The Benefits of Solitaire

By Zee Khalid
If you find yourself with nothing to do on a summer day, consider a game of solitaire.
If you’ve ever experienced overwhelming boredom, then you’ve most likely played, or at least heard of, Solitaire. Contrary to popular belief, Solitaire is an entire genre of single-player card games that involve the manipulation of a layout of cards with a goal of sorting them in a particular manner, not just any single game. The game most people refer to as Solitaire is actually known as klondike. Although many assumptions are made about the game and those who enjoy playing it, Solitaire has numerous mental benefits that can be helpful for more than just us “nerds.”

Perhaps the most apparent benefit of Solitaire games is its aid in decision-making and problem-solving. In almost all forms, a game of Solitaire begins with a random assortment of cards that need rearranging to achieve a particular, sought-out arrangement of those cards. In other words, you have to fix a problem. To fix the problem and sort out the cards correctly, the player must make the right moves and decisions, for there is always the possibility of making a critical mistake that requires you to start over. As a result, players are forced to consider long-term effects of each decision they make and strategize accordingly, a skill that is very useful in real life situations.

Solitaire polishes and maintains a number of mental skills, such as mathematics, logic, memory, and quick thinking. Most games of Solitaire are based on the number as well as the color of the cards. The rearrangement of the cards is often based on alternating colors and the sum of different cards. Because each game is timed, players must use mathematical skills at a fast pace. The mathematical aspect of Solitaire brings logic into the game as well, as certain arrangement of numbers will definitely not work while others will. In some forms of Solitaire, memory plays an important role. These games often include the flipping and discarding of cards, which affect the distribution of the available and/or face-up cards. All these mental skills are at work in varying levels with each different form of Solitaire, and are constantly activated with each play and each new situation to fix.

Playing solitaire in your free time will help in your cognitive upkeep, or the constant stimulation of certain areas of your brain. I recommend using the website, which, to my experience, provides the largest list of different Solitaire games to play. There is a description under each game that explains how to play. Here are a few games that I have enjoyed over the years to get you started:
  • Klondike (Turn One or Turn Three)
  • Scorpion
  • Pyramid
  • Royal Parade
  • Free Cell
  • Tri peaks
  • Spider

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