"dude" et al.

Mullins, Bill Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Thu Dec 9 06:10:23 UTC 2004

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Cohen, Gerald Leonard
>Sent: 12/8/2004 8:29 PM
>Subject: "dude" et al.
>3) For the card game "Faro"---Is there any explanation for why it should
>be named for Pharaoh?  If so, then the the hypothesis of an Irish
>etymology would be wholly unnecessary. On the other hand,...

The post of a week or so ago said that it came from a picture of a Pharaoh
on a playing card, but a follow up post said that no such deck is known.

S. Brent Morris, "On the Faro Shuffle, Part One," _The Linking Ring_, vol 77
no. 11 Nov 1997, p.77.

"The perfect shuffle traces its roots to an old card game Faro and is still
referred to by magicians as the Faro Shuffle.  The origins of the game of
Faro are unclear, but by 1726, _The Whole Art and Myster of Modern Gaming_
had a chapter devoted to "The Description of a Pharo-Bank, with the Expences
and Attendants." [ANONYMOUS, 1726]  According to John Scarne, Faro was the
most popular gambling-house game from shortly after the Louisiana Purchase
in 1803 until craps succeeded it in the early 1900's. [SCARNE, 1986, 267]
Out West the game was advertised with a sign showing a tiger and playing
against a Faro bank was known as "bucking the tiger."  The game evolved in
18th-century France and its name supposedly came from one of the cards of
the pack at the time bearing the picture of a pharaoh [PARLETT, 1990, 78]. "

The details of the references above are in Part Two of the article which was
in the December issue, which I have misplaced.  Morris gives credit to
magician/mathematician/MacArthur grantee ("genius award") Persi Diaconis for
running down the obscure references and discovering them.  John Scarne was a
gambler/magician who gained fame from teaching soldiers in WWII how to spot
and avoid gambling scams and cheats; see his autobiographies "The Odds
Against Me" and "The Amazing World of John Scarne".  It is Scarne's hands
that perform the fancy card flourishes and moves in the movie "The Sting" --
he subbed for both Paul Newman and for Robert Shaw.

Morris's articles are excerpts from his book _Magic Tricks, Card Shuffling,
and Dynamic Computer Memories_, which I don't own, and may provide more
leads for tracing the history of the game and the word as it applies to a

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