For some time now, some of my on-line friends have advised me to provide a version of CassidySlangScam without the invective aimed at Cassidy and his supporters. In response to that advice, I am working on providing a glossary of the terms in Cassidy’s ludicrous book How The Irish Invented Slang with a short, simple and business-like explanation of why Cassidy’s version is wrong.
The river card in Texas Hold’em poker is the last card dealt in a hand. Cassidy derived this from ríofa, which means calculated, because ‘it is the card of final calculations and bets’. This is very unlikely and Cassidy only manages to dress it up in a form that looks slightly convincing by ignoring a host of terms that suggest the river is the Mississippi, where gamblers plied their trade on the steamboats.
As Lee Sandlin says in his book on the Mississippi:
the last card dealt in a hand is still called the river card, and betting on it is still “living by the river”; if you lose, it is sometimes said that you have “drowned at the river” or else simply that you have been “rivered”.