Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hammers, Hilton Sisters, Dial-a-Shots, and other Postmodern Poker Vernacular

I got three emails last week asking me to clarify what a "Dial-a-Shot" was. I forwarded one to Al Cant Hang and he got a huge laugh out of it. Recently I've stumbled across several new bloggers boasting about dropping the Hammer in their home game or online during an SNG at Poker Stars. Random acts of destruction at the poker table always make me warm and fuzzy inside but it made me wonder if everyone knew they actually knew the origins of the Hammer? Where did it come from? And why is it called the Hammer?

With those thoughts festering inside the hallways of my mind over the weekend, I decided to take some time and discuss some words that have become an everyday part of poker blogger's vocabulary.

The Hammer

Definition: 7-2o
Creator/Credit: Grubby

The specific definition of the Hammer is 7-2o played out of the blinds for a preflop raise. 72s is the "Suited Hammer" although I've often referred to 72s as the "Swedish Hammer." I've often heard 8-3o referred to as the "Canadian Hammer."

The Hammer came from one of Grubby's home games back in DC before he moved to Las Vegas. One regular played 7-2o a lot and the other players decided to call that hand the Hammer because it happened to be that guy's last name.

When I first started reading poker blogs over two years ago, there were less than a dozen. Grubby's The Poker Grub was one that I read everyday because his sense of humor and excellent writing skills made him an instant favorite read of mine. I couldn't wait to read about how many SNGs in a row Grubby played before going to bed or what he ate at Wendy's that day. He also held cool contests on his blog like the Hammer Challenge. If you got 7-2o online and played it in any ring game, won it at showdown, and typed "Hammer!" into the chat, you would won the jackpot if you emailed Grubby the hand history. The progressive jackpot started at $5 and increased $5 everyday until it was hit, capping at $250. Grubby also threw in a wallet and a T-shirt to the winner. He only a few of them, and every possible poker blogger did their best to drop the Hammer during the ring games. Intrepid Card Player, Stick & Move, and The Poker Penguin each won Grubby's Hammer Challenge. The longest it went was almost 2 weeks when the Poker Penguin won $65. It was usually cracked in 3 or 4 days.

"I knew The Hammer officially made it when I saw it mentioned on Wikipedia," Grubby said in a recent interview with the NPR.

The Hammer is also a philosophy and a reminder that especially in No Limit, you do not need playable cards to win. Playing the Hammer and showing it is also a great way to mix up your playing style and getting other players on tilt in the process.

The Hammer has become a mantra for some bloggers, a part of the logo for the unofficial logo for the WPBT, and an original contribution to the world of poker. I will get wicked goosebumps the day I hear it announced during a televised poker tournament.

This past year, I decided that we set aside February 7th to celebrate St. Grubby's Day. On 2-7, all poker players pay homage to Grubby and blast the hell out of their tables with The Hammer. So now you know the origins of the Hammer.

The Hilton Sisters

Definition: Q-Q
Creator/Credit: Vince Van Patten

I'm often incorrectly given credit for coining the term the Hilton Sisters. I never invented it. I heard WPT announcer Vince Van Patten say it during an episode and since then I've been using it on my blog. I've definitely beat it to a dead horse. Much like Paris and Nicky Hilton, pocket Queens are overrated and if you are not careful, they'll totally fuck you over and you'll go home broke and heart broken. And yes, Q-Q is my favorite hand. I'm a glutton for punishment. I've won some huge hands with them over the past two years and I've also lost my fair share of pots with them too. I have a love hate relationship with Q-Q. Hell, Hiltons are better than J-J, right?

I think the hardest part abut Q-Q is that people are deathly afraid and intimidated with the hand. It's a strong hand preflop that's extremely vulnerable post flop. So why do I play the Hilton Sisters so hard and fast? You cannot slow play two chicks who spend more money on shoes in a week than you have in your entire bankroll.

Inspired by Grubby, I've held Hilton Sister Challenges before where I give away a Pauly Painting to any blogger who cracked A-A with Q-Q. It was won by 4 bloggers including my brother! I've actually seen my Pauly Painting hanging up in Bad Blood's Den in G-Vegas. Joanne said she's seen the one hanging in her brother's Rod's apartment. And although Minnesota is one of 4 US states I have never visited, my art work hangs in the house of a Professional Poker Player.

Here are some previous winners:
Hilton Sisters Challenge 1: Chris Halverson and Bad Blood
Hilton Sisters Challenge 3: Derek from Poker in the Weeds
Hilton Sisters Challenge 4: Jordan from Hurty Gurty
Hilton Sisters Challenge 6: Rod


Definition: Greenville/Greer, South Carolina
Creator/Credit: Up for Poker (CJ. Otis & G-Rob) and Bad Blood

"Where the fuck is G-Vegas?" Someone once wrote me in an email. Well it's in the heart of the Deep South, where the locals call soda pop "cokes" and BBQ is a noun, verb, adverb, and adjective. It's also the area of the country were several famous internet celebrities currently live or once lived. The first time I ever set foot in G-Vegas, I was 18 years old and whacked out after eating a fistful of mushrooms. G-Vegas is the place where I first had mayonnaise on a hamburger... and liked it. G-Vegas is where I chopped first place (with Wes Arggggggh!) in the Brad-o-Ween V Poker Tournament. And yes G-Vegas is where the annual Drunk-o-lympics takes place. I'm still in awe that Lefty ate an entire bag of cheese puffs before BigMike.


Definition: When you are about to do a shot (SoCo preferably), you call up someone (preferably in another city) and they do a shot simultaneously on the other line
Creator/Credit: AlCantHang

Way before AlCantHang embraced the 21st century and purchased a cell phone, he would use his lovely wife EvaCanHang's phone and call me up at odd hours along with other bloggers for a Dial-a-Shot. 96% of the time he was at the Boathouse with BigMike at his side hoisting a shot of the nectar of the Gods and toasting good wishes to his friends. Since the inception in 2004, Dial-a-Shots have been done in over 43 states, 4 Canadian Provinces, several countries in the European Union, the United Kingdom, Central America, Gibraltar, in strip clubs in Las Vegas, on the floor of the WSOP, and even some dude in Sri Lanka got one when a drunken AlCantHang dialed a wrong number by accident.

Dial-a-Shots are a great excuse to get Albert Finney drunk and ramble on incessantly while clogging up someone's voicemail with verbal sewage and soused banter. Only under the terms and conditions of a Dial-a-Shot can you get away with calling one of your friends a fat fuck for going to bed early, or calling up a celebrity and telling him he's a pussy for not picking up his phone, or professing your undying love to one of your lesbian friends who one day you hope will start playing for the other team.

There are other variations of Dial-a-Shots. For you alcoholics who sit at home and tinker on IM at odd hours of the night, you have IM-a-Shots. For you stoners and potheads, there's the Dial-a-Bong or Dial-a-Puff. I even got a Text-a-Shot once.

The Kournikova

Definition: K-Qo
Creator/Credit: F Train

F Train is a regular at the Blue Parrot in NYC. He was the one who first spoke of K-Qo being just like "Anna Kournikova... looks good, but never wins." F Train is a guy who's played plenty of hands online and logged a ton of hours in various NYC clubs, in LA and Las Vegas casinos, and in Atlantic City. If he says K-Qo never wins, then I believe him. Just like Anna Kournikova, K-Qo will look sweet to the eye at first glance, but in the end it's a loser and ends up face down in the muck.

Kicked in the Junk

Definition: The sick feeling you get in your testicular region several moments after a bad beat
Creator/Credit: The Poker Penguin

Back in 2003, The Poker Penguin posted everyday and he wrote some of the best philosophical posts on the web, especially his observations on Schrodinger's Cat. He was the first blogger to use "kicked in the junk" regularly in describing his losing sessions online.

So there you have it. A quick refresher course in poker terminology. I've tired to incorporate every single term in an article for Fox Sports or Poker Player Newspaper and other various organizations that I write for. The Hammer seems to be the one phrase that has a chance to go all the way to the top and I can't wait until the day comes when Vince Van Patten says, "Oh I can't believe he won a pot with The Hammer!"

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