What is a ‘Woppitzer’?
‘Woppitzer’ is a slang term found in poker. It describes a non-player who is having a negative impact on the game because of their behaviour or their imposing presence. Another word for a ‘woppitzer’ is a ‘kibitzer’, although the term kibitzer is usually neutral while the term woppitzer is strictly negative and derogatory.
In public card rooms and casinos, spectators are often permitted to watch poker games from behind what is known as the ‘rail’. This is usually a physical rail, designed to prevent any interaction between spectators and players which could facilitate cheating. In smaller card rooms, the rail is close to the tables and players can see all the action. Depending on the size of the premises and how busy it is, there might be security staff or watching patrons might be unsupervised.
Players who spend a lot of time at the rail are often known as ‘railbirds’, and sometimes as ‘kibitzers’. To ‘kibitz’ means to watch the game closely. However, not all players will quietly watch the action unfold. If poker players refer to one of these railbirds as a ‘woppitzer’, they mean that the spectator was a particularly unpleasant one. Woppitzers are spectators who offer unwanted, unwelcome advice to the players, behave in a generally obnoxious manner, and are generally not very nice people to have around the game.
The term is often applied to a spectator who has had too much to drink and is making their presence on the rail known. Woppitzers can ruin games by calling out the cards, and give away strategies by offering their opinion – often loudly – to players who do not need it. The term also implies a generally unpleasant person who gets into people’s personal space, who has a nasty smell or look, or who is behaving in an unacceptable way.