penny-ante game, a

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penny-ante game, a

A low-level enterprise. This term comes from poker, where ante, Latin for “before,” signifies the chips placed on the table before betting begins. In a penny-ante game, a chip is worth only one cent, or a penny, the lowest possible stake. Like many other poker terms, by the mid-1800s this one was transferred to unrelated enterprises to signify “small-time” or “unimportant.” Thus, the Negro Digest (August 1946) stated, “Compared to the man Bilbo, 63-year-old John Ruskin is strictly penny ante and colorless,” and M. Maguire in Scratchproof (1976), “I’m not a penny-ante hood.”
References in periodicals archive ?
A penny-ante game is defined as a game or series of games of poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes, or mah-jongg in which the winnings of any player in a single round, hand, or game do not exceed $10 in value.
For example, [section] 849.085(3)(d) (2004) provides that no person, whether they are a participant in the game or not, may solicit other players by means of "advertisement," nor may anyone "by means of advertising in any form, advertise the time or place of any penny-ante game. (27)