[Ads-l] help - origin of Poker terms

Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Wed Nov 9 19:20:18 UTC 2022

On Wed, Nov 09, 2022 at 04:07:03PM +0000, Pete Morris wrote:
> I am a keen poker player.  I'm curious about a number of
> poker terms whose origin is obscure.
> But perhaps  nobody ever asked the wizards of ADS.
> What is the earliest known cite for the following terms?
> Can anyone here find  antedatings?  Or early cites that suggest
> an origin?
> The Flop - the first three community cards in Hold'em or Omaha
> The Turn - the fourth community card
> The River - the fifth community card

OED has entries for all three of these, with first cites of 1973 for "flop", 1971 for "turn", and 1978 for "river" (with a 1949 example of "down the river" referring to the last card in seven-card stud).

> The preceding three  have been  discussed at length in poker circles.
> There are speculations,  but nothing definite known.  I'm also curious
> about the following.  It's possible they have definite known origins,  but
> I don't know them.
> The nuts - an unbeatable poker hand

OED has an entry for _the nuts_ 'an excellent or first-rate person or thing; (_Cards_) an unbeatable hand', though there are no citations for this nuance (which is a problem). There's also a 1973 for _nut flush_.

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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