New Article on

There’s a new article on written by Dr. Richard Lederer, Ph.D.  If that name sounds familiar to you poker players that’s because he has fathered two world champion poker players: Howard Lederer and Annie Duke.  Because of this, with tongue in cheek, I call Richard: the world’s most prolific poker champion breeder.

His article is called:

How Colorful Poker Words Came to Paint the Landscape of Everyday Conversation.

Here is an excerpt:

My Kids the Poker Players

My son Howard Lederer and daughter Annie Duke live and move and have their beings in that windowless, clockless pleasure dome known as Las Vegas. I’m pleased to report that they are the only sibling pair ever both to reach the final day of a World Series of Poker event and to have won national tournaments with capacious and impressive names, such as the Diamond Jim Brady Texas Hold’em Shootout, the Four Queens Poker Classic in High-Limit Omaha, and the Hall of Fame Classic Deuce-to-Seven Lowball Draw No-Limit. Phew.

My children’s achievements in the gaming halls inspire me to deal from a full deck of vivid words and phrases that have made the trip from the poker table into our everyday conversation and writing. The color and high-risk excitement of poker have made the language of the game one of the most pervasive metaphors in our language.

The basic elements of poker are the cards, the chips, and the play of the hand, and each has become embedded in our daily parlance. Beginning with the cards themselves, the verb to discard descends from decard, “away card,” and first meant to reject a card from one’s hand. Gradually, the meaning of discard has broadened to include rejection beyond card-playing. A cardsharp who is out to cheat you may be dealing from the bottom of the deck and giving you a fast shuffle, in which case you may get lost in the shuffle. You might call such a low-down skunk a four-flusher. Flush, a hand of five cards that are all of one suit, flows from the Latin fluxus because all the cards flow together. Four-flusher characterizes a poker player who pretends to such good fortune but in fact holds a worthless hand of four same-suit cards and one that doesn’t match.

All of these terms originated with poker and other betting card games and have undergone a process that linguists call broadening. A good example of movement from one specific argot to another is wild card berth or wild card player as used in football and tennis. In these sports, a team hopes for back-to-back victories – from a fortuitous ace-down-ace-up as the first two cards in a game of five-card stud.

Now that I’ve laid my cards on the table, let’s see what happens when the chips are down. Why do we call a gilt-edged, sure-thing stock a blue-chip stock? Because poker chips are white, red, and blue, and the blue ones are the most valuable. Why, when we compare the value and power of two things, do we often ask how one stacks up against the other, as in “How do the Red Sox stack up against the Yankees?” Here the reference is to the columns of chips piled up before the players around a poker table. These stacks of plastic betting markers also account for the expressions bottom dollar and top dollar. Betting one’s bottom dollar means wagering the entire stack, and the top dollar, or chip, is the one that sits atop the highest pile on the table. Indeed, the metaphor of poker chips is so powerful that one of the euphemisms we use for death is cashing in one’s chips.

Here’s a direct link to the rest of the article:

4 Responses to “New Article on”

  1. It is remarkable, rather valuable information

Leave a Response