NABOKV-L post 0023863, Tue, 2 Apr 2013 09:18:35 -0600

Re: how to play Pharoh?
This book discusses the game of faro in *The Queen of Spades*, including
the reference to *mirandole*:

The game seems to be the same as that described in the "Hoyle" I have: a
punter bets on a rank, and then the cards are dealt alternately into "win"
and "lose" piles. If the first card of that rank falls on the "win" pile,
the punter wins; if not, he loses.

The calculation of the house advantage is very simple (there isn't one
except for the last three cards), and a precocious child might be
interested in it.

The OED says the stress is on the first syllable, which is pronounced like
"fair" (that is, not like the first syllable of "farrier", to my surprise).

Jerry Friedman pronounces "fair" and the first syllable of "farrier" the
same anyway.

On Mon, Apr 1, 2013 at 2:11 PM, Carolyn Kunin <> wrote:

> The day before I had seen *The Queen of Spades*, a 1949 British film
> based on Alexander Pushkin’s 1833 short story. It concerned a Russian
> officer who, in his desperation to win at cards, murdered an elderly
> Russian countess while trying to learn her secret method of picking cards
> in the game of faro. He seemed uninterested in having me recount the plot,
> which he must have known well, but his head shot up when I said in
> conclusion that it reminded me of *Dead Souls*. Vera also turned around
> and stared directly at me. Peering intently at me, he asked, “Why do you
> think that?”
> This quote is from the same article as the tale of the train station from
> *Anna Karenina.*
> As it happens, I was recounting the story of *Pikovaya Dama *at our seder
> last week and one little boy was particularly fascinated (precocious chess
> player, beats everyone who takes him on) and wished to know how the game
> was played. I came up with a possibility, a variant of the children's game
> 'war', but had to admit I didn't really know. How can you win with a *tuz
> *after all? (that's a deuce).
> By googling I got a variety of explanations. The clearest, done by some
> Civil War re-enactors, was clearly *not* the game described in* P.D*.
> Does anyone know how faro was played in Pushkin's time? It is interesting
> that although I could not recall the name of the game at the seder table, I
> kept imagining a pyramid. Well, I put that down to the fact that we were of
> course talking a lot about Egypt. However, it does turn out that faro was
> derived from* pharaon,* the original name given to the original game as
> played at the court of Louis XIV at Versailles.
> Carolyn
> p.s. Is faro pronounced with end stress? which you would expect.
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