Everyday Poker Jargon

Most non-poker players probably don’t even realize how much poker jargon they use in their everyday life.

I came across this list the other day and found it quite amusing just how widespread and popular poker jargon actually is. So many poker phrases have become a part of our culture and are used in daily conversation without being aware of their origins. So here are a few of the more common ones for you to ponder …

  • Ace in the hole – In poker, this means that you are holding the Ace, giving you an advantage but in everyday life, it means having something that will give you the upper hand in a certain situation.
  • Beats me – I love this one! I bet it never in crossed most peoples’ mind that this originally came from poker. Anyway, in poker it means a winning hand but in everyday use means something that baffles or puzzles you or that you are at a loss to explain or understand something.
  • Call one’s bluff – Whilst in poker, you ‘call a bluff’ when you call against another player who is betting as if they have strong cards but actually have weak cards, in everyday life, ‘calling the bluff’ is almost like accusing someone of being a liar.
  • Under the Gun – In poker this means being first to act in a pot pre-flop but in everyday life, it gun means being under pressure.
  • Poker face – I reckon this would be the most commonly used one.  In poker, we all know that you need to keep a face that won’t give anything away about your cards and if you can do this they say that you have a poker face (something I still aspire too lol). But in everyday life, the term applies to people who can keep a bland facial expression even when they are guilty (or excited) about something.
  • Up the ante  You up the ante in poker by betting more and making the pot bigger. In everyday life, to up the ante is to risk more so that you can reap more profits.
  • When the chips are down – In everyday life this means when the pressure is on or the situation is urgent or critical.

I wonder if poker jargon is actually more popular than the game of poker itself …

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