The Rise and Fall of the Popularity of the Faro Card Game

Back in the days of the Wild West when saloons were in full swing and people were battled on the streets with six-guns, the Faro card game (pronounced like the Egyptian word "Pharaoh") was incredibly popular. These days, though, it can be compared to the tumbleweeds found floating through the western ghost towns as it is relatively unknown and quite difficult to find.

The History

Like many of the games that made their way into North America during the 1700s, the Faro card game originated in France and was a slight deviation from a popular British pub game known as basset, which King Louis XIV outlawed back in 1691. While banned in France, it gained popularity in other parts of Europe because it was easy to learn and gave the participants decent odds when it was played fairly. Then, sometime around the year 1717, it was brought into the Americas through the port city of New Orleans by a Scottish man known as John Law who was forced to flee England, then Scotland and finally even France due to various crimes and rejected ideals. Aside from bringing the Faro card game to the Americas, Law is also given credit for printing the first government-backed paper currency.

What Happened?

In the 1800s, Faro was so popular that it could be found in nearly every single pub, bar, tavern and saloon in the Americas - and this was especially true during the Gold Rush. At one point, even, the New York Police Gazette claimed that people spent more money gambling on this title than all of the other gambling titles combined. So, what happened? Why did it fade away just like the streets and towns of the Wild West? As bigger casinos began to open their doors, many of the versions of games that people knew were not offered because they presented a high advantage to the player. As such, things like the American roulette wheel with its higher house edge were born while other things, like the Faro card game, faded into the dust.

It can still be found in a select few establishments around the world and there are some versions of it online for people to enjoy, as well.

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