9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[poh-ker] /ˈpoʊ kər/
a person or thing that pokes.
a metal rod for poking or stirring a fire.
Origin of poker1
1525-35; poke1 + -er1


[poh-ker] /ˈpoʊ kər/
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.
1825-35, Americanism; perhaps orig. braggart, bluffer; compare Middle Low German poken to brag, play, Middle Dutch poken to bluff, brag Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for poker
  • One day, at their weekly poker game, they all discovered that they had a problem in common: rats.
  • The findings suggest that an all-night stint at the blackjack table or logged into an online poker game can be an extra gamble.
  • Every once in a while a story comes along that seems as likely as cats and dogs playing poker.
  • Sailing, he'd invite my friends and me to stay up half the night playing poker in an invariably smoke-filled cabin.
  • Whole wheat chapatis and poker chips slid off the tables.
  • Contributors tap in about a thousand new entries every month, on topics ranging from comets to poker.
  • In the booming world of online poker, anyone can win.
  • Online poker games and television poker championships have exploded in popularity.
  • He said later that he played poker and many other games there, but no bridge.
  • It shows two poker players sitting at a table, clutching playing cards and swapping chips.
British Dictionary definitions for poker


a metal rod, usually with a handle, for stirring a fire
a person or thing that pokes


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
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
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Word Origin and History for poker

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

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
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Idioms and Phrases with poker


In addition to the idiom beginning with poker also see: stiff as a board (poker)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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