 or 2 columns as quickly as possible. This gives you more options.

Is Spider Solitaire easier or harder?

Compared to other solitaires, Spider Solitaire is considered harder by many players. It’s because the odds of winning are low, and one wrong move can stop you altogether.

What is the hardest Spider Solitaire game?

In the hardest version of Spider Solitaire, you’re only permitted to remove a single-suit card sequence (e.g., K♠︎ – A♠︎) from the layout. 

You’re still allowed to combine different suits during the game, but only as individual cards; if you want to move a stack or an entire sequence, it must consist of a single suit.

Other Similar Games to Spider Solitaire

If you enjoy playing Spider Solitaire, check out some of our guides to other patience-type card games:

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