Some interesting poker
In our previous column, we discussed some interesting poker terms, and how they found their way into our everyday language, and vice versa. Here are a few more.
“Shuffle up and deal” is probably the most widely shouted phrase to open a tournament. I’m not sure how it originated. Undoubtedly it gained fame when the First Lady of Poker, Linda Johnson, announced the start of World Poker Tour (WPT) tournaments broadcast on television several years ago, and then when poker legend Doyle Brunson opened the 2011 World Series of Poker.
Today the phrase also is widely used in connection with several sporting events. You can even find it on Facebook, featuring a variety of music. In 2009, a new “Shuffle Up and Deal” television game show was announced. Not to be outdone by the non-poker world, WPT commentator and famed poker player, Mike Sexton recently authored a new book, Shuffle Up and Deal: The Ultimate No Limit Texas Hold‘Em Guide.
“Ante Up” has long been used in poker, meaning to put up your ante before the cards are dealt. Today, it is sometimes used as a challenge to another person. If someone has been delaying repaying a debt, you might look him in the eyes and say, “it’s time to ‘ante up,’ my friend.” There is even an American hip hop duo, M.O.P. (Mash Out Posse), mainly known for its song entitled “Ante Up.”
On the negative side, someone brandishing a weapon may say “Ante Up” to his victim during a robbery, meaning give up anything you have of value.
In poker a “flush” is usually a winner – not always, of course. Holding five cards of the same suit, with the Ace in the hole, gives you the “nut” flush. It beats everything except a full-house, four-of-a-kind, or a straight flush.
However, I must admit when the word, “flush,” which was introduced into our language with the Middle English word, flusshen, in 1250-1300, probably had little to do with the game of poker.
You might “flush” – become markedly red in the face – when you over-exert yourself, or are embarrassed. (“The girl flushed – blushed – when a young man whistled as she walked by.”) Or, it could well be a sign of good health.
In an altercation, one might strike his adversary “flush in the face.” For that matter, doing a repair job in your home, you might take special effort to make two adjoining surfaces “flush” with one another. It’s not uncommon for a speculator to become “flush with cash.” That could also apply to a businessman and a poker player.
What’s more, “Flush” is a song by American rock musician Brian “Head” Welch that was released as the first single from his debut album, in July 2008. You might clean a surface or unclog a pipe when you flush it with water. And, of course, you should always “flush” the toilet after using it.
“Float” is gaining popularity in our poker world, owing its origin to the decorated barges on the River Thames in England for the Lord Mayor’s Show during the Middle Ages. Soon after, parade floats were introduced when churches used pageant wagons as movable scenery for passion plays. Today, they are the focus of gala parades all over the world.
As used in the game of poker, a “float” is calling a bet with a relatively weak hand, intending to raise the bettor on a later street. It works best in high-limit or no-limit games, against a tight-aggressive player, who bets preflop, makes a continuation bet on the flop, and then checks on the turn. Your bet on the turn gets him to fold, leaving the pot for you. Yes, it’s a form of bluffing.