Faro (Game) - Encyclopedia

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FARO (from Pharaoh, a picture of the Egyptian king appearing on a card of the old French pack), a game of cards, played with a full pack. Originally the pack was held in the dealer's left hand, but nowadays very elaborate and expensive implements are used. The dealer places the pack, after shuffling and cutting, in a dealing-box face upwards, and the cards are taken from the top of the box in couples through a slit in the side. The exposed card on top is called soda, and the last card left in the box is in hoc. The implements include counters of various colours and values, a dealing-box, a case or frame manipulated by a "case-keeper," upon which the cards already played are arranged in sight, a shuffling-board, and score-sheets for the players. Upon the table is the "lay-out," a complete suit of spades enamelled on green cloth, upon or near which to place the stakes. The dealer takes two cards from the box, placing the first one near it and the second close beside it. Each deal of two cards is called a turn, and there are twenty-five such, soda and hoc not counting. The players stake upon any card they please, or in such manner as to take in several cards, reducing the amount, but increasing the chances, of winning, as at roulette. The dealer, having waved the hand, after which no more bets may be made, deals the turn, and then proceeds to gather in the stakes won by him, and to pay those he has lost. The chances as between dealer and punters, or players, are equal, except that the banker wins half the money staked on the cards of a turn should they chance to be alike. Faro is played considerably in parts of the United States, whither it is said to have been taken from France, where it had a great vogue during the reign of Louis XIV. Owing to the dishonest methods of many gambling "clubs" the game is in disrepute.

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