Name Article: Gambling with Solitaire – Chicago Daft Now over a game that seems easy but is not
Year: Sunday 14 September 1902
Published in: The Sun (Newspaper)
Location: New York, USA
Gambling with Solitaire – Chicago Daft Now over a game that seems easy but is not – The Sun New York – 1902
This article describes the rules of Gambling Solitaire in detail. The game is very similar to today’s Canfield Solitaire with the addition of a betting structure and some differences in play. According to the article, the game is “hot” in the gambling houses of Chicago. Unfortunately, the author doesn’t mention the specific name of the game.
“They have a new game out in Chicago and the sporting element has gone daft about it, said a man who has just got back from the middle west. There is one establishment out there that is doing a Monte Carlo business at it and, although it is away ahead of the game, there is no let-up in the number of men who are willing to take a long chance to carry off a big bundle of coins.
“It’s a gamble in Solitaire where the Chicagoans are going against, and it’s the hardest game to beat and the easiest to get interested in, that I ever met. The Solitaire is of that familiar variety in which you take 13 cards off, and try to build up the four suits in sequence beginning with an Ace, taking every third card in succession from the pack.
You buy a pack of cards, paying $52 for the deck. Then you sit down in the room where the game is conducted and, with an attache of the house standing back of you and looking over your shoulder to see that you don’t work any queer business, you proceed to play solitaire.
If you win the house pays you $1000. If you can’t beat it the house pays you $5 for each spot on the top cards of the row that you are supposed to build from aces up. You’d be surprised to see how few spots most of the players muster after they have skinned their deck of all the plays possible.
I watched many games during my short stay in Chicago and I did not see the game beaten once, although I have seen players who, after giving up the game as hopeless, counted the spots on the top cards in the upper row and demanded as high as $195, which was instantly forthcoming. I saw winnings of $60, $65, and thereabouts in plenty but the poor fellows that could not muster more than six or seven spots were too numerous to mention.
Three times in one evening I saw one sport buy a pack, pay his little $52, and not be able to scare up a single ace for that upper row. That fellow might have been excused if he had jumped into the lake but he didn’t”
There was no indication that “Canfield” had ever been played for real money before I came across this article. This article demonstrates that “Canfield Solitaire” actually was a gambling game and played at the same time when Canfield ran his Gambling Houses.
However, before we take this as evidence, it should be noted that Richard A Canfield didn’t run any gambling establishments in Chicago, and his most important clubs in New York were shut down. A later published article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “Gambling House Solitaire is popular in Brooklyn,” also mentions and describes the game named after Canfield in detail. However, here it’s called Gambling House Solitaire.