My Favourite Patiences by W Dalton – 1909

  • Name Article: My Favourite Patiences
  • Author: W.Dalton (Author of “Bridge Abridged™ “Auction Bridge” etc.)
  • Year: 1909
  • Published in: The Strand Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly (38 – July to December 1909)
  • Location: London, United Kingdom

“My Favourite Patiences,” an article published in the Strand Magazine in 1909 by W. Dalton, describes a game he names “The Step Ladder Patience.”

The game described is the game we know today as Klondike Solitaire, but without any mention of the gambling score and also using the three-card draw rule.

About “the Step Ladder”

“Now we come to a much easier and simpler form of Patience. “The Step Ladder” entails no tax on the intellect but just a little care and intelligence in moving the cards.
Like “The Agnes,” it is a triangle pattern of seven, but here only the first card of each row is exposed, all the others being dealt face downwards. Deal the cards, turning up the first one in each row.”

“When no more cards on the board can be moved, the cards in hand are dealt, three at a time, to a rubbish heap, and the top card on the rubbish heap is, for the time being, an exposed card, and can be played either to a foundation or to another exposed card.

“In a Patience book which I was looking at a few days ago, this particular Patience was called “The Gambler’s Delight,” although I cannot conceive what delight the gambler could find in such a very mild form of speculation.

“I fancy that the writer had confused it with another very similar form of the game, which is sometimes called “The Gambling Patience,” although better known under the title of The Canfield.”

The book W. Dalton is referring to is “Games of Patience, Illustrated By Numerous Diagrams,” written by Tarbart in 1905. Here Thomas de la Rue (Tarbart’s pen name) describes as the first the game we nowadays call Klondike (3 card draw version)

My Favourite Patiences 1909 W Dalton

Also, this article confirms that the name Canfield was widely used for the Seven Card version of Solitaire we call today Klondike when played for fun, or Vegas Solitaire when played for real money.

W. Dalton states that when you play “The Stepladder” for real money the game is called “The Canfield” and is named after a gambler. It’s clear that W.Dalton didn’t do serious research since almost everything he tells about Canfield does not correspond at all with the information we know about Canfield.

About the gambling variant “The Canfield”

“This is played in exactly the same way as “The Step Ladder,” with one important difference.
The cards in hand are dealt one at a time instead of three at a time and are only gone through once. The laying-out and moving are precisely the same as the last Patience so that the same diagram will serve.

“This, as a Patience, will not succeed in coming right out once in fifty times, but that is not the point. The point is to see how many cards you can get off.”

“The story told about it is that it was exploited in the bars and saloons of the United States by a man named Canfield, who is said to have Won a great deal of money at it.”

“His modus operandi was to induce other men to play it by offering to pay them a dollar for every card which they got off if they would give him ten dollars to start with. No one knew what the right odds were, and it seemed very tempting to give ten dollars for the chance of getting back fifty-two for there is always the chance of getting it right out, and that is what lures people on”