Solitaire: Undo or you're doing it wrong

Solitaire: Undo or you're doing it wrong

According to an enormous poll at Online Solitaire, approximately 25% of Solitaire Turn 3 games are won, making it a challenging game to win.

However, those numbers consist of a little bit of strategy factored in with a whole lot of luck. For most players, the game boils down to chance and luck — win or lose.

But it shouldn’t be, and if you’re playing the game by mindlessly clicking through the stack until all of your moves are exhausted, then you’re doing it all wrong.

I’m not a huge gamer, but the games I do like to play on my iPad consist largely of games that challenge my brain to work.

Among those are backgammon, Sudoku, euchre, challenging crossword puzzles, Wordle and, yes, solitaire.

These are all games that require the brain to work, and exercising that particular organ as much as possible is always a good thing.

While solitaire to many may seem like it is a game you only click cards that work until you either win or lose and isn’t all that challenging to the mind, the game can be extremely challenging if you take advantage of one major option, that being the “undo” option.

My wife calls it cheating, but the undo option is what makes solitaire so intriguingly satisfying.

Let’s say you roll through a game, and it comes to a losing end.

For many, that’s just the way it is.

Not me.

By utilizing the undo option, I will systematically go back through the moves, undoing as many as necessary to alter the game and give myself another option, whether it is choosing not to move a king to a vacated row or perhaps not making a play from the deck rather than making one, which alters the cards that turn up in the deck every three cards.

I will do that over and over, sometimes returning to the very beginning of the game to figure out where and how I can alter the game plan to change things that lead to a favorable outcome.

While a typical game, win or lose, may take three minutes, and there are times when things just go right and you can win in about 90 seconds, the most satisfying wins are the ones that take time. That’s because those games are the ones that work the brain the hardest.

Reworked solitaire games can last five or six minutes. I’ve won many of them in the 12-minute range.

But the very best ones come at a much greater time span.

I once played a game (and won) that took me more than one hour to play.

Yes, that’s a single game of solitaire, a game that would have taken me about three minutes to lose had I chosen to simply move on and accept the loss.

However, by using the undo option, I reworked the game over and over, exploring every possible change, exhausting every possible move until finally breaking through to victory.

That is extremely satisfying.

Sometimes you have to simply walk away from the game and pick it up later, but the game clock keeps track of the time played, so that’s not an issue.

While winning a game that perhaps shouldn’t have been won is satisfying, that isn’t what is truly important.

What is important is that by utilizing the undo option, the game goes from a fairly mindless operation to one that takes keen insight, attention to detail and memorization, and all of a sudden, your brain is indulging in some fierce, thought-provoking time that in the end is really great for your brain.

While it is well documented that physical exercise is critical to our health, so too is giving our brain a good workout.

Games requiring dedicated thinking are not only good for increasing memory capabilities, but studies also have shown brain-enhancing activities can create better sleep, reduce stress and help us learn.

Cognitive challenges that make our brain work are known to help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Yes, most studies point out that combining physical and mental exercise adds years to a person’s chance of living a longer, more satisfying life.

So when you put the “undo” option in place while playing solitaire, you’re not just giving yourself a better chance to win more often. You’re actually stimulating your brain cells and exercising the most important parts of your body.

So, you see, it’s not cheating; it’s all beneficial in the long run.

Now playing Solitaire Turn 1 or reshuffling the deck once you get stuck, that’s cheating.

And by the way, in my experience the winning percentage when using the undo option? It’s up between 70-75%, which is a nice byproduct of developing a healthy mind.

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load