The Intriguing World of Solitaire: A Forgotten Casino Game

By Julia Krotova
April 13, 2023

Microsoft revolutionized the Solitaire experience by introducing the Vegas scoring system, adding an exciting twist to the Klondike variant most commonly played on computers. The Vegas scoring mode simulates a gambling atmosphere, incorporating risk and reward elements into the traditional Solitaire game.

Of course, traditional solitaire is one of — if not the most — popular card games in the world, due at least in part to the fact that a single person can play it without the need for another person’s company or competition across the real or virtual felt. With time, though, more unique and exciting versions of the game, like Vegas Solitaire, have popped up and attracted players as well.


In Vegas Solitaire, players begin with a negative score, usually -$52, representing the cost of a “deck” of cards. Playing cards to the foundation piles earns the player a fixed number of points, typically $5 per card. The objective is not only to complete the game but also to achieve a positive score, signifying “breaking even” or making a “profit.”

Interestingly, this popular game was once played in gambling houses in New York and casinos in Las Vegas, long before Microsoft “re-invented” the game. Though not as popular as other favorites like Minesweeper, plenty of people still enjoy a good game of solitaire.

The Klondike version with money score origins from the goldrush in Klondike, where this form of Solitaire was first played in the gambling saloons.

The Challenges Solitaire Faced in Casinos

Since its inception, Solitaire has been a widely played card game, enticing many gamblers to turn it into a betting experience. Intriguingly, the oldest reference to a Solitaire game, including its rules, reveals that people used to bet on the game. Despite its popularity, Solitaire failed to find long-term success in casinos worldwide. Richard Canfield attempted to popularize it in New York, and various Las Vegas casinos tried as well, but ultimately, the game was too labor-intensive, vulnerable to cheating, and not profitable enough for casinos.

It was far easier for casinos to spread other table games like baccarat, roulette, and blackjack. Naturally, as more people learned how to play poker, that game gained popularity, too, but it wasn’t as big a money maker for the casinos as the table games or, of course, slot machines. Slots require the least maintenance of all casino games and quite literally sit there waiting to vacuum up player bankrolls, occasionally doling out prize money to lucky winners.

The Resurgence of Solitaire in the Digital Era

Although traditional casinos no longer offer Solitaire, the game is experiencing a resurgence online. A growing number of online casinos now provide standard Klondike Solitaire with Vegas Score, allowing players to wager real money. This real money version is  called Vegas Solitaire and can be played for various stakes in online casinos world wide.

While slot games and online poker will continue being among the most popular online games that people play for real money, games like Klondike Solitaire and Vegas Score have also carved out nice niches for themselves.



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Julia Krotova poker author
Written By.

Julia Krotova

Julia is a freelance writer with an affinity for poker. She plays in the occasional home game in the UK with her gal pals for low stakes and is an avid fan of free-to-play online poker games.

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