Quick Fact – Tinhorn Gambler


1 comment

Chuck-a-luck cage

Today/1888

A “tinhorn gambler,” according to several dictionaries, refers to a game of chance operator who pretends to have money, ability or influence. The phrase is said to come from people who set up chuck-a-luck games with few funds and a cheap metal (versus leather) chute, called a horn — individuals whom faro dealers disparaged as being petty.

Yet, a 1908 Las Vegas Age article explains that “tin horn gambler” describes a player rather than operator, a low roller specifically, and originated in 1888 by Honorable James Orndorff who, while dealing in a gambling house on the Comstock Lode, told a patron betting small amounts, “You’re cheaper than a tin horn.”

 

Related posts

1 comment


  1. I always thought of a tinhorn gambler as a new, clueless kind of gambler.

Post a Comment