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Set of 52 French style playing cards with two jokers

Faro is a card game, a descendant of Basset. It enjoyed great popularity during the 18th century, particularly in England and France, and in the 19th Century in the United States, particularly on the American Frontier, where it was practiced by ‘faro dealers’ such as the infamous Doc Holliday. It has since fallen completely out of fashion and is only practiced by dedicated Old West enthusiasts and Civil War re-enactors. Its name is believed to be a corruption of pharaoh, and refers to the Egyptian motif that commonly adorned French-made playing cards of the period.Faro is similar to the contemporary game of Mini-Baccarat.

Literary fiction

Faro is the game played in Aleksandr Pushkin’s short story The Queen of Spades. 
Faro is also played in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov.


  • Faro is played by characters in saloons on the HBO series “Deadwood”.
  • Scenes involving the game of faro (with varying degrees of accuracy) appear in the Hollywood movies Wyatt Earp, starring Kevin Costner, and Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday.
  • In the film The Sting, it is said that the gangster (and intended “mark”) Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) only plays faro when he goes out to casinos, and then only by himself.


Howard, M. The Traditional Game of faro Barbary Coast Vigilance Committee. 08 June 2004


This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

Video: Faro Shuffle Tutorial

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