Games of the Revolutionary War Era


The game of Faro originates in the France. It was played extensively throughout England in the 18th Century. The game was a favorite of the English at that time. The game was outlawed in France.



Standard 52 card deck plus all 13 spades from another deck used for the layout


Number of Players  Any number of people can play. All bets are placed against the dealer (banker). The banker is usually selected by auction - that is, the player who agrees to put up the largest stake as the amount of his bank, becomes the banker.

The Layout  The complete spade suit is placed on a table. Players indicate their bets by placing chips on any card on the layout. (The spade suit is selected arbitrarily-all suits are equivalent; only the ranks of the cards are relevant.)

The Deal  The cards are shuffled by the dealer and cut by any player. After bets have been placed against the dealer (banker), as described below, the dealer turns up the top card of the pack and places it to his left. This card is called "soda" and has no bearing on bets. The dealer then turns up the next card and places it face up on his right. He then turns up a third card and places it on top of soda, to his left. The dealing of these three cards constitutes a turn.

Betting  The first card turned up in any turn (except soda) always loses. The second card wins. Before the turn begins, the players may place their bets on cards in the layout. Chips placed on any card are a bet that the card will win unless a copper (penny or similar disc) is put on top of the chips. In this case, the player is betting that the card will lose. Any bet is settled the next time that a card of the indicated rank is turned up. For example: A player puts a chip on the 6 of Spades in the layout. The dealer turns up two cards, neither of which is a six, so the player's bet remains on the layout, unsettled. But on the next turn, the first card turned by dealer is the 6 of hearts; this means that the six loses, and the dealer takes the player's bet. If the player had bet on the six to lose (by coppering his bet), the dealer would have paid him; or if the 6 of hearts had been the second card in that turn, instead of the first, the player would have won.

After each turn, all bets settled at that turn are paid and collected. Other bets remain on the layout or may be withdrawn, and new bets may be placed. In many regions, other types of bets are permitted.

As the deal progresses, all the cards that lose form one pile, and all cards that win form another pile.

Splits  If two cards of the same rank come up on the same turn, so that a bet on that rank both wins and loses, it is called a split, and the dealer takes half of all bets on that rank. This is the dealer's only advantage in the game.

Calling the Turn  A record of all cards turned is kept on a "casekeeper" which is similar to an abacus. Each spindle has four counters which are moved when each of the four cards of a denomination (ace through king) are played. By using a casekeeper, players always know which cards remain undealt. When only three cards remain, a player may bet on the exact order in which those cards will come up, and the dealer pays off the player's bet at 4 to 1 if he is correct. This is referred to as "calling the turn." There are six ways in which the cards may come up, so the actual odds against the player are 5 to 1. If two of the last three cards are a pair, it is called a "cat-hop," and the dealer pays only 2 to 1.