Tag Archives: poker

Cassidese Glossary – Poker (Bogeyman)

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.

According to the late Daniel Cassidy in his etymological hoax How The Irish Invented Slang, the 19th century American term for a bogeymen, poker is from the Irish word púca, meaning a kind of spirit. It is not clear where poker came from or what its relationship was with words like the English dialect puck. In folklore there is a supernatural character called Tom Poker, who is found in dark cupboards. A spooky old house could be referred to as pokerish in 19th century English. Whatever the facts are, púca is not originally an Irish word and probably derives from the same (Norse) word as words like puck. Poker is possibly also derived from the same source but it is hard to say.

Cassidese Glossary – Poker

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.

Daniel Cassidy, in his etymological hoax, How The Irish Invented Slang claimed that the word poker (the card game) derives from the Irish word póca, which is a borrowing from Middle English and means ‘pocket’ or a bag used for money. Why would you call this particular game ‘pocket’? I’ll let Cassidy explain it to you:

“Poker is a short card game that is played out of your póca (pocket) and against the other gambler’s póca (pocket or purse)… In a poker game the gambler carried all his paraphernalia, a deck of cards and his bankroll, in his back póca (pocket).

The word pocket is a key term in the vocabulary of the poker (póca, pocket) game. The two “hole cards” in No Limit Texas Hold ‘em poker are called pocket cards, two pair is a pocket pair, and two aces are pocket rockets. Poker (póca, pocket) is the ideal name for the democratic card game of the American crossroad. There is no house bank. It is one open pocket against another in the poker (póca, pocket) game.”

You can smell the desperation. And Mississippi gamblers used to have pockets in their coats. And the gamblers carried their cards in their pockets. And they put money in their pockets when they won … So, that proves it! I don’t know much about gambling, but if the concept of pocket is so important to the game of poker, surely the word pocket should be mentioned many times on the Wiki article for poker? (It isn’t mentioned once!)

In reality, while the fine detail is lacking (as it so often is in etymology), there is little room for doubt about the real facts. Poker probably derives from the name of a French card game, Poque (probably through the French gamblers of New Orleans), and this in turn probably has its roots in a well-attested game called Pochspiel which is already found in Germany in the 15th century. Both these games share strong similarities with poker.

 

Poker

This is another claim in Daniel Cassidy’s ridiculous book How The Irish Invented Slang which any intelligent person should reject out of hand, purely on the basis of Cassidy’s absurd justifications. Cassidy claimed that the word poker (the card game) derives from the Irish word póca, which is a borrowing from Middle English and means ‘pocket’. Why would you call this particular game ‘pocket’? I’ll let Cassidy explain it to you:

“Poker is a short card game that is played out of your póca (pocket) and against the other gambler’s póca (pocket or purse)… In a poker game the gambler carried all his paraphernalia, a deck of cards and his bankroll, in his back póca (pocket).

The word pocket is a key term in the vocabulary of the poker (póca, pocket) game. The two “hole cards” in No Limit Texas Hold ‘em poker are called pocket cards, two pair is a pocket pair, and two aces are pocket rockets. Poker (póca, pocket) is the ideal name for the democratic card game of the American crossroad. There is no house bank. It is one open pocket against another in the poker (póca, pocket) game.”

You can smell the desperation. And Mississippi gamblers used to have pockets in their coats. And the gamblers carried their cards in their pockets. And they put money in their pockets when they won … So, that proves it! I don’t know much about gambling, but if the concept of pocket is so important to the game of poker, surely the word pocket should be mentioned many times on the Wiki article for poker? Why don’t you take a look and find out how many times it is mentioned?

In reality, while the fine detail is lacking (as it so often is in etymology), there is little room for doubt about the real facts. Poker probably derives from the name of a French card game, Poque (probably through the French gamblers of New Orleans), and this in turn probably has its roots in a well-attested game called Pochspiel which is already found in Germany in the 15th century. Both these games share strong similarities with poker.

As usual, Cassidy was gambling on the stupidity and intellectual laziness of his own supporters. For a while, he was successful but his luck is rapidly running out.