a horse apiece
t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Fri Dec 1 09:41:08 UTC 2000
I used to hear this phrase as one of a set of score-keeping
expressions. The sequence also included "that's a horse on me" and
"that's a horse on you".
The context that I recall was simple games played in neighborhood bars,
with the loser buying the next round of drinks. (The games often
involved dice -- up to five of them -- in a leather cup: Liar's Dice,
Poker Dice, etc.)
"A horse apiece" was appropriate to a two-player game where the eventual
winner had to take two games out of three. A score of a horse apiece
guaranteed that the next round would produce the overall winner.
Games at a horse apiece were the ones most likely to induce cash side
bets among non-players watching the game. "A horse apiece", therefore,
was far from an expression of "who cares?" It was precisely the fact
that either player could win in the very next round that made a score of
a horse apiece interesting.
Having a horse apiece is most like going into sudden-death overtime.
-- mike salovesh <salovesh at niu.edu>
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