Canfield Solitaire

Canfield solitaire is one of the oldest and most storied variations of the classic patience card games. It’s been played in some form or another for a very long time, and it’s just as much fun today as it ever was. That said, canfield (solitaire) can be a tricky game to get to grips with, so today we’re going to cover everything you need to know to get started playing the game. Let’s jump into it.

How to Play Canfield Solitaire

To start with, finding a place to play free canfield solitaire is now easier than ever. All you need to do is type the name of the game into your preferred search engine and you’ll get dozens of options for playing the game of canfield solitaire for free on many different sites. Once you’ve found somewhere to play, though, the next question is how to actually play the game. 

Canfield solitaire is quite different from more popular forms of solitaire such as Klondike. The aim of Canfield solitaire is to build up the four foundations from whatever card is dealt to the foundations—in most forms of canfield solitaire, this can be any card. The cards are distributed primarily between the stock pile and the reserve pile, and there is only one card in each of the four tableaus. 

You must form sequences with cards in the reserve, the tableaus and the stock pile so that you can get access to all cards and ultimately place them in the foundations. With the basics covered, let’s break down the specific rules of Canfield solitaire. 

Rules of Canfield Solitaire

The rules of free canfield solitaire are as follows: 

  1. You must build sequences by descending order and alternating color. Canfield solitaire is different in many respects, but this aspect is the same. To build your sequences in the tableau, they must descend by card value and alternate by color. For example, a three of hearts could go either on a four of clubs or spades. 
  2. You can cycle the cards in the stock pile as many times as you need. Canfield solitaire rules normally dictate you must flip three cards at once from the stock, though only the top one is available for play. You can move these cards either to the tableau or the foundations. 
  3. You can move cards from the reserve pile to either the tableau or the foundation. In canfield solitaire, you have a reserve pile typically consisting of 13 cards. Only the top card is available for play. 
  4. Empty tableau spots must be filled with a card from the reserve. In many forms of solitaire, you can place cards in empty tableau spots at will. In Canfield solitaire, cards must be played from the reserve when an empty spot comes up. If the reserve pile is empty, any card can be played to the empty spot. 
  5. Typically, you cannot move cards back into the tableaus after they’ve been placed in the foundations. This isn’t always the case, but it is usually the way to play canfield solitaire online. 

Now that you know the rules to play, let’s look at strategies for winning. 

How to win Canfield Solitaire

To win at canfield solitaire, you must place all cards by suit in the foundation piles. Here’s how to do that: 

  1. Play strategically. Canfield solitaire is more than just a game of luck. Indeed, luck is very much not on your side with canfield solitaire. You only have around a 1 in 30 chance of winning with canfield, so you’ve got to make every move count if you want to ensure victory. Think several steps ahead, and don’t make a move simply because you can. Decide if it’s the best move for the moment. 
  2. Build tableau and foundation piles evenly as best you can. By building even sequences, you reduce your chances of getting stuck. This game is often also called “demon” patience, and the reason for this is that the tricky position of a single card can often get you stuck. Think carefully about every sequence. 
  3. Try to create space. Revealing all the cards in the reserve pile is going to be one of your best chances of winning the game. By creating space early on, you will free up more and more cards from the reserve pile. So, focus on your tableau first, and the cards in the stock pile second. 

If you play strategically and carefully, you give yourself a good chance of winning—just remember, not all deals are winnable, indeed most are not. 

Variations of Canfield Solitaire 

There are many variations on standard canfield solitaire rules: 

  1. Chameleon is a variation of the game in which only 12 cards are dealt to the reserve and there are only three tableaus. 
  2. Rainbow canfield solitaire builds the tableau down without any need to build suits or colors in specific sequences. 
  3. Superior canfield is a form of the game in which all cards in the reserve pile are visible and face up, and empty tableau slots can be filled with any card.
  4. Double canfield has the same rules but you play with two decks of cards, meaning there are eight foundations to build. 


What are the odds of winning canfield solitaire? 

Computer simulations have shown that around 1 in every 30 deals of canfield solitaire is winnable. Naturally, this figure is arrived at by a computer which is capable of playing every game perfectly, so human win figures tend to be much lower. 

Is canfield solitaire the most difficult form of solitaire? 

Most would argue that forty thieves is the most difficult form of solitaire to win. That said, canfield solitaire is usually listed as one of the hardest forms of the game to win.


The canfield solitaire game is a great way to have some fun and pass the time. It’s certainly more of a challenge, so you may want to familiarize yourself with simpler forms of the game first. That said, whether you’re a veteran solitaire player or entirely new, canfield solitaire is easy to pick up and start playing.