Commonly Used Poker Terms

Poker has been such a huge part of American culture, that poker terms have even permeated the English language. Poker jargon terms such as a "blue chip" and having an "ace up one's sleeve" are used by people who do not even play poker, and may in fact not even be aware that these terms have their origins in the game.

Poker is a group of card games that share particular attributes, like hand rankings, betting rules, and the fact that it is possible for someone to win the pot in a game of poker simply by bluffing their way to victory. This family of card games was first spread throughout the United States along the Mississippi river, and was brought farther out west during the California Gold Rush. It eventually spread to the rest of the world through the American military; by its acquisition of United States territories, and its participation in the many wars that have wracked the world over the past century.

The term "blue chip" is used to refer to things that are of high value. For example, this term is used to describe a good looking man or woman, as well as for exceptional basketball recruits. It is also used to refer to high priced stocks. In poker, chips are often used to represent certain amounts of money. This is particularly true for casino poker games, where real money is exchanged for chips or tokens. A blue chip is often used to represent the highest denomination to be wagered in a game. In casinos, chip colors may often vary according to the casino's own color scheme or the management's tastes, but conventionally, blue chips are the chips that represent the highest value.

When a person has an "ace up their sleeve," it means that they have some hidden or secret advantage that other opponents do not have, and that a person has kept on reserve until it is needed. While there are some poker variants that specify that the winning hand is the lower hand, most kinds of poker games maintain the higher hand as a winning hand. The ace is the highest ranking individual card in poker, and it can often be the one factor that can finally help a player create a winning hand. This is why some slightly more unscrupulous poker players can sometimes hide ace cards on their person -usually in their sleeves- to be slipped out when needed.