UPDATE: The winner is…Colleen C!
“Don’t bet on it.”
“Ace in the hole.”
“Put your money where your mouth is.”
I’m not a gambler. Not at all. In fact, my adult daughter took me to a casino for the first time only a few weeks ago. And while I had a fun afternoon with her, I don’t feel the need to do it again unless it’s simply to spend more time with her. I was not drawn into the flashing lights and promises of big payouts. I had more fun watching the other people. Yep, not a gambler.
But when I was working on my last book, NOT BETTING ON FOREVER, which releases today, Aug 8th, I researched betting lingo so I could add a few phrases here and there. The main characters, Melanie and Nick, grew up next door to each other in very competitive families, so when they both end up back in town, single and next door to each other again, what can they do but fall into old habits? They don’t go to a casino but find themselves competitors in the local Battle of the Businesses.
I was surprised how many common terms and phrases come from betting lingo. I mean, I guess most of them are pretty obvious when you get right down to it. But when a non-competitive, non-gambler like me uses some of these phrases in non-betting conversations…well, as someone who loves words, it made me curious about which phrases I’ve been using without having a clue where they originated. Just a few examples…
“Holding your own.” I always thought that meant you could handle yourself in a certain situation, but in betting lingo, it means breaking even — like what I did after 5 hours in the casino with my daughter.
“Sure thing.” Now to me, it’s another way to say “yes.” “Hey, can you pick up the pizza on your way home?” “Sure thing.” But in betting lingo it means…yeah, pretty obvious…something that has 100% chance of winning. Kinda the opposite of a “Long shot.”
“Down to the wire.” That’s a phrase that now means up to the very last moment, like when I’m working right up until my deadline to finish a project. Luckily, that doesn’t happen very often! But in betting terms, it comes from a time when a wire was stretched across the finish line in horse races as a way to tell which horse won when the competition was very close. Sounds kind of dangerous to me.
You might wonder which terms my characters used in NOT BETTING ON FOREVER? Just a few examples…
“What do you want to bet?” That was only a few pages into the book. They can’t help it!
“Penny ante.” It used to be a small-stakes poker game. The definition now means any dealings on a small scale. Nick and Melanie’s parents usually play for pennies, big jars of them.
“Luck of the draw.” Melanie’s team is put up against a tough competitor in one of the battles, I’m not going to tell you who won.
“You’ve got a bet.” Nick and Melanie made a side bet. Um…more than one, actually.
The examples I’ve given are just the tip of the iceberg. So, what about you? Any favorite betting phrases? Do you like to hit the casinos? Do you weigh the odds? Play your cards right? Or are the cards stacked against you? Let me know in the comments below and one lucky commenter will get a free digital copy of NOT BETTING ON FOREVER.
Not Betting on Forever
What’s the fun when you don’t bet to win?
Single mom Melanie Hayes should absolutely, completely, and totally not be attracted to her next door neighbor. Nick Campagna can be her friend, her secret crush, or just the arrogant —and unavoidably handsome—jerk next door, but nothing more. Because, even though it was a million years ago, he’s also her sister’s ex. And now, with Lakeside’s Battle of the Businesses in full swing, Nick’s also Melanie’s competition.
Their families have always been competitive, so it’s no surprise to anyone that Nick and Melanie are playing for more than just bragging rights. With a coveted piece of land on the line, Nick isn’t backing down. Maybe he can’t help noticing that the tomboy he knew as a kid has turned into a stunning redhead. Maybe he is attracted to Melanie. Ridiculously so. But as real as this feels, Nick knows this is one game he definitely can’t win.
They’ve known each other long enough that it’s definitely not love at first sight. But attraction can happen in an instant. And this is one wager where winning is nowhere near as fun as playing the game…
BRAND NEW RELEASE! Get your copy here: Not Betting on Forever
Oh, and the title phrase – “Winner, winner, chicken dinner?” It’s said that it originated from gamblers who would bet anything to win enough money to buy themselves a chicken dinner.
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