Boat and Royal Family: Poker Terms

Benjamin Barrett bjb5 at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Thu Feb 12 19:36:23 UTC 2004

Thanks to LH, DW and DR for their timely replies.

I play poker almost exclusively with a small number (<12) friends and have
never heard full boat, but I will cite (full) boat. I had forgotten about a
"trip" for "triplet", so I'll go back and suggest that be inserted.

I went back and asked one of my friends who also plays at commercial tables,
and he says he usually hears the royal family heard in a context such as
"I'm working on the royal family". He said he had never heard it in Las
Vegas, so perhaps this is a local regionalism (Western Washington or Puget
Sound). Having a pun, logical derivation and utility as use in poker jargon,
it seems reasonable for entry in non-regional poker use.

I will try using gas station and hotel at the next game if the opportunity
strikes. I am glad to have names for these irritating phenomena. Since I
don't hear "full" in front of boat, I wonder if these will require full as

Best regards
Benjamin Barrett

>-----Original Message-----
>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]
>On Behalf Of Laurence Horn
>me, last night:
>>>Boat is very general.  Royal family I've never heard, but then royal
>>>flushes don't come up that often (although more often in wild-card
>>>games).  Ooops, just saw Doug sent the same message (I remembered to
>>>look at my mailer this time), but I'll send this anyway just to
>>>confirm the point.  I've played in California, New England,
>>>and various places in between; (full) boat is indeed quite general.
>>>There are also various terms for the unfortunate 3-pair hand and the
>>>superfluous two-trips hand, both occurring periodically in 7-card
>Of course, the relevant brain cells had clicked off when I was
>trying to remember the last two terms, so I had to ask Barbara
>Abbott for a prod.  The 3-pair hand is a "full gas station",
>the superfluous double trips (e.g. KKK999) is a "full hotel".
>The latter is presumably based on Monopoly, although the
>difference between a house and a hotel is functionally
>relevant in that game.

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