penny ante

noun
1.
Cards. a game of poker in which the ante or basic bet is one cent.
2.
Informal. any business arrangement or transaction involving a trifling or paltry sum of money.

Origin:
1850–55, Americanism

Dictionary.com Unabridged

penny-ante

[pen-ee-an-tee]
adjective Informal.
1.
involving a trifling sum of money; small in amount: a penny-ante investment.
2.
inconsiderable; minor; small-time.

Origin:
1930–35, Americanism

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

penny-ante
"cheap, trivial," 1935, from penny + ante (q.v.), in ref. to poker played for insignificant stakes.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Believe it or not, he started on the stock market and began playing penny ante bridge on the trains commuting.
It was penny ante compared to what was really going on, it was nothing.
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