QUESTION: Microsoft Solitaire game has an optional setting called “Vegas rules.” Is there really such a thing as a Vegas Solitaire? — Bob B.
ANSWER: Some casinos, and not just in Vegas, offer both machine and table variations of solitaire, as does the classic Klondike game. It’s comparable to conventional solitaire: The more you progress, the more you win. If you successfully complete the game, you score a jackpot.
As with Klondike solitaire, a standard 52-card pack is used, with 28 cards dealt in seven piles. The first pile has one card, the second pile has two, and so on up to seven cards in the last pile. The top card of each pile is face-up; all others are face-down. The four aces form the foundations, and each ace must be played to a row above the tableau with cards in the appropriate suit played face-up on the foundations, in sequence, as they become available. To score the jackpot, you must have the four suits built onto the foundations from aces up through kings.
With Las Vegas Solitaire, a player would pay an upfront amount to participate. Let’s say it’s $52, or $1 per card, to play the game. The house pays the player $5 for each card that winds up on the foundation. After you go through the remainder of the deck one time, the dealer counts up the number of cards on the foundation and pays a certain amount for each one. Thus 10 cards on the foundations would allow you to just about break even; 11 or more puts you ahead of the game. Betting amounts and jackpots vary from casino to casino.
It’s unlikely that Las Vegas Solitaire can survive as a table game because it’s wildly labor intensive. In the time it takes a player to get through one game of solitaire, five players could have played 10 hands of blackjack. Clearly, the house can make a bigger profit by using the dealer more effectively.