Poker

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For your poker A-level, translate the following into English:

"I got pocket rockets, it's capped before the flop, comes down ace-four- nine, rainbow. I bet my set, an eight comes on the turn, bet again, everyone drops bar this tourist, who's calling me down. The river brings a five, I bet, he pops it, 'n I have to call cos I'm potstuck. Would you believe he shows me Union-Oil off-suit? He came in on a double belly-buster. I'm really on tilt."

Poker, as this sample attests, has its own language - and very colourful it is, too. I took this example from Poker Talk, a complete guide to the vocabulary of poker, compiled by Michael Wiesenberg. The word "ace" has passed into popular usage (especially at tennis) as have "raise" and "fold" and, of course, "bluff". You can see this in headlines almost every day - "Major's bluff called on party unity," for example. While some terms are constant, the language of poker is always changing as the game itself evolves, with new twists or variations.

I was sorry to see that so many entries in Poker Talk refer to cheating. For instance, "juice", "cooler", "crimp", "one-twoing", "rounding", "telegraph". There is another definition of juice, current in Vegas, which is influence. This valuable term probably derives from the bad old days when some kind of electro-mechanical current was used to fix the wheel.

Here's the translation of the paragraph we gave at the beginning:

"I get dealt aces in the hole at Texas Hold 'em, the maximum number of raises was taken (limit-raise game) before the first three cards were dealt face-up, which were A-4-9, off-suit. I bet my three of a kind, and an 8 came on the fourth up-card. I bet again and everyone folded except for one out-of-towner, who matched my bet. The last up-card was a five. I bet my hand, he raised, and I had to see him because I had put too much money in the pot to fold. He showed 7-6 off-suit [the term is named after the American oil company]. The only chance he had was to fill a straight with two holes in it. Now I'm betting wildly on every hand to get my money back."

Poker Talk is available from Card Player, 3140 S Polaris Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89102, price $18.95.

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