Bargaining Chip (1960, 1964)

Page Stephens hpst at EARTHLINK.NET
Wed Apr 14 14:39:38 UTC 2004

As a person who wasted ? -- I used to make money from it so I can't
complain -- all too much of his teenage years playing poker my guess would
be that it might refer to a bet which was placed on a bluff in order to
force another player out of the game.

Having said this I do not remember ever having heard it used in this

My guess is that it only has a peripheral reference to poker if any at all
and certainly does not refer to the ante over which the player has no
control over the outcome and thus is in no position to bargain.

The word chip may well belong to poker but it could as easily refer to any
other game of chance in which chips substitute for money, ie. craps,
roulette, etc.

The phrase "up the ante" which does refer to poker might have transferred to
"bargaining chip" but this is a stretch.

"Up the ante" refers to upping the stakes in a poker game a strategy used by
those who intentionally lose early in a game -- mea culpa --in order to skin
the suckers once they have become convinced that they are better at the game
than you are.

By transference it also refers to any game such as pool, billiards, snooker,
etc. in which a person is able to intentionally lose until the stakes get
high enough. Then you go in for the kill.

Page "I don't play off the wall with nobody but friends" Stephens

Playing off the wall BTW refers to playing pool with someone with a pool cue
which is provided you by the pool hall which are racked along the walls of
the pool room as opposed to a custom made cue which you never bring into a
pool room until you have the sucker hooked.

A question: I have always assumed that this is the origen of the phrase "off
the wall" as in terms of the sentence, "He is off the wall." but I have no
evidence for it.

I would appreciate any information anyone can give me for this.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen Goranson" <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2004 3:56 AM
Subject: Re: Bargaining Chip (1960, 1964)

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Bargaining Chip (1960, 1964)
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Just a guess, but maybe "bargaining chips" originally referred to the ante
> chips, getting a place at the bargaining table, and maybe to upping the
> the price of entry. Maybe more context from the Oshkosh 1964 quote would
> worth posting.
> Stephen Goranson
> Quoting Bapopik at AOL.COM:
> >[....]
> > For years I have been posing a question about "bargaining chip" that no
> > one has yet answered.  This is widely assumed to be a poker metaphor,
> > I do not know of chips being used for bargaining in poker or any other
> > game.  What exactly is the metaphor?
> >[....]
> > Oshkosh Daily Northwestern - 12/2/1964
> > ...the_United States 'to stay." With this BARGAINING CHIP, Washington
> > managed
> > to..
> > Oshkosh, Wisconsin Wednesday, December 02, 1964  732 k

More information about the Ads-l mailing list