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View Full Version : "Four flushing" -- opinions and facts?


Trunk
04-19-2007, 01:36 PM
While watching "Uncle Buck" the other day, I got to wondering whether four-flusher was a pejorative for a large person who might need to flush multiple times, or a kind of slam based on behavior at a poker table.

Wiki is of little use here, with someone just spouting their opinion without basis that FFer refers to a deceitful bluffer. But, that doesn't really work in the Uncle Buck context. The drunken clown has no reason to think that Buck is deceitful.

I found the term "four flushing" in ONE New York Times archive article. The article was from 1988, but referenced a quote from 1917. (Mr. Sunday was a "televangelist" of sorts.)


Mr. Sunday demanded that his expense money be raised in advance of his crusade for souls. In 1917, calling himself ''a rube of the rubes'' and preaching against ''four-flushing, charlotte-russe Christians,'' he won nearly 100,000 converts in New York. Mr. Sunday liked to boast that his hellfire and brimstone had cut the cost of making converts to only $2 per soul.

Apparently, charlotte-russe is some kind of French dessert and it sounds like the whole quote was to portray himself as a common man, separate from hypocritical, high-society Xians. But, I don't really see "four flushing" working in this context if it connotes "deceitful".

So, opinion-wise, what do you take "four flushing" to mean?

Anyone got any good cites for the origins of the quote?

yabob
04-19-2007, 01:41 PM
An origin from someone who attempts to bluff in a poker game with a four card flush certainly makes logical sense as the origin.

The Maven's Word of the Day agrees:

http://randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19960718

Q.E.D.
04-19-2007, 01:41 PM
Four-flusher (http://archives.stupidquestion.net/sq91902fourflusher.html):
A four-flusher originally was someone who bluffs or otherwise can’t back up his or her bragging. By extension, it has also come to mean a fake, phony or fraud.

The term comes from the game of poker, in which “four-flush” is an oxymoron.

A flush is five cards of the same suit; of the 10 basic hands you can be dealt in poker, it’s the fifth most valuable. If the cards in the flush are in numerical order (say, 2 through 6 of hearts), it’s a straight flush—the second-most valuable hand in the game. A straight flush made up of the five highest-face-value cards (ace, king, queen, jack and 10) is a royal flush, the most valuable hand in the game.

By comparison, a hand containing four cards of the same suit, and the fifth card of a different suit, with no pairs or other arrangements, is nearly valueless. A simple pair beats it.

Specifically, a four-flusher is someone who pretends to have a flush when he’s really one card short. More generally, it’s someone who’s good at bluffing while holding a worthless hand.

silenus
04-19-2007, 01:41 PM
Never mind.

Sal Ammoniac
04-19-2007, 01:44 PM
"Four-flushing" is trying to pass off as a flush in poker five cards of dissimilar suit. Suppose you have four clubs and one spade. By artfully spreading out the cards, you reveal only a tiny bit of the spade, such that it looks like a club. So a "four-flusher" originally referred to someone who cheats at cards, and was later expanded to mean a dishonest person generally.

On preview -- silenus beat me to it. Never mind.

Trunk
04-19-2007, 01:50 PM
Ah.

I guess I was missing the bit about being dishonest in the card game. Certainly, holding 4 to a flush and bluffing isn't dishonest, and that's why I was confused.

However, trying to pass it off as a full flush is a form of angle-shooting, and is improper.

It didn't help that the guy called John Candy a four-flusher having just met him. It would lend more credence to the toilet theory than the card theory.

Thanks.

Polycarp
04-19-2007, 02:05 PM
There is also a variant set of house rules played by a very few people in which a four-card flush beats certain low hands (IIRC, it beats one and two pair but loses to three of a kind). The version I had heard, but with no cite to document it, is that a "four-flusher" is someone who tries to change the rules retroactively, like a player with a busted flush of only four cards who suddenly "remembers" that they are playing by the house rules that allow four-flushes.

Scuba_Ben
04-19-2007, 02:10 PM
There is also a variant set of house rules played by a very few people in which a four-card flush beats certain low hands (IIRC, it beats one and two pair but loses to three of a kind). The version I had heard, but with no cite to document it, is that a "four-flusher" is someone who tries to change the rules retroactively, like a player with a busted flush of only four cards who suddenly "remembers" that they are playing by the house rules that allow four-flushes.That probably ranks up there with skip straights (KJ975, for example) and round-the-corner straights (32AKQ). I remember seeing such hands listed in Hoyle as highly optional, and allowed by advance agreement only. (Otherwise the Smith & Wesson rule may kick in.)

WhyNot
04-19-2007, 02:10 PM
Huh. The only time I've heard the term is at a particular campground in New York. Most of the toilet facilities are porta-johns, but "The four-flusher" is a rickety building with four flushing toilets in it. I never knew it was a play on words!

Duke of Rat
04-19-2007, 02:12 PM
I've always thought of it as someone who would pass off 4 of a suit and another card of the same color as a flush, hoping to not be caught/called on it and being able to claim it as an honest mistake if caught. A cheat.

Snowcarpet
04-19-2007, 02:28 PM
Huh. The only time I've heard the term is at a particular campground in New York. Most of the toilet facilities are porta-johns, but "The four-flusher" is a rickety building with four flushing toilets in it. I never knew it was a play on words!

Right were I was going with this too ;)

To take a proper, uhm, constitutional, one must walk "up top" or to the four-flushers.

WhyNot
04-19-2007, 02:34 PM
Right were I was going with this too ;)

To take a proper, uhm, constitutional, one must walk "up top" or to the four-flushers.
Umm...see you at The Four-Flushers in July, will I? ;) (Seriously, we camp in the Fairy Woods if you want to do a mini-Dopefest at Phil's!)

Number
04-19-2007, 08:47 PM
That probably ranks up there with skip straights (KJ975, for example) and round-the-corner straights (32AKQ). I remember seeing such hands listed in Hoyle as highly optional, and allowed by advance agreement only. (Otherwise the Smith & Wesson rule may kick in.)There is a five card stud variant called Sousem (or Sowsum) in which four-card straights and four-card flushes beat one pair. I believe it used to be popular in parts of Canada.

Adoptamom_II
04-19-2007, 08:47 PM
I can factually say (since this is GQ) that a four flusher in our household occurs when AdoptaSon visits the bathroom. He is the concrete turd king and four flushes are the minimum required.

Edited to add: Please don't ask me for a cite. :D

David Simmons
04-19-2007, 10:53 PM
Yes, "four flusher" originated in poker. However it is applied broadly to anyone who makes false claims, pretends to be something he is not, and cons his way through life with big talk and nothing to back it up.

Snowcarpet
04-20-2007, 08:51 AM
Umm...see you at The Four-Flushers in July, will I? ;) (Seriously, we camp in the Fairy Woods if you want to do a mini-Dopefest at Phil's!)

:)
Depends on when you get there, but that sounds like a wonderful idea! I think I'll be in the Silver Woods this year... We tend to go to that earlier week and skip the second week, but I may be there for the full insanity.
mmm, Phil's!

Now back to your regularly scheduled, unhijacked thread!

Napier
04-20-2007, 10:09 AM
FWIW the usage I've heard in poker games over the years is "a four flush" meaning a hand with exactly four cards of the same suit, for example "I drew to a four flush but didn't make it" meaning "in a game of five card draw, at the time of the draw, I exchanged one card to try to complete a flush but failed". I don't remember ever hearing "four card flush".

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