pass the buck (1856)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Apr 25 04:51:33 UTC 2005

>whoever wins the pot has the buck which entitles
> >him to choose the game on his next deal (and pass the buck to whoever
> >wins that pot).
>That squares with the 1937 DAE explanation that I gave upthread (the buck
>was "usually a knife or pencil tossed into the pot and held by the winner
>until his turn to deal, when he would put the buck back into the pot and
>choose his own game for that hand").  I'm still a little unclear about how
>that works-- does the winner of the hand immediately get the deal and
>choose the next game?  Or does the deal rotate around the table and the
>game stays the same until the deal coincides with the keeper of the buck,
>at which point the buck goes in the pot again and a new game is called?

The latter, as I understand the book, and in the style described the
buck-holder only gets to name the game for his single deal, so most hands
are of a pre-chosen default game and not dealer's choice. But I'm sure many
other schemes have been employed too.

>I'm still curious how the figurative sense emerged.

Me too.

-- Doug Wilson

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