There are many places to play solitaire card games for free. You may be thinking of a conventional deck of cards and saying to yourself 'unless you count the cost of the cards playing solitaire has always been free'.
However, this article refers to playing solitaire games for free on your personal computer using either Windows, Macintosh or Linux Operating Systems.
There are dozens if not hundreds of solitaire collections out there that cost anywhere from $5 to as much as $40 to purchase, download, install and finally play.
There are even web sites that charge to play their solitaire games online.
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However, we are here to discuss free solitaire. These are solitaire games that cost the user nothing to play. You may wonder how companies make money offering free solitaire.
The most common way is to place ads on the web sites that offer the games or in the game programs themselves. People click on the ads and the game creator or web site owner make a small amount of money per click.
You can see this advertising model all over the web today including Google's Ad words and MSN's sponsored ad programs. If you don't mind having ads near your playing area then free solitaire games should work well for you.
Another way a company can make money with free solitaire is to offer a full version for a cost that offers more games and features.
This selling model is superior to one offering a limited free trial as the user can play the game for weeks or months which give them a longer time to decide whether to purchase the full version or not.
Games can sell for years after their release using this method as many software companies have seen.
Free solitaire games contain less games and features than the pay versions, but for most people this will suffice. If you are a die hard solitaire player, there are many choices of solitaire game collections out there.
For a while there were dozens to choose from and some were not very good, but today, the market has stabilized and there are now around eight good collections to choose from.
Most of these solitaire game collections offer a free version that will work forever without expiring. They contain enough features to make them enjoyable and some offer over ten games totally free.
The most famous free solitaire game is the one that came with Microsoft Windows. The game is actually called Klondike.
This is the popular solitaire game with the well known building red on black and the four aces on top which we call 'solitaire'. Little did most people know that there are over 1000 versions of solitaire.
Later versions of Windows added Freecell solitaire and finally Spider solitaire. All of these solitaire games became wildly popular. Freecell can be won almost every time and uses cells to store cards.
Spider Solitaire is the latest well known solitaire game. Spider Solitaire is very challenging, but can be won half of the time with proper skill applied.
The popular gaming web sites also include free solitaire games than can be played right from your web browser using Java Script, ActiveX, Flash and other scripting languages.
These will have banners and ads on the pages and in some cases annoying pop up ads that will suddenly appear in the middle of your screen. These more annoying types of ads are not popular and are not as common today.
These sites offer other types of games as well and many of the solitaire games allow you to race against the clock or even win prizes. These games have become very popular recently.
Finally, there are public domain solitaire games like the well known Pysol for Linux. This large free solitaire collection has also become available for other operating systems including Windows.
This collection has hundreds of games and many features and is perfect for the casual solitaire player. Pysol has not been updated for a while, but still boasts graphics that are adequate for play.
The newer pay solitaire games have rather incredible graphics including 3D, but these graphics are not necessary to enjoy the game. It won't take you long to find a whole array of free solitaire games to choose from.
We hope you will enjoy many hours playing free solitaire games.
About the Author
Trisha Ellington works for Softgame Company, maker of card games, video poker and puzzles
. She works on web sites, designs games and does graphic work.
Softgame Company also makes solitaire card games