How to Play Faro, or Bucking the Tiger

Updated December 5, 2017

Grab the Tiger by the Tail

faro card game
Faro, also called ‘Bucking the Tiger’ or Grab the Tiger by the Tail, was the most popular card game played in gambling halls and saloons in the 19th century. Learning how to play faro was easy to learn and had favorable odds compared to poker. Both men and women saddled up to the card table in mining towns during the Gold Rush. The word “faro” came from the court of King Louis XIV of France, where one of the cards in a standard playing deck had the face of an Egyptian pharaoh.


Faro Game Structure

In a game of Faro, the dealer is called the banker, players placing bets are called punters, and betting chips are called checks. The betting table has a betting line where checks are placed before each hand. The betting line represents the 13 numbers in every suit, from Ace to King. Aces are low in Faro.

faro card game rules

Punters place as many bets as they like. Cards are shuffled, the Banker draws and discards the first card. The Banker draws the next card and places to the right of the betting board, this is the losing card. The Banker draws again and places the winning card on the left. Bets on winning numbers are paid 1:1, bets on losing numbers go to the banker.

Learn how to play faro while playing our Colorado Gold Rush Murder Mystery!

How to Place Bets in Faro

Flat Bet

Put a check on a number, if that number is the winning card, the bet wins. If the number is the losing number, the bet loses. If the number is not drawn, the bet stays or can be moved for the next hand.

Split Bet

Check is placed between two consecutive numbers (e.g. 6 and 7). If either number wins, the bet wins, if either number is the losing number, the bet loses.

Copper Bets

Any bet where the punter puts a copper, such as a penny, on top of any check, that bet is the opposite, meaning you are betting on the losing card rather than the winner.

High/Low Bets

A bet that the winning card will be higher than the losing card. A copper bet would bet the losing card will be higher than the winning card.

Calling the Turn

When there are only 3 cards left to deal, the banker will allow punters to bet on the order of the last 3 cards. At every turn, there are six different combinations that the cards could be drawn. This bet pays 4 to 1.
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