poker

1
[poh-ker]
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Origin of poker

1
First recorded in 1525–35; poke1 + -er1

poker

2
[poh-ker]
noun
  1. a card game played by two or more persons, in which the players bet on the value of their hands, the winner taking the pool.

Origin of poker

2
1825–35, Americanism; perhaps orig. braggart, bluffer; compare Middle Low German poken to brag, play, Middle Dutch poken to bluff, brag
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for poker

poker

1
noun
  1. a metal rod, usually with a handle, for stirring a fire
  2. a person or thing that pokes

poker

2
noun
  1. a card game of bluff and skill in which bets are made on the hands dealt, the highest-ranking hand (containing the most valuable combinations of sequences and sets of cards) winning the pool

Word Origin for poker

C19: probably from French poque similar card game
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for poker
n.1

"the iron bar with which men stir the fire" [Johnson], 1530s, agent noun from poke (v.).

n.2

card game, 1834, American English, of unknown origin, perhaps from the first element of German Pochspiel, name of a card game similar to poker, from pochen "to brag as a bluff," literally "to knock, rap" (see poke (v.)). A popular alternative theory traces the word to French poque, also said to have been a card game resembling poker. "[B]ut without documentation these explanations are mere speculation" [Barnhart]. The earlier version of the game in English was called brag. Slang poker face (n.) "deadpan" is from 1874.

A good player is cautious or bold by turns, according to his estimate of the capacities of his adversaries, and to the impression he wants to make on them. 7. It follows that the possession of a good poker face is an advantage. No one who has any pretensions to good play will betray the value of his hand by gesture, change of countenance, or any other symptom. ["Cavendish," "Round Games at Cards," dated 1875]



To any one not very well up in these games, some parts of the book are at first sight rather puzzling. "It follows," we read in one passage, "that the possession of a good poker face" (the italics are the author's) "is an advantage." If this had been said by a Liverpool rough of his wife, the meaning would have been clear to every one. Cavendish, however, does not seem to be writing especially for Lancashire. [review of above, "Saturday Review," Dec. 26, 1874]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with poker

poker

In addition to the idiom beginning with poker

  • poker face

also see:

  • stiff as a board (poker)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.