Canfield Solitaire

Canfield Solitaire is a famous mind-blowing card game that has been entertaining players for centuries. In this comprehensive guide, you‘ll learn how to play Canfield Solitaire, its rules, strategies of success, and the existing forms of the game. We‘ll also address some frequently asked questions, so you can become a Canfield Solitaire expert in no time.

How to Play Canfield Solitaire

The aim of Canfield Solitaire is to transfer all 52 cards from the deck to the four foundation piles located in the top right corner.

In Canfield Solitaire, the foundation piles are built in ascending order, tableau piles in descending order, and all piles follow a cyclical pattern. The first card dealt to a foundation pile is a random Canfield Solitaire card, which sets the starting value for all foundation piles.

There are only four tableau piles, each beginning with a single solitaire card. When a tableau pile is emptied, the space is promptly filled by a Canfield card taken from the reserve pile situated in the bottom left corner.

Only the top card in the reserve pile can be seen, and no other cards can be placed on top of it.

The majority of Canfield Solitaire cards begin in the stockpile located in the top left corner, from which you can draw either one or three cards at a time, depending on the chosen difficulty level.

This solitaire variant demands more patience than most, but you have access to unlimited hints and undos to assist you throughout the game.

Setting Up the Game of Canfield Solitaire

To set up Canfield Solitaire, first shuffle the deck of 52 cards. Then, deal one card to the first foundation pile in the top right corner. This random card will determine the starting value for all foundation piles, which will be built in ascending order.

Next, create four tableau piles by dealing one card face-up for each pile. The tableau piles will be built in descending order, following a cyclical pattern. Remember that when a tableau pile becomes empty, it should be immediately filled with a card from the reserve pile.

Place the remaining cards in the stockpile, located in the top left corner. Depending on your chosen difficulty level, you will draw either one or three cards at a time from the stockpile during gameplay.

Finally, position the reserve pile in the bottom left corner. Only the top card of the reserve pile should be visible, and no other cards can be placed on it. With the game set up, you‘re now ready to enjoy Canfield Solitaire, testing your patience and strategic thinking as you play.

Playing the Game of Canfield Solitaire

To play Canfield Solitaire, follow these steps and strategies to move cards between the tableau, foundation, and reserve piles:

  1. Draw cards from the stockpile: Depending on your chosen difficulty, draw either one or three cards at a time from the stockpile. Examine the available cards and determine which moves can be made.
  2. Build tableau piles: In the tableau, build piles in descending order and maintain the cyclical pattern. For example, if the starting card in the foundation is a 6, a tableau pile would be built as 5-4-3-2-ace-king-queen, and so on. Be mindful of potential moves that can create empty tableau spaces, as these can be filled with cards from the reserve pile.
  3. Move cards to foundation piles: As you play, transfer appropriate cards from the tableau and reserve piles to the foundation piles, building them in ascending order. Ensure that you maintain the same suit for each foundation pile.
  4. Use the reserve pile strategically: The reserve pile can be helpful for temporarily storing cards that cannot be placed in the tableau or foundation piles. However, only the top card of the reserve pile is visible and accessible for play. When a tableau space becomes empty, fill it with a card from the reserve pile.
  5. Maximize your moves: Always be on the lookout for opportunities to move cards between piles and maximize your chances of uncovering new cards. Be strategic in your decisions, considering both short-term and long-term consequences of each move.
  6. Use hints and undos wisely: If you get stuck or need assistance, remember that you have unlimited hints and undos at your disposal. Use these tools to help you make the best decisions and advance in the game.

The game continues until all cards have been moved to the foundation piles, at which point you have successfully completed Canfield Solitaire. If no more moves are available and the stockpile is empty, the game is considered lost, and you may choose to start a new game of Canfield Solitaire or use hints and undos to try a different approach.

Rules of Canfield Solitaire

To become a Canfield Solitaire pro, it‘s essential to understand the rules of the game. Here are the basic rules you need to know:

  1. Foundation Piles: Cards in the foundation piles must be arranged in ascending order (from the ace to king) and by suit. The first foundation card is determined by the top card of the reserve pile. All other foundation piles start with the same value as the first foundation card.
  2. Tableau: Tableau piles are built in descending order and alternating colors (red and black). You can move a card from the reserve, foundation, or another tableau pile onto a tableau pile according to these rules.
  3. Reserve Pile: Cards in the reserve pile can be moved to the tableau or foundation piles if they fit the criteria for those piles. Only the top card of the reserve pile is available for play.
  4. Stock Pile: When you have no legal moves, draw one card from the stock pile and see if it can be played on the tableau or foundation piles.
  5. Empty Tableau Spaces: When a tableau space becomes empty, you can only fill it with a card from the reserve pile.

How to Win in Canfield Solitaire

Winning Canfield Solitaire can be challenging, but with the right strategy, you can improve your chances of success. Here are some tips to help you win:

  1. Prioritize playing cards from the reserve pile to free up more options.
  2. Try to create empty tableau spaces to access reserve cards.
  3. Be cautious about moving cards to the foundation piles too quickly, as you may need them for tableau moves.
  4. Plan your moves carefully, considering multiple steps ahead when possible.

Variations of Canfield Solitaire

  • Chameleon: This version has a reserve of only 12 cards and three tableau columns. The tableau builds downward, regardless of suit, and the stock is dealt one card at a time with no redeals allowed. Any or all cards can be moved from one tableau pile‘s end to another.
  • Rainbow: In this variation, the tableau builds down without considering the suit. Cards are turned one at a time, and no redeals are allowed (though some sources permit dealing one card at a time from the stock with two redeals).
  • Selective Canfield: After dealing the reserve, five cards are dealt, allowing the player to choose one to place in the foundations. The remaining four cards become the tableau.
  • Storehouse (Reserve or Thirteen Up): In this variant, the twos are removed and placed on the foundations. The reserve and tableau cards are then dealt. The stock is dealt one card at a time and can be used only twice. Building in this game is by suit, and Storehouse is considered easier than Canfield Solitaire.
  • Superior Canfield: The entire reserve is visible in this variation, and any card can fill gaps, not just those from the reserve.
  • Eagle Wing (Thirteen Down): This version is similar to Storehouse.
  • Variegated Demon: A double pack game with aces as base cards and a tableau of five cards. Sequences or single cards can be moved, and two redeals are allowed.
  • Other closely related solitaire games include Duchess and the two-deck game American Toad.
  • Beehive: A much simpler solitaire game, uses a Storehouse layout, but requires players to match cards of the same value and is geared towards children.
  • Racing Demon: Known as Nerts or Pounce in the US, is a real-time Canfield Solitaire variation that allows for competitive play between multiple players. It inspired the commercially produced Dutch Blitz and Ligretto games.


Q: Can I play Canfield Solitaire for free online?

A: Yes, there are numerous websites and apps that offer free Canfield Solitaire games. Simply search for "free online Canfield Solitaire games" or "play Canfield Solitaire free online" to find a platform that suits your preferences.

Q: Is Canfield Solitaire a game of luck or skill?

A: Canfield Solitaire is a combination of both luck and skill. While the initial layout of cards and subsequent draws from the stock pile are based on luck, strategic decision-making and careful planning are essential to increase your chances of winning.

Q: Can I play Canfield Solitaire with more than one deck of cards?

A: To play traditional Canfield Solitaire, you’ll need one deck of cards but there are other solitaire games, such as Double Canfield, which involve two decks. However, the rules and gameplay for these variations may differ from the classic Canfield Solitaire.

Q: What is the origin of Canfield Solitaire?

A: Canfield Solitaire is believed to have been named after Richard A. Canfield, a casino owner in Saratoga Springs, New York, in the late 19th century. The game was originally known as "Klondike" in Europe, but the name "Canfield" became more popular in the United States.


Canfield Solitaire is a fascinating and engaging card game that combines luck and strategy. By understanding the rules, applying winning strategies, and exploring different types of the game, you can enhance your skills and enjoyment of this classic solitaire variant. Whether you prefer to play Canfield Solitaire free online or with a physical deck of cards, the challenge and satisfaction of mastering this game remain unparalleled.