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Topic: "Bucking the Tiger" terms
Message: Posted by: silverking (Apr 25, 2006 11:54AM)
I'm doing a bit of research on Faro.

Slowly, I'm discovering the terminology used in the game.

"cat hop" "soda card" etc.

Does anybody know any more dedicated Faro terms, and what they mean?
I've found plenty of information on the actual rules, but very little on what the old timers did and said while they played.

Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Apr 25, 2006 12:32PM)
"You bet!" is one of the common terms that came from Faro.

The expression was ubiquitous and poplular throughout the West in the 1870's to the 1890's.

It meant of course, "It is your bet," but came to mean "It's up to you." Nowadays the meaning has shifted to denote "Okay!" but in the 1890's it would have been used more to mean "I don't care--"I'll go along with whatever you decide" or "Your call."

"Want to go get something to eat?"

"I'm not really hungry, but you bet!"

This is an interesting subject. There are lot's of colorful expressions and sayings that come directly from Faro: "From soda to hock." "But it's the only game in town." "Capper" "Bucking the Tiger."
Message: Posted by: card cheat (Apr 25, 2006 12:58PM)
It's really a great game. From what I have read, it lost favor with many saloon owners because the house edge wasn't strong enough. Not to mention all of the cheating that occured.

Faro, anyone?

Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 25, 2006 01:38PM)
I read an old book which had a lot about cheating at faro and other stuff. Bucking the Tiger I read comes from the fact that many faro games had a painting of a tiger on the wall behind the game.
Message: Posted by: card cheat (Apr 25, 2006 01:54PM)

What's that book titled?

Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 25, 2006 02:04PM)
Good question? I read the whole book on line and might have put a link up here some time back, but I can't recall the title right now. If it comes to mind I will let you know. Sorry.
Title: Wanderings of a vagabond. An autobiography. Ed. by John Morris [pseud.]
Publication date: [1873]

It is a cool read and quite a bit about faro in it as I recall.
Message: Posted by: card cheat (Apr 26, 2006 02:16AM)

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Apr 29, 2006 07:05PM)
"Bucking the Tiger" came from a gambler with a travelling Faro layout. He had all the stuff in a case and had a picture of a Tiger on his case. I used to have all the FARO GEAR, including a seven foot long 1800s Faro Table, layouts, case keepers, gaffed and ungaffed shoes, but sold 'em all to pay the rent, as no one would play the game.

The reason Faro didn't get into today's gaming houses is because the odds were not strong enough for the house "without cheating." A friend of mine that runs five casinos told me his father had a Faro game going in Downtown Las Vegas about 20 years ago, but it didn't make any money so he folded it. He wanted it there as he loved the game... but business is business.

There is another form of Faro called "Stuss" or "Jewish Faro" -- it has different odds on the bet payoffs and was better suited for the casinos, but not by enough to pay.
Message: Posted by: silverking (Apr 29, 2006 07:19PM)
Some more I have found:

Last card to bet on in the faro box is the "hoc", if you're on it, you're "in hoc".
"Snap" = the betting board
"Wolf Trap" anybody can be the bank, and the house supplies the faro set up "anybody can set up a snap".
"Coffin Driver" = Casekeeper
"Punters" = Players
"Dead Money" = player who's got money down on the "snap" but is out of the game.

Interesting notes:
Doc Holiday, Wyatt Earp, and Bat Masterson were all Faro Dealers.

The Yukon has two small towns named "Faro" and "Keno" after the games.

Faro dissapeared at the same time as "Bunco", with Bunco leaving us only with the squad of police officers who were responsible for shutting the games down, "The Bunco Squad".

The odds in Faro are some of the most difficult to calculate in all of gambling. They change by the second.
Faro was one of the fastest gambling games ever played, more than twice as fast as craps or blackjack.

...........Does anybody know why the "soda card" was called the "soda card"?......I can't seem to find that anywhere.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 30, 2006 08:36AM)
Pick the bones out of this:

[*]Banker or Backer: The person who furnishes the money for the game.
[*]Dealer: He who deals the cards, and takes and pays the bets.
[*]Cue or Case-Keejper: The person who marks game on the cue-box.
[*]Looker-out: The dealer's assistant.
[*]Checks: Ivory tokens representing money, with which the game is played; they vary in color, size, and value.
[*]The Hock or Hockelty Card: is the last card remaining in the box after the deal has been made. When one turn remains to FARO. 6 be made, there are three cards in the box. They may be, for example, the five, six, and seven. We will suppose the last turn to be five, six, leaving the seven in the box, which would be called the hock card, because, as the game was originally played, the dealer took "hock," that is, all money which happened to be placed upon that card; the bank, therefore, had a certainty of winning that money, without the possibility of losing it; hence the term hock, which means certainty.
[*]A Deal: The dealer is said to have made a deal when he has dealt out the whole deck.
[*]A Turn: The two cards drawn from the dealer's box, one for the bank and the other for the player, which thus determines the events of the game, constitute a turn.
[*]Coppering a Bet: If a player wishes to bet that a card will lose (that is, win for the bank), he indicates his wish by placing a cent, or whatever may be provided for that purpose, upon the top of his stake. It is called "coppering," because coppers were first used to distinguish such bets.
[*]To Bar a Bet: A player having a bet upon a card, and wishing to bar it for a turn, must say to the dealer, "I bar this bet for the turn," pointing to it, in which case it can neither win nor lose.
[*]Last Call: When three cards only remain in the box, any player has the privilege of calling the order in which they will be dealt. This is termed the last call. The checks are placed so as to express the call, and, if correctly made, the bank pays four for one, and if a "cat," two for one.
[*]A Cat or Cat Harpen: When the last turn consists of two cards of the same denomination, and one card, as two tens and a king, it is called a cat.
[*]Paroli or Parlee: Suppose a player were to bet five dollars upon the ace, it wins, and the dealer pays it; if the player then allows the ten dollars to remain upon the ace, he is said to play his paroli, which means the original stake-and all its winnings.
[*]Pressing a Bet: To add to the original stake. Betting even Stakes is when the player constantly bets the same amount. Stringing a Bet is taking in one or more cards, remote from the one upon which the bet is placed. Playing a Bet Open is to bet a card will win, not to lose.
[*]Repeating and reversing: A card is said to repeat when it plays as it did upon the previous deal, and to reverse when it plays directly opposite; that is, if it won four times it is said to reverse if it loses four times.
[*]Sna2J: A temporary bank, not a regular or established game.
[*]Sleepers: A bet is said to be a sleeper when the owner has forgotten it, when it becomes public property, any one having a right to take it.
[*]A Bet or Case Card: When three cards of one denomination have been dealt, the one remaining in the box is called a bet' case) or single card. The Soda Card is the top card of the deck, when put into the dealing-box preparatory to a deal. [*]Snaking a Game: A game is said to be snaked when the dealer's cards have been stolen, and privately returned, marked, or prepared in such a manner as that when they are dealt, the snaker knows what cards will win or lose. Faro banks are often broken-in this way.
[*]Throwing off a Game: When a dealer, by a preconcerted plan, allows a player to win, he is said to throw off the game.
[*]Catching a Torn: Sometimes the dealer is so careless in shuffling his cards, that a shrewd player will know what cards have not been separated, or will have some -other advantage by which he will beat the turn; this is called "catching a turn."


The rules of faro are few and arbitrary, and are based upon principles of justice and equity. All questions or points of controversy which may arise during a deal, may at once be settled by referring to the general rules or principles of the game.

All bets are to be taken or paid as they lie upon the card, except where there is an express understanding to the contrary. The intentions of a player are not to be considered by the dealer; his bet being supposed to represent his intention. If a player wishes to bar a bet on a card, he must make the dealer understand that he bars it, when it will remain barred until he says "it goes." If a player should put a bet upon a card, and say to the dealer,'One half of this bet goes," it would be so understood until the end of the deal, unless the order was revoked.

Should a player or the dealer, by design or accident, remove or alter a bet belonging to another, he is responsible for its loss. When two players bet the same stake " single " upon different cards, one coppered and the other to win, and they both win upon the same turn, the copper bet, being the first to win, must be paid. The dealer must pay all bets for which he turns, provided they are made in checks, but only the limit of the game if in bank bills.

The dealer should take and pay correctly, and not make mistakes by design or through carelessness; nor should he alter the position of the cards dealt, but allow them to remain upon their respective piles undisturbed. When the players have broken a bank, the dealer must take and pay the largest bets first. Suppose the bank to have but one dollar left, a turn is made by which the dealer wins one dollar and loses two; he must take the dollar he wins, and pay the dollar lost; the rule is to take and pay the amount of the bank in sight.

The dealer has the right to close his game, or to quit dealing, whenever he sees proper to do so. Players have the right to count, or otherwise examine the cards of the dealer, if they suspect foul play, or if they wish to guard against it. In all cases the dealer has the right to the last shuffle and cut and where he permits a player to shuffle or cut, it is an extension of courtesy to the player, and not his right.

-Wanderings of a vagabond-
Message: Posted by: silverking (Apr 30, 2006 10:32AM)
Thanks for that Tommy, Pete, Whit......I'm going to pick up "Wanderings of a Vagabond", it sounds good.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 30, 2006 12:46PM)
Sorry, here is the link where you cand read the entire book for free:

[url=http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?type=simple&c=moa&cc=moa&sid=3d11518496d42a720ccaa04b44709bde&rgn=full+text&q1=false+shuffle&Submit=Search&cite1=&cite1restrict=title&cite2=&cite2restrict=title&firstpubl1=1800&firstpubl2=1925]Click here![/url]
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (May 2, 2006 01:00PM)
I think it is titled "Faro Explained" and was published by the Police Gazette. Lat I heard there were only two known copies, one at the Library of Congress. The other is owned by a friend of mine in Cincinatti. I think you can read or access the one at the Library of Congress.