Faro Card Game

By Jim Murphy on Nov. 23, 2015

Faro is a gambling card game that originated in 17th century France. Faro is different than poker, but it was just as popular because it is fast paced, the rules are easy to follow, and the odds of winning are much higher than poker. The game accommodates any number of players, and usually takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. It is played with only a single deck of cards. Faro first originated in Europe, then after several years became popular in America also.


Faro-card-game-in-AZ-saloon-1895a1Faro was first played in France during the 18th century after a similar game basset had been outlawed. Several years later faro was also outlawed in Europe. Despite faro and basset being outlawed it was still widely played throughout Europe. Faro also became very popular in America during the time of the gold rush. After World War II faro was not as widely played, although casinos in Reno and Las Vegas continued to play faro substantially through 1985.


One person deals out an entire deck of cards to the players. Bet values are placed by the house and usually set between 50 cents and 10 dollars per person. The faro cards are placed on the table in numerical order representing the betting layout. The players then can place bets on multiple cards.

First cards are shuffled and placed into a dealing box, after which they are dealt to the players. This ensures the dealer will distribute the cards to the players fairly. The first card in the dealing box is known as a “soda.” The banker’s card is called the “losing suit.” Only 2 cards are dealt per turn. The main object of the game is to predict which cards would be drawn next.


A device known as the case-keeper may be used in order to prevent players and dealers from cheating by counting cards. In a fair game, the house had a low chance of winning so in some cases, the bankers would resort to cheating in order to ensure the house would win and make a profit. Dealers had several different methods of cheating which included stacked or rigged decks of cards, rigged dealing boxes, and sleight of hand. Players would often find ways to cheat without being detected. This included the simple move of their bet, moving with a thread, and removing the copper.

Works Cited

Faro: Favorite Gambling Game of the Frontier” HistoryNet. N.p., 12 June 2006. Web. 07 July 2016..
Faro” Rules of Card Games. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July 2016.
Wichita Faro” N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July 2016.