Four flush

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A four flush (also flush draw) is a poker hand that is one card short of being a full flush.[1] Four flushing refers to empty boasting[2] or unsuccessful bluffing,[3] and a four flusher is a person who makes empty boasts or bluffs when holding a four flush.[1][4] Four flusher can also refer to a welcher, piker, or braggart.[5] 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.[3][4][6] Optimal strategies for bluffing or folding when holding a four flush have been explored extensively in poker strategy books.[7][8][9][10][11]

In media[edit]

1919 film The Four Flusher

The first Governor of Oklahoma, Charles N. Haskell, denounced President and political opponent Theodore Roosevelt, calling him a "four flusher".[12]

Metro Pictures released a comedy titled The Four-Flusher in 1919,.[13] Several other films have used the term in their titles.

The 1922 Harold Lloyd silent film Dr. Jack the phrase "a four-flusher" is used to describe the doctor in charge of "The Sick-Little-Well-Girl" in the city.[citation needed]

In the 1948 film Homecoming starring Clark Gable, one of the characters calls Gable's character a "four flusher".

The Doobie Brothers included the song "Double Dealin' Four Flusher" in their 1975 album Stampede.[14]

The Four Flusher is the name of an American comedy written in 1925.[15]

A Popeye cartoon released in 1954 was titled "Floor Flusher",[16] as a pun on four flusher.

In the Disney film The Jungle Book (1967 film),[17] Bagheera calls Baloo a 'four-flusher' when he sees that Baloo is still alive after believing that he was dead.

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 is used by the mafia boss Johnny in the fictional film Angels with Even Filthier Souls; and in Uncle Buck, a quite drunk Pooter the Clown calls Buck a four flusher when ordered to leave the family home, which results in Buck punching the clown right in the face.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 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. 
  2. ^ 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." 
  3. ^ a b "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 
  4. ^ a b "A defense of the four-flusher". New York Times (New York Times Company). 1908-10-02. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  5. ^ Monteleone, Vincent Joseph (2003). Criminal Slang: The Vernacular of the Underground Lingo. The Lawbook Exchange. ISBN 1-58477-300-6. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  6. ^ 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]
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ Silberstang, Edwin (2005). The Winner's Guide to Casino Gambling. Henry Holt & Company. p. 376. ISBN 0-8050-7765-0. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  9. ^ Wenzel, John (2006). The Everything Texas Hold'em Book. Everything Books. p. 118. ISBN 1-59337-579-4. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  10. ^ Levinson, Horace C (2001). Chance, Luck, and Statistics. Courier Dover Publications. p. 129. ISBN 0-486-41997-5. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  11. ^ Wenzel, John (2004). The Everything Poker Strategy Book. Everything Books. ISBN 1-59337-140-3. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  12. ^ "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" 
  13. ^ The Four-Flusher at the Internet Movie Database
  14. ^ 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.' 
  15. ^ Dunn, Caesar (1925). The Four-flusher: An American Comedy in Three Acts. S. French. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  16. ^
  17. ^

External links[edit]