Sunday, June 12, 2005

Poker Catch Phrases

If you have spent any time at a live table, you should be more than familar with different poker catch phrases by now. "Big Slick", "American Airlines", "Two Pair.....of Aces." Most of these phrases have been around for a very long time. While there are a lot of new ones out there, I'm am surprised at the number of players who believe that "so and so" came up with that phrase. Case in point:

I played at a tournament recently when I heard a player say:
"Even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while", after flopping the nuts then showing his hand after no one called his all in bet. Now, normally, I would say something like "nice hand" or nh for you onliners, until a player whom he seemed to know chuckled, "Yeah, that's his saying he came up with when he flops the nuts".

"Really?" I say to player who chuckes. "How long ago was that?"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe a month ago. One time when we played together he said that at the table and everyone thought it was funny cause he hardly ever has the nutz."*

(*OK, this isn't exactly what he said verbatum. But it was something similar which effectively had the same meaning. )

I was amazed because this guy thought the player in question was the originator of the saying. Surely this can't be true since the first time I heard the " squirrel saying" was nearly 15 years ago at a casino in Washington State. And I was pretty sure at the time that the fellow who said it wasn't the first one to say it either.

Phrases like "American Airlines" for AA have been around a long time, but it is very probable that the phrase came into "play" sometime after 1934. After all, that's when American Airlines was incorporated. I guess while I don't know who first said "American Airlines" when referring to his hand of AA, at least it stuck and you hear it all over the country. I don't know who or when alot of the pharses that you hear came from. It's too bad too, because so many of them are good ones and the originators should take the credit due. Right?

So that my small contribution to the poker world is not forever lost, I wanted to publish a few phrases that are indeed my original ones. Who knows, maybe you have heard someone other than me say them but I can tell you honestly, I originated them.

"Hit my Shit!" I first screamed this saying when playing in a 2/5 pot limit game in 2002, where I had come over the top of someone for all of my ~$600 in chips with a rag of a hand. The flop had come 963 rainbow and I had limped into the pot with 75 suited. When the guy called me, I turned over the hand and yelled "Hit my Shit!", to which the dealer hit my double gutter and I won the pot.

"You got me." I said this in another pot limit game in which I had a drawing hand and a guy raised me on the flop after I bet. The thing is, he did have me.....until the river.

"Skillet" For those of you that don't know, a "skillet" is a pot. Well, that isn't exactly correct. A "skillet" is a BIG POT. I first coined the phrase at a 4/8/12 game in Austin in 2003 when there were so many white chips in the pot that it could fill a "skillet".

"Dollars?!?" Contrary to popular belief, I am not the first one to coin this phrase although I use it all the time. I first heard this phrase in a little 25 cent, 50 cent, 1 dollar 7 card stud game back in 1988 when punching holes in the Atlantic Ocean. We had coaxed a guy who didn't normally play with us into some cards. The very first hand the bet got to him on 5 street and it was "two to you." To which he replied, "Dollars?!?"

"Is it required?" Yes, this is mine. I had made a large bet in a 1/2 no limit game...something like 3 or 4 dollars (poker dollars) at a very scary flop. My opponent looked at me and said, "Have you looked yet?" asking me if I had viewed my hand yet, to which I replied, "Is it required?"

Even in todays global society, there are differences in phrases around the country and the world. I was recently playing in Ireland. Caoimhe's Grandparents offered to babysit one night so we went off to find some poker. We ended up at a hotel in Galwayclaire that had a €100 buyin No Limit Tournament. What was interesting was that it was "€20 buy back and €20 top off". Here in the States we would say a $20 re-buy and a $20 Add-on. They both effectively mean the same, but we were a little thrown by the terms. Trying to use the term "Dollars?!?" received, "No, Euros. They're more than dollars!". I swear I heard "Damn tourist" under his breath.

There are some sayings which don't stick and die off cause no one like them. It could also be that it's a regional thing too. In the North West, 88 is commonly called "snowmen". In the South, "Ochoes".

In Austin, K9 has and is occasionally called the "J-Ball".

I have heard it called (and think it is probably more appropriate) "German Shepard" or "Canine". The term "J-Ball" came about in Austin when a player would self-promote that his favorite hand was K9. He would always be sure to point out to people that K9 would have been the nutz for that flop or when he won with it, he made sure everyone knew. Soon people started calling the hand "J-Ball" after the player because they associated the hand with him. Brilliant.

"The Bob" If you ever hear "The Bob", it refers to 52 off. This originated for a man named Bob who played at a club in Austin and having played this hand, won a pot. Since then, the name has been affectionately named "The Bob". I am not sure who coined it, but I am sure someone can post a comment to let us know. I am rather fond of the hand myself, so I some times get asked, "you've got the bob, don't you?"

I remember a guy one time that used to play in a club in the early 90's in Bremerton, Washington. I'd go there and play Pinapple Hi/Lo 8. There was this one guy who would occassionally play there, I wish I could remember his name to give him proper credit. The games were self dealt, so we sat at a round table. Anyways, every once in a while this guy would yell out after the pot was right and preflop "Pair the Board". Mind you, this is PRE-FLOP. The flop would come and if the board came paired, everyone would be in some kind of wonderment. I'd say awe, but it wasn't anything close to that because it didn't always pair when he would ask for it to. However, he did ask for the board to come paired and he doesn't ask for it every flop, so proceed with caution. You hear the term "Pair the board" often in Omaha games when one or more people have a set. But this is usually after the flop. I am not sure that this guy was the "first guy" to say "pair the board", but I suspect he is the first one to say it pre-flop.

While I don't think it is my mission to find out who and when all of the catch phrases were coined, but it is cool to know a few of them.

Do you know the origins of any catch phrases? Let us know if you do.


April said...

Love the "is it required?"

Of course, if you're going to be a poker blogger, you're going to get real familar with "the hammer"...

mikek628 said...

Thanks, I love it too.

As for the hammer, this is a well known named hand. It wasn't my intention to list every name out there, that would be a daunting task that I'll leave to someone who has more time! But since I seem to find time to write this damned blog, here is some samples, how many do you know?
The molester also called Motown and Jackson 5
dessert for two also known as wine me and dine me
Filipino Slick
Lebanese Slick
Siegfried and Roy
Dark Force
Dolly Parton
San Francisco Bus boy
Austin Squaty
The Best Hand In Poker also known as the Shelton
King Salmon also known as Big Fish, 20 miles of railroad
Speed limit
Oregon Aces
Dime Store

April said...

Can't say I've heard of those...curious as to what the Oregon Aces and Austin Squaty are.

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