How did saloon owners and faro dealers split the gambling profits?

Sherry Monahan

Willow Springs, North Carolina

Faro was the most popular of all gambling games in the Old West. Generally, a faro dealer came to town with his own equipment and set up in a saloon for a fee. Betters waged against the “bank” or the dealer’s money. The dealer might also run a “house bank” in exchange for a percentage of the winnings.

Author Bob DeArment says, “Profit sharing between dealers and saloon owners was just something the two worked out between them. Dealers were often part owners of the establishments and vice versa.” Bob’s book, Knights of the Green Cloth, contains good information on gamblers and their games of chance—including faro.

Speaking of great books, we can’t forget those written by our questioner Sherry Monahan, including Taste of Tombstone and Tombstone’s Treasure.

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