The term ‘Chip and a Chair’ refers to the idea that a poker player can still go on to win an entire poker tournament even if they are down to their last chip. We might consider it similar to the expression ‘it’s not over until it’s over’. So long as we have a least one chip left we are still in the running to potentially win the entire tournament. 

In this guide we’ll learn the following - 

Where Did The Term Chip and Chair Originate?

The expression ‘chip and chair’ is said to have originated with poker player Jack Straus in the 1982 World Series of Poker. Straus believed he had lost all of this chips but was informed he still had a single $500. This was hardly much – the blinds were already at 400/800 and there were more than 100 players remaining. Despite this Jack got his double up and went on to take down the entire tournament. 

How Likely is it to Win a Poker Tournament with One Chip Left?

It depends on the exact situation, but most players will not recover from having a single remaining chip. Even if a player doubled up several times they would still be hopelessly short-stacked. However, players routinely find themselves with less than 10bb remaining and still go on to win the entire tournament so there is a lot of truth to the poker expression ‘a chip and a chair’. 

Summary of ‘A Chip and a Chair’

Jack Strauss’ example shows us that so long as we have a chip left (and hence a chair), we are still in the running to potentially take down the entire tournament.

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