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There’s honor in ‘hoodwinking’

Jun 10, 2003 4:49 AM

What lies we weave when first we practice to deceive!

Yes, Carol, it’s been said that all’s fair in love and war. But is it true that all’s fair when playing poker?

I am sure you’ve heard it said at the poker table many times, "You lied to me!"

But of course, it is honorable when you are playing poker to "hoodwink" another opposing poker player. This is not lying as we know it in real life.

Now, Carol, when I first started to write this column, I told folks that I had kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland and, that, similar to James Bond (007), who had a license to kill, that I had a license to enlarge ”” or embellish ”” or use a little blarney when I was telling a story.

But I promised that at least 93 percent of everything I told folks would be the truth, and nothing but the truth.

But I am guilty when playing poker of trying to "hoodwink" another player.

Did you know, Carol, that to hoodwink was to cover a person’s eyes with a hood or blindfold, as might be done to a prisoner.

The use of the word wink is now obsolete, but it is still used as part of the term, to hoodwink.

Also, hoodwink was also one of the names for the game of blind man’s bluff.

But this 16th century term (to hoodwink) came to be used figuratively for veiling the truth.

"The public is easily hoodwinked," wrote the Irish physician Carles Lucas in 1756,

The figurative use of the term to hoodwink had been around for almost a century and a half.

And here we are now, nearly 250 years later and the meaning of the word hasn’t changed one wink, "The public knows when it is getting hoodwinked."

But a good poker player (when he is really good), can hoodwink another player without the other poker player even knowing it.

This is one the major skills of the game of poker ”” to confuse, to conceal, to hoodwink another player.

Carol, in the game of poker, to hoodwink is not lying. It is the essence of the game of poker.

So, fellow poker players, as I tell my students of the game of poker, never be ashamed of hoodwinking your opponent. You are not lying; you are hoodwinking, and this is not the same as lying in real life.

You are just playing the game of poker.

Oklahoma Johnny’s Poker Tip of the Week

I have been enjoying reading my autographed copy of Amarillo Slim’s new book. I am happy to tell you that Slim is a member in good standing of The Seniors World Championship of Poker, Poker Players Hall of Fame.

Slim’s new book is, "Amarillo Slim: In a World Full of Fat People."

I want to share with all poker players that Slim has told me that I could tell any story about him. And that Slim would give me two days to gather a crowd on the courthouse steps and that he would swear to that crowd that each and every thing that I might say would be the truth.

When you are playing poker with Amarillo Slim or Oklahoma Johnny, you may rest assured that we will do everything that we can think of to hoodwink you!

But we will never lie to you.

So, Carol, my Oklahoma Johnny poker tip of the week is: But a copy of Slim’s new book, and in his memoirs, Slim will tell you many, many ways that he and others have hoodwinked gamblers and other poker players.

Until next time, remember to stay lucky!