What is Hop?
In gambling, ‘hop’ has two meanings which both relate to card games. Firstly, to ‘hop’ in a game means to draw a strong hand from a weak one – for example, by finding three cards of the same value and completing a full house in the process.
The phrase is often accompanied by the number of cards drawn to take the win, i.e. a three-card hop. To ‘hop’ a deck means to cheat at the cut through sleight of hand, returning the cut deck to its original position without being noticed by other players at the table.
If a card player says that they ‘hopped’ another or that their opponent ‘got the hop’ on them, they are referring to a draw poker game where a drawn hand made the win over theirs. To ‘hop’ to victory, a player must start with a relatively weak hand of high cards or pairs, but draw a strong hand at their turn.
Their opponent may hold a strong hand, or even one on which they stand pat, but the draw gives the player they edge and they ‘hop’ to victory. Often the number of cards drawn for the win is added to the phrase – for example, two-card hop or three-card hop.
To ‘hop’ also means to apply a sleight of hand technique to the deck when cutting the cards. After the cut is made, the dealer ‘hops’ the deck by replacing the cards in their original order – often done by ‘hopping’ the cards over each other. Successful deck hopping is done in a way that the other players cannot notice, and it allows the dealer to control a rigged deck in order to cheat. This is also sometimes heard as ‘jumping the cut’ or ‘shifting the cut’.
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