A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Rule #1 to working out: Never skip Monday” (5/26)
“Music picks you up from where people leave you” (5/26)
“My college graduation was in an arena, and it was hot in there, like 5,000 degrees” (5/26)
“In America, you can always find a party. In Russia, the party always finds you” (5/26)
“Some people just need a high-five. In the face. With a chair” (5/26)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from July 05, 2008
“Walking back to Houston” (Ace-King in Texas Hold’em)

"Walking back to Houston” is the Ace-King starting hand in Texas Hold’em poker. Championship player T. J. Cloutier coined the term, saying: “I can see you learned to play in Houston. Those Houston players would come to Dallas and play that ace-king, but they’d always end up against a pair of aces. That’s why we call that hand ‘Walking back to Houston.’”

The term appears to have started to receive acceptance outside of the poker world. “Walking back to Houston” means that someone has lost and is coming back home in disgrace, having lost it all—even the car.


Poker Hand Nicknames
Nicknames for Texas Hold’em Poker Hands
written by BeatTheFish.com
(...)
Unpaired Starting Hands: AK
Big Slick
Walking Back to Houston (the old-time poker players would play this hand so well that they’d leave their opponents walking back to Houston)

Poker Terms or Slang
A-K
Big Slick (originally referred to A♠K♠, but the name has become common for any Ace-King, especially suited), Anna Kournikova (looks good but rarely wins), Machine Gun (AK-47), Walking Back to Houston ("I can see you learned to play in Houston. Those Houston players would come to Dallas and play that ace-king, but they’d always end up against a pair of aces. That’s why we call that hand ‘Walking back to Houston.’” - T.J. Cloutier, quoted by Barry Greenstein)

PokerListings.com
T.J. Cloutier
Name: T.J. Cloutier
Current Residence: Richardson, Texas
Birth Date: October 13, 1939
Birth Place: Albany, Calif., United States
(...)
Amusing Anecdote by Barry Greenstein
When T.J. and I first played together, we had discussed how I had played some No-Limit Hold’em in Houston in the ‘70s whereas he had played in Dallas. I moved in on someone with ace-king. The player called with a pair of queens and I won the race.

T.J. said, “I can see you learned to play in Houston. Those Houston players would come to Dallas and play that ace-king, but they’d always end up against a pair of aces. That’s why we call that hand ‘Walking back to Houston.’”

HighBeam Research
Letters from readers.(NEWS)
From: Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
Date: September 15, 2000
Haskins, Yudof and the `U’
In the poker game “Texas Hold ‘Em,” when a player is dealt an ace and a king, he generally will raise the ante, but if he loses, the players will tell him that he’s “walking back to Houston.”

University of Minnesota President Mark Yudof, having lost the first hand to former basketball coach Clem Haskins, has now raised the ante by suing him. My guess is that when he did that, he didn’t know Ron Meshbesher is in the game. If Yudof’s not careful, he’ll be “walking back to Houston.”
- William Starr, Minneapolis. 

Amazon.com
Championship Hold’em (The Championship) (Paperback)
by Tom McEvoy (Author), T.J. Cloutier (Author)
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Cardoza; 1st Cardoza Ed edition (October 26, 2004)
(...)
REVIEWS
Championship Advice., June 17, 2005
By Bernard Chapin “Ora Et Labora!” (CHICAGO! USA)
(...)
My mind immediately scanned back to page 299 where he states that what you do with Big Slick, and how you play when the other player holds it, makes or breaks you during tournaments. Here, Cloutier shares that it is also known as “Walking Back to Houston” as it has so often broken the players who held it. I knew that folding it would have been cowardice--particular with three spots vacant at the table.

New York (NY) Times
Poker
Walking Back to Houston With Anna or Waingro
By JAMES McMANUS
Published: September 17, 2005
(...)
A-K’s dangerous appeal is connoted by its most common alias, Big Slick, which seems to suggest a large, unreliable greaser: think Elvis, Michael Madsen or Kevin Gage (Waingro) in “Heat.” Big Slick also spawned the nickname Santa Barbara, after the 1969 oil spill off the coast of that picturesque town.

Texas road gamblers like T. J. Cloutier call the hand Walking Back to Houston, since that’s what they sometimes had to do after overplaying it in high-stakes no-limit games in Dallas and Shreveport. Younger folks have taken to calling it Anna Kournikova, because it always looks great but usually doesn’t play very well. More gunhappy Slavophiles call it AK-47.

Whatever we call it, A-K is ranked by most players as the fifth- or sixth-best starting hand, just below the four or five highest pairs. Some rank A-K when suited as high as, or even slightly higher than, jacks.

Google Books
Poker Wit & Wisdom:
Quotes and Writings on America’s Favorite Card Game

by A. D. Livingston
Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot
2006
Pg. 131:
Texas Hold’em. But it can be a trap with few outs when you run into A-A. One of the old Texas Road Gang, T. J. Cloutier, called the hand “Walking Back to Houston” because so much money and so many cars were lost on it in the big games around Dallas.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (3) Comments • Saturday, July 05, 2008 • Permalink


I’d always wondered what walking back to Houston meant.  Now I know!

Posted by James  on  12/13  at  07:03 PM

Walking Back to Houston (the old-time poker players would play this hand so well that they’d leave their opponents walking back to Houston)

Posted by Fishy Poker Rooms  on  10/04  at  10:30 AM

Haha, walking back to houston is such an odd one! Not heard that one before. Going to have to start using that instead of my standard “big slick”, which is getting a bit boring! Ever wondered how to play ace king better though? rasberry

Posted by Poker  on  04/27  at  10:23 AM

Page 1 of 1 pages