Clock Patience

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A Patience game
Clock Solitaire.JPG
Initial layout of Clock Solitaire; Numbers/letters represent the piles.
Alternative namesTravellers
Named variantWatch
DeckSingle 52-card
See also Glossary of solitaire

Clock Patience, also called Clock Solitaire, is a luck-based patience or solitaire card game with the cards laid out to represent the face of a clock.[1][2] It is also known under alternative names such as Dial, Travelers, Hidden Cards, and Four of a Kind.[3]

Clock Patience is a purely mechanical process with no room for skill, and the chances of winning are exactly 1 in 13.[4]


One deck of cards (minus jokers) is used. The deck is shuffled and twelve piles of four cards each are laid out, face down, in a circle. The remaining four cards are placed, also face down, in a pile in the center of the circle.

The twelve positions around the circle represent the 12-hour clock and the pile in the middle represents the hands.

Play starts by turning over the top card of the central pile. When a card is revealed, it is placed face up under the pile at the corresponding hour (i.e., Ace = 1 o'clock, 2 = 2 o'clock, etc. The Jack is 11 o'clock and the Queen is 12 o'clock) and the top çard of the pile of that hour is turned over. If a King is revealed, under the middle, which is the opposite of the pile for .

Play continues in this fashion and the game is won if all the cards (including four Kings) are revealed; turning up the fourth king means you will have completed the clock and won the game.[5] The game is lost if the fourth King is turned up while any cards remain face down.[6]


A variation of Clock Patience commonly called Watch is played like Clock Patience, but players can continue the play when the fourth king appears, by replacing it with a still face-down card.[7] The game ends when that fourth king reappears.

The Clock (sometimes also called "German Clock") is a stock and waste type of solitaire originally called "Die Uhr", and described in a German solitaire book by Rudolf Heinrich from 1976.[8] This gives rules for very different game-play that depends on skill not to miss cards that can be played to the foundations.


  1. ^ Albert H. Morehead and Geoffrey Mott-Smith (2011). Hoyle's Rules of Games, 3rd revised and updated edition. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc. ISBN 0-451-20484-0
  2. ^ "Clock Patience (p.12) in Card & Dice Games by N.A.C. Bathe, Robert Frederick Ltd, 2004.ISBN 1-889752-06-1
  3. ^ "Clock" (p.36) in Little Giant Encyclopedia of Games for One or Two, The Diagram Group, 1998. ISBN 0-8069-0981-1
  4. ^ Clock Solitaire by Weisstein, Eric W. MathWorld - A Wolfram Web Resource. Accessed 14 October 2020
  5. ^ "Clock Patience" (p.17) in Card Games by John Cornelius, Paragon, 1998. ISBN 1-86309-571-3
  6. ^ "Clock" (p.25) in The Little Book of Solitaire, Running Press, 2002. ISBN 0-7624-1381-6
  7. ^ "Clock Patience" in Glenn, Jim and Denton, Carey. The Treasury of Family Games (page 101). Reader's Digest, 2003 (ISBN 9780762104314)
  8. ^ Heinrich, Rudolf (2011). Die schönsten Patiencen, Perlen-Reihe 641, 35th edition. Vienna: Perlen-Reihe Verlag. ISBN 3-85223-095-0

See also[edit]