Can I play Patience in a real land based casino?
Although there are plenty of opportunities to practice your solitaire skills on various free play sites, some people would also like to experience the thrill of playing a game of solitaire for real money in a casino. Microsoft’s solitaire game also has an optional setting called Vegas rules suggesting the game is available around Las Vegas casinos.
A quick search on Internet seemed to offer little help. With some comments on websites actually suggesting there are only rumors of casinos offering solitaire because the windows solitaire game that offers a “Vegas style” version. It seems ‘Las Vegas Style’ Solitaire or Patience merely means you are playing for real money but it has nothing to do with Las Vegas. Apparently some casinos have offered Solitaire in the past; machine and table variations were available, also of the Klondike solitaire game.
In the Vegas Solitaire version of three-card Klondike, a player invests USD 52, or USD 1 per card, just to play the game. For each card played into its Ace stack, including the Aces, the player wins back USD 5. This payout table would mean that of you manage to lay down 10 cards in the stacks, you would just about break even, 11 cards or more would mean you would be making some profit.
It’s hard to find any evidence of Solitaire existing as a table game in land based casinos. However, the economics of a Patience game make it hard to make it economic viable for a casino. The game is labor intensive and would occupy expensive SQM. Compared to other table games offered in Las Vegas such as Black Jack and Baccarat, the number of Patience games that can be played in an hour is also limited. Most likely in the time it would take a dealer to get through one game of Solitaire with a player he could have played over 10 hands of Black Jack or Baccarat. For any casino it’s all about efficient use of space and labor, and unfortunately Patience isn’t very effective in achieving this. Casinos in Las Vegas can make more money by using croupiers and dealers on games such as roulette, black jack or baccarat.
Some comments on websites like Tripadvisor seem to suggest that in the 60s and 70s (way before the game became popular thanks to Microsoft Windows) Solitaire was on offer in Harrah’s in Lake Tahoe, however real evidence can’t be found. Perhaps the game wasn’t offered in real casinos but someone described how the action took place:
The player would pay a sum of money for a deck, the player was free to make any offer and then the table ‘boss’ would decide to accept it or not. After acceptance you could play the game, whilst the boss was keeping an eye, an experienced boss could oversee 4 tables at once. Back in those days there wasn’t something like an undo button or move; if you missed out on a move you could have made your game was over. There were some extra rules, if you managed to move 10 cards in the stacks you had the possibility of going through the deck once again. This would be an all in bet, you would have to finish the game completely or you would end up winning nothing.