Solitaire Games of Skill (SGOS) is a software program that will change the way you play solitaire card games and may even change your list of favorite games. SGOS allows players to play solitaire with more exciting effort in formulating strategy and less perfunctory effort in scanning and moving cards. Games such as FreeCell, Eightoff, and Thieves of Egypt which have a large number of visible faceup cards at the start of the game and many building options, require a considerable effort to scan the layout and move the cards around. Consequently such games tend to be easy to win since the player has a hard time losing after all the effort invested in these games. Thus in general the player when playing these games is denied the opportunity for playing intellectually challenging games. SGOS offers the player more challenging versions of these easy games which require less effort to play and therefore less disappointment when the game is lost and greater satisfaction when the game is won.

Difficult to win games such as Russian Solitaire and Forty Thieves which have a large number of cards facedown or hidden at the start of the game and few building options, require little effort of the casual player to determine if the game seems winnable. Even if the game is deemed winnable, the game is discarded if the game seems difficult or impossible to win at some point in the game. Thus the player is not investing a lot of effort in a losing cause. But once again the player, by trying to minimize effort in a losing cause, may be missing an opportunity for skillful play by not seeing intricate patterns in the layout shown by SGOS that would indicate the game might be winnable. Also with Russian Solitaire and other difficult games, many unwinnable games are thrown out and not even shown to the player.

With SGOS, solitaire is played with less scanning of the layout because critical or movable cards are marked with colored strips. Also solitaire is played with up to 75% less mouse movement and mouse clicks. 419 of SGOS's 845 games are original games not found elsewhere. Some of these original games are four deck versions of your favorite solitaire games which can be won about half the time. Because of the features described above, the player is not overwhelmed by these four deck games like the four deck Autumn Leaves game shown at the top of this page. Instead the player experiences the ultimate solitaire game playing experience.

A listing of the features of SGOS not found in other solitaire software programs is given below.


  1. Cards throughout the layout that can be moved are marked with blue or light blue as seen in the Yukon and Canfield screenshots below. Light blue cards go on foundations while dark blue cards can be built on the tableau. Cards are not marked for easy games like FreeCell since marking cards would make the games too easy to win.
  2. Cards that can be used to uncover facedown cards or create spaces are marked with brown as seen in the Yukon screenshot below. The 3 of spades, 2 of hearts, 6 of hearts, and 4 of diamonds are all marked with brown in their upper right corners. Spider is another game that benefits from this feature.
  3. Cards that if not separated from the cards above them will cause the game to be lost are marked with green. The 5 of spades and jack of diamonds are marked with green in the Yukon screenshot.
  4. In a game like four suit Spider, typically the player has to be constantly scanning the entire layout in order to determine when a complete suit sequence becomes visible. Such a sequence might be removed from the game. With SGOS when a complete suit sequence is available, the first letter of its suit appears in a table.
  5. In games like Blondes and Brunettes, Signora, and Queen of Italy also known as Terrace, cards that should only be used to send reserve cards to the foundations are flagged. If the flagged cards are used to send tableau cards to the foundations, the game is lost. The game is lost since the flagged cards were the only cards that could move the reserve cards to the foundations.
  6. Based on cards visible to the player, tables list counts of hidden cards by rank and suit or color. This can aid the player in card building or in determining which cards can be buried in a wastepile. This is especially helpful in games like Queen of Italy where cards needed to send a reserve card to a foundation might be seen to be buried in the wastepile.
  7. In games like Solitaire and Australian Patience cards in the hand are flagged that if placed on the wastepile would cause the game to be lost. The game would be lost since the card would be covering the only cards that could move that card to the foundations or tableau.
  8. If you are having trouble finding a card needed for building in a game with a complex layout like Miss Milligan, you can mark the card with yellow.
  9. Games like Flower Garden and Northwest Territory have several reserve cards that are simultaneously visible and available for play. The reserve cards are sorted by rank and suit. Thus the player does not have to scan through a long list of reserve cards to find a desired card.



  1. To deal cards to a wastepile as in the games Klondike and Forty Thieves, solitaire software programs require the player to move the mouse to the card being dealt and then click on that card. With SGOS you do not have to move the mouse to the card being dealt in order to deal the card. Cards can be dealt to a wastepile by left clicking on the layout anywhere there is not a card.
  2. When playing games like FreeCell the player has to reach up to the cell cards in order to move them. When playing Klondike the player has to reach out to the wastepile in order to move the top wastepile card. With SGOS these same cards can be sent to a particular point in the layout by simply clicking at that point rather than having to move to the card and click on the card itself. If more than one card can be built at that point, the best card is chosen. If several cards contained in separate cells form a sequence that can be moved to the point, all of the cards are moved to the point with a single click. Any card in the layout can be moved using this procedure.
  3. For games with rules requiring that cards can only moved one card at a time, sequences of cards can be moved with a single click, if the same movement could be accomplished legally with several clicks using spaces, empty cells, and intermediate card builds on other columns. Other solitaire software will move cards based on spaces and empty cells but not take into account intermediate card builds on other columns. Furthermore other solitaire software will only move cards in this fashion for FreeCell and perhaps a few other games.
  4. Card columns can be swapped by just dragging one column over the other and letting go the dragged column, if the same result could be accomplished using a series of legal moves. This feature is handy for games like Spider and Beleaguered Castle where tableau building is by rank only, but there is an advantage to having suit sequences.
  5. Clicking once at the top of a column of cards can send the entire column to the foundations when using SGOS while playing games like Forty Thieves or Cruel. Other solitaire software will require the player to click on each card individually to move the cards to the foundations.
  6. Games like Bisley, Crescent, Alaska, Algerian Patience, and Royal Family have same suit building either up or down. In these games cards in suit sequence are normally moved by clicking on each card of the sequence individually. But with SGOS clicking once at the bottom of a suit sequence can send the entire column to a different position in the tableau while not violating game rules.
  7. For games like Canfield and Klondike where cards are dealt three at a time with unlimited redeals, every third hand card is visible at the same time in a column. For example the Canfield hand cards in the Canfield screen shot seen below are along the left margin. Only every third card is visible. The other hand cards are hidden below the third hand cards and are not available. Thus the player does not have to click through the deck each time to reach a card or see if a card is available. In the screen shot the thick horizontal bar above the king of clubs represents the prior location of the top edge of a card that was moved to the tableau or a foundation. Cards above the line cannot be accessed until the deck is redealt by clicking above the thick line. This mirrors the fact that when dealing cards to a single pile, you cannot reach cards not directly underneath the last card dealt except by redealing the deck.
  8. If a game has unlimited redeals like Unlimited or Big Forty, all the hand cards spread out so that all the cards are simultaneously visible and available for play. The hand cards are also sorted by rank and suit. Thus the player does not have to cycle through the deck or scan through a long list to get to a desired card.
  9. Solitaire software will generally let the player continue play even after the game is lost. SGOS keeps track of game losing situations for the player and will stop the game when the game is lost. This might shorten play by a considerable margin. For example, unless you pay close attention while dealing cards in games like Klondike, Easthaven, and Australian Patience; the game may already be lost while you continue to blithely deal cards. Because only kings can fill spaces in these games, a card can be dealt on top of the very cards needed to move the card to the tableau or foundations. When this occurs these games are stopped and signaled as lost.
  10. If during the course of play, it becomes obvious that the game is won, the game is finished automatically for the player using SGOS. Other solitaire software will require the player to make several perfunctory moves in order to finish the game.



  1. Games that are frustrating to play because of low win rates become fun to play.
  2. Thus Russian Solitaire whose normal win rate is 5% can be won 25% of the time.
  3. Similarly Flower Garden with a 20% win rate can be won 60% of the time.
  4. Chameleon's 2% win rate goes up to 45%.

Many of the games listed below are only playable because of the special features of SGOS, especially the colored strips on cards.

  1. Large Leaves is a two deck version of Autumn Leaves in which building is by same suit with the bottom card having a higher rank than the top card. Thus a 5 of diamonds can be built on a 9 of diamonds. Large Leaves follows many of the rules of Spider and might be more fun to play than Spider.
  2. Spider Klondike deals cards to a wastepile with only kings filling spaces. Otherwise Spider Klondike follows Spider rules.
  3. Aces Up Eight Suits is a version of Aces Up played with eight different suits.
  4. Nestor's Room is a version of Nestor which allows cards to be moved to a cell thereby greatly increasing the skill level and the game's winnability.
  5. Double Calculation is a two deck version of Calculation. Foundation building is tracked using a table so that the player is not overwhelmed.
  6. Double Crevasse is a two deck version of Gaps which has fourteen gaps to fill instead of four and one redeal instead of two.
  7. King of Italy is a version of Signora with 16 cards in the reserve instead of 11 cards. The extra cards in the reserve are manageable because blocks in the reserve are flagged with stars. Orange marked cards allow the player to avoid making moves which would cause the game to be lost.
  8. La Belle Cell is a version of La Belle Lucie which has no redeals, but cards can be moved to a single cell thereby increasing the skill level.
  9. The version of Baker's Dozen offered by SGOS does not automatically move all kings to the bottom of their column. Kings are only moved beneath a card if the game is definitely unwinnable otherwise. Red numbers in a table show the player which cards of a given rank need to be built sparingly so that the game is not lost because of the kings.
  10. Big Checkered Yukon is a two deck version of Yukon Spider which can be won about half the time partly due to unwinnable games being thrown out and bad card sequences being flagged with green strips. The standard Yukon Spider game is notoriously difficult to win.
  11. There are four deck versions of Signora, Klondike, Thieves of Egypt, Agnes Bernauer, Forty Thieves, Algerian Patience, Miss Milligan, Spider, Crescent, Buffalo Bill, Yukon, and FreeCell among others. Since four deck games are twice the size of two deck games, they have twice the complexity. With twice the complexity and win rates around 50%, these four deck games require players to up their game in order to win. You may not want to go back to the one or two deck versions of these games after playing the four deck versions.


  1. In part because of the judicious placing of the toolbar in Solitaire Games of Skill, the entire layout of all games is immediately visible to the player. No scrolling is needed to see any of the cards at any time.
  2. The favorite game of the player is no further away than a single click on the toolbar.
  3. A game can be saved at six different stages of progress. To return to an earlier stage of a game after employing an unsuccesful strategy, the player simply recalls the desired stage. This avoids having to go through a tedious number of undo clicks to return to an earlier layout of a game. In fact the undo only allows the player to go back one move unless a facedown card is made faceup. Then the player cannot undo his move. The limited undo feature makes cheating more difficult.
  4. Listing humdreds of games alphabetically can be overwhelming to the player. In Solitaire Games of Skill games can be listed by game type. If you like a certain game, this type of listing will make it easy to find similar games.
  5. The player can choose how Solitaire Games of Skill starts. The player can take the initiative with an empty layout. Or SGOS can immediately present the player with a previous game, a random game, or a list of games.
  6. The player can select the way games end. Games can end with a celebration or no celebration. They can end with statistics or no statistics. Games can end with nothing happening giving the player complete control. For the hardcore solitaire player, after a game is finished, a new game can appear immediately with no interruption.

Solitaire Games of Skill saves the solitare player a lot of time and effort when playing solitaire games. Unwinnable games are done away with saving still more time and effort. With critical or movable cards marked, the player can see the big picture and can formulate a better and more comprehensive strategy for winning the game. Out of hundreds of original games, the experienced solitaire player can find original solitaire games which are similar to their favorite games and in some cases perhaps more challenging and fun to play.

To experience Solitaire Games of Skill, click on the left box below for a free Demo of the Solitaire Games of Skill Collection. The Demo version has the same number of different games as the Regular version. But the Demo differs from the Regular version of Solitaire Games of Skill in that it has only 20 ways to shuffle a deck of cards while the Regular version has over four billion different shuffles. Thus each game in the Demo has only 20 different layouts. However the Demo shuffles are from 606 to 625 using the Microsoft FreeCell game number system and therefore include the notorious FreeCell game number 617 (see Mike Keller's website).

You might also want to try the Solitaire Games of Skill Sampler. The Sampler consists of 20 solitaire games taken from the 845 games of the Solitaire Games of Skill collection. Eleven of these games are original games not found elsewhere. The Sampler has as many shuffles as the Solitaire Games of Skill Collection unlike the Demo. More details on the Sampler are available on the Freebie page of this website. If after playing the Demo and/or Sampler you find you want to purchase the product, click on the right box below. If your operating system is Windows XP Home Edition or a version of Windows that is earlier than XP, these products require the .Net Framework 1.1 which can be downloaded using the following link: Download .Net Framework 1.1

Three Shuffles Demo


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System Requirements

Windows 98 or later
Internet Explorer 5.01 or later
.Net Framework 1.1 for Windows XP
Home Edition or earlier