Solitaire SolitaireGames Week
Every week a new solitaire game

  #6 - October 9, 2001 - by Thomas Warfield


Screen shot of the game Canfield from Pretty Good Solitaire.

Canfield is one of the most well known solitaire games. It is called "Demon" in England. It was given the name Canfield after the owner of a gambling house who sold decks of cards to customers for $50 and then paid 5 dollars for each card played to the foundations during the game. He made money because the game is very difficult (probably why it earned the name Demon).

In her 1899 book on solitaire, Mary Whitmore Jones wrote that Demon (Canfield) is "by far the best game for one pack that has yet been invented." It appears that Canfield was the most popular or well known solitaire game before the rise of Klondike later in the 20th century. In fact, in England when Klondike because popular, people called Klondike by the name Canfield, transferring the name from one popular game to another.

Canfield is a one deck game. First, 13 cards are set aside as a reserve, with only the top card available. Then 4 cards are dealt out one each to 4 tableau piles. These piles will be built down by alternate colors. Groups of cards in sequence can be moved. Empty spaces in the tableau are filled by the top card of the reserve. A final card is dealt to become the first card of the first foundation pile. The foundation piles are then built up in suit from the rank of this first card dealt until each pile contains 13 cards (this requires that Kings wrap around to Aces). Such wrapping is also allowed in the tableau.

The remainder of the cards form the stock. The stock is dealt out 3 cards at a time to the waste pile. The top card of the waste pile is available for play. There are unlimited redeals, so you can go through the pack as many times as you like. However, because the cards are dealt out 3 at a time, you may not be able to get at all the cards and the game may block. This happens often.

Using these strict rules, a player can only win about 10% or 20% of the time. The rules are often relaxed to allow better chances. By dealing out the stock 1 card at a time instead of 3 at a time, you can greatly increase your chances of winning to nearly 100%.

There are many variations of Canfield, including Double Canfield (a two deck version of the game), Superior Canfield, Variegated Canfield, and many others.

Canfield is one of the 400 solitaire card games in Pretty Good Solitaire.

Canfield Links

Rules to Canfield
See the rules of the game

Canfield Statistics
See the Canfield statistics of Pretty Good Solitaire players.

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