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 1926 silent film The Show-Off, the character Clara (played by Louise Brooks) refers to the character Aubrey Piper (played by Ford Sterling) as a four-flusher meaning he is a braggart or a person who makes false or pretentious claims. In the film, his "four-flushing" has resulted in the loss of money needed to pay for the mortgage on the Fisher family home.
In the 1945 film Detour Tom Neal's character calls another character a four-flusher. (The other character is named Charlie Haskell Jr., echoing the name of the Oklahoma governor mentioned above.)
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.
In 2014 a screenplay by the name of FourFlush was written by Harley Evseichik
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.
- 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'?". Archived from the original on January 26, 2010. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
A four-flusher originally was someone who bluffs or otherwise can’t back up his or her bragging
- "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. 1908-09-28. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- The Four-Flusher on IMDb
- 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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