What is ‘Faro’?
Faro is an old card game which used to be played in many international casinos, although its popularity has now waned and it is rarely seen either online or offline. The game is played between a ‘banker’ and the ‘punters’, with players aiming to match the dealer’s cards on the table and avoid the number played from their hand. Players bet on any numbered card or on a selection of different cards, aiming to match or better the ‘winning card’, or player’s card. The final round of Faro involves betting on which three cards remain in the pile at the end of the game, and in which order they would be drawn.
Faro originated in France in the 17th century and by the 1800s it was an extremely popular form of casino card playing, with as many players as standard poker. However, over time, the low house edge and high chance of cheating have lowered its popularity in casinos and with players, and Faro is rarely seen today. It is less commonly known as ‘Pharaoh’, because the best cards in the game are the kings and queens. Faro gives good odds to the players and is a fast, lively game with lots of different betting types, so it was a very popular social game often played at high society events.
Players in Faro are betting against the dealer (known as the banker) to beat the played cards on the table. Higher cards are more likely to score, while the dealer is likely to beat a low hand. Players can bet for or against a numbered card and can reverse their bets once played. Win, lose and draw options are all possible in Faro – drawn bets are left on the table and can be retrieved or amended by the player in the next round. Faro was often rigged by casinos to increase the house advantage, as the game tends to favour the player.