In doing research for my book I’ve had to learn some things I’ve never had an interest in. One of those things is gambling.
Did you know that poker wasn’t the biggest game of the North American West in the 1800s? We’ve seen countless westerns with saloons full of poker players. But it wasn’t poker that was popular. Instead, it was a super easy game called Faro, also called “Bucking the Tiger.” Some of the great players include Soapy Smith, Doc Holliday, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, and Wyatt Earp.
The Bengal Tiger was a symbol for the game. All a proprietor had to do was hang a picture of a Bengal Tiger in his window to let people know a game was up.
Faro was more popular than poker because it was faster and easier to learn. On the steamboats, it was Faro that was played the most because those running the game could make a lot more money in a shorter amount of time. (And most of the time, the game runners were cheaters.)
Websites on Faro/Bucking the Tiger:
Here’s a video that teaches how to play the game:
I think Faro would make a great board game for fun and I wish they’d make one. Maybe I’ll have to do that myself. I’m not much for games but I work with a lot of young folks who love them.
What’s your favorite card game?