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A chip and a chair

Written by Ben Blaschke

You’ve probably heard the term “a chip and a chair” used many times at the poker table. “All you need is a chip and a chair” they say, which simply refers to the fact that provided you have at least one chip in front of you, you still have your seat in the tournament and are therefore still in with a chance of winning. But do you know the story behind this famous saying?

It all stems from an American poker player by the name of Jack Straus. Early on in the 1982 World Series of Poker main event, Straus pushed all of his chips into the middle in a big hand, lost and thought he had been eliminated from the tournament. However, as he stood to head to the rail he discovered he had one $500 chip hidden under a napkin on the table.

The famous Jack Straus

The famous Jack Straus

Given that he hadn’t actually announced he was all-in, Straus was allowed to continue playing and after a wonderful run saw him make a stunning recovery, he went on to be crowned 1982 WSOP main event champion and scoop the US$520,000 first prize.

So, as you can see, there really is value to having a chip and a chair.