People Speaking Poker

Speaking PokerThe English language, as we all know, didn’t come from a vacuum. It can best be described as an amalgamation of borrowed words and grammar rules from Latin, Germanic languages, and some Neo-Latin languages such as Spanish, French, and Italian. English even has words that are loaned from outside of its linguistic tree. For example, the English word “boondocks” is an Anglicized version of the Filipino/Tagalog word for mountain “bundok.” The phrases “Chin chin!” (used as an expression before drinking) and “Chop chop!” (to hurry up) that are commonly used in British English are both bastardizations of Chinese phrases.

Poker and card games have long been a part of people’s culture- amazingly, most of the terms and phrases that we use today in everyday conversation came from poker parlance- and we’re not even aware of it!

To discard something is to “de card”- an old gambling terminology that means to reject a card from a hand. “Playing the hand that you’re dealt with” is a phrase that you would normally see in motivational posters and life lessons speeches, but in poker, this phrase merely means to make the most out of a bad hand that is dealt to you. If you’re a “double dealer,” it means that you’re a cheater. The phrase comes from the practice of having a dealer (who is in connivance with a cheating player) secretly deal two cards instead of one to give someone a much higher chance of forming a good hand. And what do you call someone who likes to cheat and scam people on a regular basis? A four-flusher. The term was originally used for people who like to misstate their hands, saying that they have a flush when in fact they only have four cards in the same suit and a mismatched card- essentially, a very worthless hand.

When you “put your cards on the table,” you are revealing something truthfully and honestly, pretty much like how you reveal your complete hand in poker and other card games to show that you’re not hiding any card anymore. Cashing in one’s chips is often taken as a sign that one is done with playing and wants to get his reward for all of his hard work; in another context, the phrase is also used as a fitting euphemism for death.

Anyway, on the bright side, when you have invested in blue chip stocks, you’re probably going to be rich in a few years. Taken in the context of investments, when a stock has a “blue chip” status it means that it came from a company that is established, stable, and very profitable. The term comes from the color of the chips used in poker- blue chips are usually the ones with the highest denomination. And when you feel positive about something, you “bet your bottom dollar” on it. This phrase comes from the state of being confident in your hand in poker, that you are willing to bet everything in your stack from the bottom dollar/chip upwards.


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