Mikes Got The Nuts: Another Observation of Bar Poker Culture

I like to play Texas Hold ‘Em about once a week or so depending on whether I am traveling or how busy work is keeping me.

There are several bar games in my neighborhood – just about every night of the week, actually. Different local sports bars will host or have a promoter host free Texas Hold ‘Em games. They are played tournament style: everyone starts with a certain amount if chips and the game goes on until everyone but one person is eliminated by losing their chips.

It’s a hobby I took up a couple of years ago and I have really enjoyed the down-to-earth “scene”, which I have blogged about before. It gives me a chance to hang out and make some friends with people who I might not otherwise encounter unless we were related or introduced through several degrees of separation.

I’ve also learned a few things along the way. And the bar poker culture is full of great stories.

Last week I finally asked One if the regular players if he would let me take a picture of his nuts.

The ones that he kept on the table, I mean.

You see, like many “professional bar poker” players, Mike always has a talisman or “lucky charm” that he brings with him to play. Two, actually. One is a triangular prism he made in wood shop when he was in high school probably thirty years ago. He uses it to hold down his pocket cards and just likes the way it feels. The other is a pair of over sized lug nuts that are held together by a red string.

mike's nuts

He explained that be didn’t start carrying those until he “got really good” at poker. You see, the word “nuts” In poker means the best possible hand of any that could possibly result from the combination of cards on the board or in anybody’s two pocket cards. For example – if the four cards on the board after the river are 9, 10, Jack and Queen of Spades, the player holding he King and Ace of Spades has the “nut” hand – the highest possible / flush / a royal flush.

So, what Mike is saying with his luck charm is that – by way of tongue-in-cheek posturing – he has the “nuts”, or best possible hand.

I liked that story. Most people usually carry around and display a token or other object that they were given wining a tournament – to show that they have proven their skill and are this a force to be reckoned with as a poker player.

I also learned a couple of new slang names for pocket poker hands at that game: a typical blue-collar, off-color slang for a combination of two cards that one is dealt at the beginning of each hand:

10-3 = “hot waitress”: “a ten with a tray”

Queen-3: “gay waiter”: “a Queen with a tray”

I said it was off-color, didn’t I? Again: just reporting the anthropological observations. Participant observation in ethnography is a definitely an art that sometimes requires a healthy dose of objectivity.

In any case, I have not yet achieved the right to carry around a good luck charm. I’ve one a few tournament style bar games and gotten to play in a couple of “finals” tournaments but have not earned my “nuts”. I have earned the friendship of a great groups of folks that I am so happy to spend several hours a week with and am grateful that they have been so open to my anthropological prodding.

Here are couple of my other  “poker” posts:


Categories: American Culture, Anthropology, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Culture, Ethnography, poker, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Post navigation

One thought on “Mikes Got The Nuts: Another Observation of Bar Poker Culture

  1. Quite the awe-inspiring story, thanks 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at


femdom/adult writings

Punk Rock Anthropology

All things punk rock: music, news, and fashion.

ish ism

Love. Explore. Advocate. Rejoice. Note.

Adventures in Living Abroad


Abigail S. Holbrook, MSW, LCSW, LLC

Counseling and Consulting in Athens, Georgia


The only authority for all things beer...

Millennials at Work

Coming of Age for the Millennial Workforce


Personal, design, inspiration, interests.


Just another site




Being a popular kid isn't easy,you have to be cautious about every move of yours because you know that all eyes are on you.Not just the eyes that look up to you but also the eyes that love to see you in pain.You might have your own list of followers but with this list there exists the "popularity starved crowd" who wants to replace you.But when reality bites these morons and they're back to square one,hurt and angry with themselves they try to make you the victim of their moment of high adrenaline,just to make you suffer because you're better.They try to clean their head by ruining your perfect life.What's more is right then you realize that none of your "friends" are what they appear to be.You're broken,depressed .You feel the need to talk to someone of your own kind,someone who won't judge you and that's when you can find me at thepopularitébug,I promise to do anything and everything to help you out of your problem!Amen.

Working Self

Creating Meaningful Work with Rebecca Fraser-Thill


Often described as a blog, an online magazine, a journal. When examined further the description changes and it becomes a project, an objective, a mission. American Male is one simple thing. It is a collection of different thoughts and experiences so come share yours and be part of the narrative.

nydwracu niþgrim, nihtbealwa mæst

signals, signals everywhere / and not a thought to think


World travel and photography

entitled millennial

"any man can handle adversity; if you want to test his character, give him power"

%d bloggers like this: