Faro Gambling

Faro Gambling

марта 10 2021

Faro Gambling

by Ryan O'Connell

Reasons for building your own

After endless searching the vast Internet Prairie I came to a conclusion: that there is no one providing a suitable facsimile of a faro layout at a reasonable cost. Some were $55 pieces of felt with the cards silk-screened on them, others ranged up into the $300's, and originals on eBay were out of my starving student price range. So I decided to make my own. Since I am an amateur woodworker, I do make mistakes. I also get bright ideas afterward, so read through the instructions and adjust accordingly.

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There are many benefits for building your own layout..

  • It's cheaper.
  • It's customizable. Do you want yours to fold? Which ways? Do you want it big or small?
  • You get to play with your tools and make sawdust.
  • A personal connection with your handy work
  • Bragging rights.

Getting Started

Before you start taking notes you should probably already be familiar with what a layout or a case counter is, and if not, it can be found in the How to Play section. The plans are for a typical 2-fold faro layout sized 42 inches by 20 inches.

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Materials needed:

  • A piece of wood at least 42' by 20'
  • A piece of felt at least 60' by 22'
  • Ruler or tape measure and pencil.
  • 1 box Carpet tacks, sz #10
  • 2 pair of smallish hinges and screws
  • batting material
  • paint or a spare deck of cards
  • glue

Faro Card Game

Tools to be used:

  • Table saw
  • Hammer
  • Electric Screw driver

This layout is going to fold in on itself, so that the folding edges lie flush with each other like closed double doors. In order to do this the two folding sides added together should equal the length of the larger board. So in this case 42 divided by 2 is 21 and 21 divided by 2 is 10.5. So the two smaller boards will be 10.5' x 20' and the larger one will be 21' x 20'.

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Mark out the 10.5's and make the cuts on the table saw. Use proper protection! Make sure the two small boards are even with each other and add up to the larger board.

<----This should now look like the photo to the left. That's the easy part, now things are going to get tricky.

Batter up!

The batting is used to insulate the felt from the wood since we aren't sanding anything. It would be a loss to work so much at this and have it tear. Also, it's not so hard on the hands. Batting gives the playing surface a pleasant feel and a soft surface as well as padding. How many layers of batting you wish to use is up to you. But as I found out, even 2 layers can really loft your table and make the hinges I bought a tight fit, depending on how thick of a board you have! I had to go out an buy 2 new ones!

The batting sheet should be large enough to cover the edges. What I did was that I marked out where my hinges would go and cut those areas out to have a good flush fit when I screwed the hinges in. Glue down the batting for each of the 3 individual boards. Hold the areas down where you glue because sometimes it doesn't want to stay and wait for it to dry. Hopefully you've left the areas where you wanted to put the hinges in clear of batting. Go ahead and screw those bad boys in but make sure they are even or it will look funny or not work.

Feel how it Felt

Only cavemen tack down the felt straight. It looks bad and it would be easier to rip out if it snags on something. The intended playing field will be closest to the felt so put down the felt on a flat smooth surface so that the felt is on the bottom and the board is on the top. Curl the excess fabric over the edges onto the bottom of the board which is facing up now. Neatly fold the fabric so that it curls under. Tack down with the carpet tacks. The hinges can be done a number of ways. I chose to cut out the cloth completely so that the hinges are exposed on the sides. Go around the outside placing tacks in a line. Even better, if you are clever enough to place the tacks under the fabric in the curl you get extra points. I'm not so clever. But there's always a second try some day down the line. Do this for all 3 boards and it looks like the above left photo when it's all put together. I added a decorative clasp to give the table some class.

The Last Steps

Now you should have a green folding table like object. It has a playable surface but nothing on it to play with. Let's fix that. You have two options. Paint or glue. Both have good and bad points.

  • Painting card Pros: Can look really good if you know what you are doing. Permanent touch up maintenance now and then.
  • Painting card Cons: Might be hard to do on a felt surface, accidents could be permanent, exact placement necessary.
  • Gluing cards Pros: Easy to do, requires no artistic ability.
  • Gluing cards Cons: Might want to put a protective sealer on the cards before gluing and that may be hazardous to your cards, possible warping later on, require the sacrifice of a deck, exact placement necessary.

I chose to glue my cards, because I have no artistic ability. I chose to use a satin sealer on my cards to help protect them from whatever comes up and after testing it on some sacrificed cards a thin layer looked the best. As I found out much later, Many faro layouts had their cards shellacked on. The exact placement of the cards is crucial. I would heartily suggest old style cards without indices (the little numbers in the corners that tell you what the cards value is) and as thick as you can get them. You can pick up such a pack from Parnell Cards. I chose to have the cards be separated by 3' so that two 1.5' checks can be placed between the cards in betting. If you were sitting at the table as the dealer the cards should be facing you! Note how all the cards are arranged below..

This is the dealer's side of the board

Faro card game

This is the punter's side of the board. Image from Here.

Ace is below the King, 7 splits the difference on the end. It seems that Spades were used most often, but I have seen it done with Clubs. If you have 13 cards that are 3.5' by 2.5' and you want 3' gaps between all of them you end up with a necessary playing field of 41.5' x 16'. Why is this model 42' by 20'? So that you have the option to put a 'High Card ' bar on the top (that faces the punters). When you are putting down your cards I suggest you tape them so that they stay. The end result should look like this:

You can add little things to make it your own. You can paint a picture on the blank wood panels on the back of the table. You can add a High card option with closely matched colored paper glued to another sacrificed card, you could add a cool latch like I did. Or you can take a break. You deserve it.

New Updated Photos for Fine Tuning Your Table!!

In Summer of 2010, I visited Tombstone, AZ in search of Faro stuff. I was pointed to the Historic Bird Cage Theater where they had a Faro table on display. I paid up to take a look and a got a few good photos on the fine tuning of the faro board itself, so here they are.

The first photo is the table I made images of as a whole. The second photo shows the detail of the cards such as that they were directly shellacked to the table, it isn't aesthetic but it was easy and accurate to do. The third photo is the most important, in my opinion, gives clues as to how to place the hinges under the felt. I hope this helps you in the creation of your own board.


Case counters are about as rare as good and cheap faro layouts. So I decided that while I was making my layout, I'd make a case counter as well. My inspiration for my design was from the numerous accounts of the case counter being an abacus-like instrument. In my search for one on the internet, I asked Evil Swede about where he got his and by happenstance; he ended up selling me his first one he made, which was made out of an abacus. So I thought that if I bought two abacii (plural for abacus) and then hinged them together I would have a case counter. I was in over my head. If you want to try it, here's how I did it.

Faro Card Game Free

  • 2 abacii
  • hammer
  • screwdriver/razor
  • drill press
  • beads
  • scrap wood
  • paint
  • masking tape
  • specialty hinges with screws
  • glue

Getting Started

Faro Table Gambling

I got the abacii from for a decent price. The beads are held in with some bamboo by virtue of the drilled holes. So if I removed the front piece, they would slide out. So using a screw driver and a razor I pried up the cheap tin clasps very carefully so that it wouldn't rip. Then I used them to wiggle the dovetail wood pieces apart. Fortunately none of this was all glued. Once I removed that piece the bamboo shoots and beads fell out. You might want to paint the beads an alternating color like red and black white. Or whatever you want.
Obstacles to Overcome
Now I had a problem. See, an abacus has 13 rows of beads, which is fine for the above styled case counter, but it's going to be a problem for a side of 7 and a side of 6 because you have extra holes and it will look funny if you return the beams with beads to their original holes. Trust me. So this meant I had to drill new holes to make them evenly spaced out. This proved hard on the drill press because the wood sides were sticking in the way.I'm sorry I don't have the photos of the stages at which I went through, they would really help at this point. You want Ace through 6 on the bottom with a gap on the right side and King through 7 on the top. The gap on the bottom right side was a maker mark. Since this is a handmade item, make your own design. Since there was a suitable little gap where the top parts of the abacus was, I measured the gap and cut a scrap piece of wood to fit snugly into that gap and I glued them in. Then I fitted the bamboo beams by cutting them shorter. The real problem was sizing the bamboo beams to fit into the new holes on either side! I ended up using a lot of wood glue. So when you have the bamboo beams in (with the beads on them!) glued into place as above making sure you replace the part you took out and return the brass fitting in with their tacks.

Paint job

Using the masking tape I covered the black areas and brass fittings around the scrap would panel to prepare it for paint. I mixed two colors to a satisfying blend: 'Old Parchment' and 'Antique White' hobby paints and painted the panels. After drying I took straight black ink and inked in the card dividers.At this point I was at the end of my abilities. I can maybe paint a spade, but to do all of them including a detailed Jack, Queen, and King, I needed help. So I turned to a friend to do the job. Maithu, Steve!

The Last Step

The last step I took care of while my case counter was sitting on Steve's desk, getting the right type of hinges. Every Case counter I've seen has very narrow hinges that are placed along the thin side of the case counter. But hardly a hinge exists! I searched for a very long time until I found something that was similar, it was as thin as it needed to be and long as it needed to be, called a quadrant hinge in the small box hardware section, but it was $22 for a pair! It also had a small bar that kept it from extending more than 90 degrees, which was easily clipped with metal shears. So I bit the bullet and bought them and installed them once the base counter became available. The hinges are seen in the picture to the right.

Personally, the abacus thing worked alright but I think I would have had an easier time if I had built my own from scratch. The real benefit is that I didn't have to cut and measure wood as much.

Faro Gambling

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