There are endless choices you can make whilst playing a game of Patience. Players are often faced with more then one choice, however whenever certain cards are moved into position there is no way back. Every move will have consequences for the next move so it’s good to think about how the ideal game looks like and what kind of moves you should make. Is there a winning Patience strategy?

One of the things a player should always do is to ‘peek’. What is peeking when playing Patience? It’s very simple; you just look at what the next card from the stockpile is, and then you ‘undo’ your move. This gives you an important advantage; instead of only the top card in the stockpile; you will also know what the next card is. By knowing this you can anticipate better on where and how to place cards in the tableau or the ace stacks.

Be patient! Time is your biggest enemy when playing Patience, don’t be reckless and jump through the stockpile.

The game itself normally hasn’t got any time restrictions, this means you should be careful and take your time as to prevent forgetting certain moves.

Whilst I mention time as the biggest enemy, it’s not only taking your time that matters but also concentration. Someone playing around 100 games a day will obvious be less  ‘motivated’ then someone playing 10 games. This is also why Patience is considered a skill game by many; the player has a huge influence on the outcome. Players that are taking their time, have a good focus, will usually do better then players playing a fast game.

What to do when there are more options to place a card on to the tableau?  For example, suppose you have drawn a seven of diamonds form the stockpile and there are two options in the tableau:

  • 10 spades / 9 hearts / 8 clubs
  • 9 diamonds / 8 spades

Normally you would say it doesn’t matter which one of the two is best, they both offer the same solution. However when one card can be put on either of two cards on the tableau, choose the one that causes suit alternation:

For example, assume one wants to put the 7 diamonds on the tableau and there are two streaks:  10 spades /9 hearts)/(8 clubs) and (9 diamonds)/(8 spades). Then put the 7 diamonds on the latter streak. The reason for doing this is subtle and its benefit does not happen often: Sometimes to flip over a card on the tableau, one has to build foundation piles. For example, suppose two piles in the tableau involve ( 5 clubs)/( 4 hearts)/( 3 clubs)/(2 hearts) and the other involves (4 clubs)/(3 hearts)/(2 clubs) and suppose the only way to remove the  5 clubs (and flip over the card beneath it) is to construct a pile from the ace-of-clubs to the 4 clubs in the foundation. Then, having the ace-of-clubs and the ace-of-hearts in the foundation allows one to do this. If, in these two streaks in the tableau all four suits were involved, then foundations piles in all the suits would be needed to remove the 5 clubs, and this is usually more difficult.