Had Your Chips (Origin)

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Had Your Chips"?

Meaning to run out of luck or failure is inevitable, the term had your chips has its roots in gambling in casinos. A desperate gambler would be told by the casino staff that he had had all his chips (i.e., his gambling for the night had come to an end).

A Competing Theory

The workers in a dockyard were sometimes able to take home spare pieces of timber, known as chips. Many workers would try to take too many and, as a consequence, would have this privilege revoked. They would be told they’d had all their chips.
Had Your Chips (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • After losing all their savings in a risky investment, they realized they had had their chips.
  • He was warned about the potential consequences of his actions, but he went ahead anyway and had his chips.
  • Once you've made a final decision, you can't turn back. You've had your chips and now must face the outcome.
  • They had been given multiple chances to rectify their mistakes, but now they had had their chips and were no longer welcome.

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.