A four flush (also flush draw) is a poker hand that is one card short of being a full flush. Four flushing refers to empty boasting or unsuccessful bluffing, and a four flusher is a person who makes empty boasts or bluffs when holding a four flush. Four flusher can also refer to a welcher, piker, or braggart. This pejorative term originated in the 19th century when bluffing poker players misrepresented that they had a flush—a poker hand with five cards all of one suit—when they only had four cards of one suit. Optimal strategies for bluffing or folding when holding a four flush have been explored extensively in poker strategy books.
In the 1948 film "Homecoming" starring Clark Gable, one of the characters calls Gable's character a "four flusher".
The Four Flusher is the name of an American comedy written in 1925.
The phrase was used frequently by screenwriter John Hughes as something of a trademark. In National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Clark refers to his boss as "four flushing" in his tirade over his corporate Christmas present; in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York it's used by the mafia boss Johnny in the fictional film Angels with Even Filthier Souls; and in Uncle Buck, Pooter the Clown calls Buck a four flusher, which results in Buck punching the clown right in the face.
- Stelzer, Irwin M. (2004-04-17). "All Hat and No Cattle". The Weekly Standard (34 (Why, despite everything, Bush should win)). Retrieved 2009-03-05. "In New York and Vegas, the phrase is "four flusher," to denote a poker player holding a worthless hand, one card shy of a powerful flush, but bluffing in the hope that opponents will mistake his smirk for strength."
- Hazael, Brooks P. (1908-10-02). ""Four-Flusher" Defined". New York Times (New York Times Company). Retrieved 2009-03-05. "But the term is usually applied to one who "bulls" his way through life with a terrific "front" and who when "called," absolutely fails to "deliver the goods.""
- "THE "FOUR FLUSHER"". New York Times (New York Times Company). 1908-09-29. Retrieved 2009-03-05. "It seems then, that a "four flusher" properly speaking, must be an unsuccessful bluffer"
- "A defense of the four-flusher". New York Times (New York Times Company). 1908-10-02. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- Monteleone, Vincent Joseph (2003). Criminal Slang: The Vernacular of the Underground Lingo. The Lawbook Exchange. ISBN 1-58477-300-6. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- Ruch, John (2002-08-22). "What is the meaning of the term 'four-flusher' or 'four-flushing'?". Retrieved 2009-03-05. "A four-flusher originally was someone who bluffs or otherwise can’t back up his or her bragging"[dead link]
- "Books Of The Times". New York Times (New York Times Company). 1981-04-04. Retrieved 2009-03-05. "From one of the book's many tables, Optimal Strategy for the Four Flusher, we learn that if you hold four cards to a flush, have called the opening bettor and have failed to make your flush, you should bluff once in every two cases that you can make a bet the size of the pot."
- Silberstang, Edwin (2005). The Winner's Guide to Casino Gambling. Henry Holt & Company. p. 376. ISBN 0-8050-7765-0. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- Wenzel, John (2006). The Everything Texas Hold'em Book. Everything Books. p. 118. ISBN 1-59337-579-4. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- Levinson, Horace C (2001). Chance, Luck, and Statistics. Courier Dover Publications. p. 129. ISBN 0-486-41997-5. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- Wenzel, John (2004). The Everything Poker Strategy Book. Everything Books. ISBN 1-59337-140-3. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- "ROOSEVELT "FOUR-FLUSHER."; Gov. Haskell Again Attacks the President". New York Times (New York Times Company). 1908-09-28. Retrieved 2009-03-05. "He [Haskell] denounced President Roosevelt as a "four-flusher""
- McLennan, Scott (2007-06-21). "The Doobie Brothers comes back around again". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved 2009-03-05. "Most recently, the band returned to the 1975 album 'Stampede' to work up a new arrangement of 'Double Dealin’ Four Flusher.'"
- Dunn, Caesar (1925). The Four-flusher: An American Comedy in Three Acts. S. French. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
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