Odds of Winning at Solitaire (Theoretical vs. Practical)

The odds of winning a game of Solitaire, specifically Klondike Solitaire, which is the most common version, can vary widely depending on several factors such as the ruleset being used, the skill of the player, and whether the game is being played with a single deck or multiple decks.

With Random Deals

For completely random deals, without regard to solvability, the probability of winning has been estimated through computer simulations.

These simulations suggest that with optimal play, the chances of winning a standard game of Klondike Solitaire (with the draw three cards rule) are about 79% to 80%.

However, this number can be misleading because it assumes perfect play and knowledge of the location of all cards.

Skill Level

For average players, the win rate is significantly lower. Casual players might only win about 10% to 20% of the games they play because they might not always make the optimal moves or might miss opportunities for advantageous plays.

Rules Variations

The odds can also change based on the ruleset:

Draw Three vs. Draw One

The traditional rule of drawing three cards from the deck at a time is harder, with lower winning odds than drawing one card at a time. With draw one, the win rate increases significantly.

Unlimited vs. Limited Re-deals

Allowing unlimited re-deals (going through the deck more than once) significantly increases the chances of winning compared to allowing only one or a limited number of passes through the deck.

Computer vs. Physical Play

Playing on a computer can offer higher odds of winning because some software may not deal entirely random hands, instead selecting from a pool of winnable games. Additionally, computer games often allow for undos, which can significantly increase the chance of winning.

Conclusion

While the estimated odds of winning can be as high as 79% to 80% under ideal conditions with optimal play, the practical win rate for most players is much lower, likely in the range of 10% to 20% for the average player depending on the specific rules and their skill level.

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