The standard Faro game is extremely simple. It is played with one standard deck of 52 cards, which is shuffled and placed face up in a spring loaded cards dealing box. Once the players have placed their bets the dealer removes the top card from the box and discards it. The next card is therefore exposed. It is known as the “losing” card or the “banker’s” card. The house wins all bets placed on the card of this denomination. The losing card is then removed and placed to the dealer’s right. The next card that is exposed is known as the “winning” card or the “player’s card. The players who bet on the card of this denomination are paid out 1:1. Faro has a number of special bets that add interest to the game. One such bet is “coppering”. A small octagonal copper piece is placed with the bet. This reverses the bet for that particular player. If his bet is on the “losing” card he wins and if his bet is on the “winning” card he loses. The bets that are neither lost nor paid out can be left for the next round. Or they can be removed or relocated. New players can join between rounds and existing players can leave. When the players are ready and the bets are placed the “winning” card from the last round is removed and placed to the dealer’s left, thus exposing the “losing” card of the current round.
In this manner after removing the discard card and playing 24 rounds of the game, three cards are left in the deck. On the Faro table there is an abacus like card counter that keeps track of the number of cards of each denomination that have gone out of play. Hence the denominations of the last three cards are known. This leads to some interesting bets. One such bet is called “betting the turn”. If a player bets on guessing the sequence in which the last three cards will emerge and he guesses right then he is paid 5:1.
The “split” is a special bet that needs to be explained. A player can place his wager between two adjacent cards to cover both denominations. If the losing card is of either denomination, the player loses his bet. If the winning card is of either denomination, the full wager counts towards the winning card and the player is paid 1:1 for the full wager. If one card covered is a losing card and the other card covered is a winning card then the player loses half his bet.