My Funny/Yummy Food 4 Thought Column 19

                        The Slanguage of Poker  

Welcome to my second column about poker, which was and remains a fascinating side interest in my life.  There are all kinds of interesting things to learn and know about poker: like what beats what and who beats whom, if they think you’re cheating? Like any game, poker has its own language, call it slanguage if you will or even if you won’t.  At our regular Thursday night game—by regular I mean 25 years—we mostly followed the idiomatic and idiotic slanguage of all poker players, but added a few phrases just suited to our game, including, “We can’t eat so much junk food” and “Whose got the Oreos?” and “Howard, you ate all the Oreos!” Here are a few important terms to know so you won’t seem like a “fish” (sucker) at a game and will be perceived more like a “Whale” (big bettor of chips, like potato chips, which are close to as good as Oreos.)

“Oh, man you got burned” – this does not mean you were trying to figure out which burner on the stove was still hot by touching each one with your finger. This means you should have won, but did not.

“A bad beat” – is worse than getting burned and requires serious aloe vera.  A bad beat is having four jacks in your hand and being beaten by four queens. “Ouch,” doesn’t begin to describe this burn. It takes words like x!@x#@~`@|!xx-!  In Vegas, a bad beat can be a good thing. If you have four of a kind and are beaten by a higher four of a kind, you can win several thousand dollars. Unlike life, you can be a loser at poker and win anyway. Isn’t poker awesome?

“You got a pair of ducks” – No, you don’t have a couple of quackers who belong in the local lake. It’s just a pair of deuces”

“By me” – does not mean you are the author of something literal; you just choose to let the bet go by. 

“Too rich for my blood” – does not mean you can no longer play because you have gout  and can’t eat any more Oreos. It just means you can’t afford to see a bet.

 “Deuces, Jacks, the Man with The Axe” – this expression triggers “Danger, Will Robinson, danger!” because it means you are playing a stupid wild card game where twos and jacks are wild and so is the king with an axe in his hand (there is one, by the way). Since virtually everything in the deck is wild, if you don’t have 5 aces in your hand, fold!

In Texas Hold ‘Em, probably the most popular poker game in the world, you ought to know terms including: The “Flop,” which includes the first three common cards dealt in the middle of the table for everyone to use. The “Turn” is the fourth card, also know as “Fourth Street.”  And the “river” – not the Mississippi, or Danube—is the last of the five common cards, which will either help your hand or send you up the creek without a paddle.

                                                Slanguage Quiz

Okay, so how about a Pop Quiz? Pick the correct letter to questions asked below.  Answers don’t appear. If you can’t figure the correct answer out, you’re an idiot—and we would like to invite you to play in our game.

Button

  1. Your belly is sticking out from under your shirt; it’s gross, so tuck it in
  2. This refers to the button used to mark the dealer position
  3. A round thing that helps keep your shift closed, which may be irrelevant if you lose your shirt

 Forced Bet

  1. A mandatory bet on the first round of play
  2. Making a woman named Betty do something she hates
  3. Add something funny here yourself

 The Big Blind

  1. Means you’re playing with a tall, non-sighted person, which provides an excellent chance to cheat. Flip over your two deuces and call them a straight. Now, you’re learning!  
  2. The larger of two forced bets that occur every hand
  3. The blind over the picture window in most houses

                           Clams Casino a la Ardito  

My buddy and poker-playing pal, Gene Kocian loves these stuffed clams so I’m dedicating this recipe to him in hopes that he’ll enjoy it and deliberately lose a hand to me the next time we play poker. Ha! Good luck with that. These clams are kind of a combination of Clams Casino and Clams Oreganata because they’re stuffed and your guests will be too cause it’s a winner dish to deal out, especially as an appetizer. It’s a lock that will go straight to your guests’ hearts and that’s a sure bet.

What Youza Need

3 Tbsp olive oil

16 medium (2-inch) little neck clams

1 can whole baby clams with juice

2 ounces chopped bacon

2 green onions—whites and greens sliced nice

2 garlic cloves diced

2-3 Tbsp dried oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

3 Tbsp parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

½ cup white wine

1 package Stove Top stuffing


What Youza Do
Heat the oil over medium heat in big (2 qt) saucepan. Add bacon and sauté until crisp. Remove. Add green onions and cook until soft, then toss in garlic for 15 seconds and remove. Add the clams, white wine, salt, pepper and parsley. Cover and steam on pretty high heat until clams open. Let cool. Remove each clam, break the shells in two and keep both halves.  Also reserve pan liquid. Chop up clams and reserve.  Meanwhile, make Stove Top Stuffing according to package directions. Pre-heat oven to 450°. Put stuffing in a bowl, add salt and red pepper flakes, cooked onions and garlic, dried oregano, your chopped clams, the liquid from the pan, plus a whole can of baby clams and canned clam juice if it’s not already too juicy . Stir it up and now stuff each clam with this amazing mixture. Pile high, drizzle olive oil on top of each clam and garnish with crumbled bacon. Top with parmesan cheese if you like. Bake about 10 to 15 minutes until clams are golden brown and cooked.

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