Now You Know

Why, when someone has won without question, do we say that he did it “hands down”?

To win hands down has nothing to do with placing a winning hand of
cards face down. Instead, the expression comes from the earliest days
of horseracing. If a horse had proven its superiority and was approaching
the finish line well ahead of the pack, the jockey would release the
reins, giving the animal free reign to the finish. He therefore would win
the race “hands down.”

Why is a lottery winning called a “jackpot”?

A jackpot is any large amount of money won through gambling. The
word comes from a game of draw poker in which only a player dealt a
pair of jacks or better can open. Several hands are usually dealt before
this happens, and with each deal the players must add to the ante,
which can grow to a considerable amount of money — the “jack” pot.
When two jacks are finally dealt and a player opens the betting, the
winner will take the jackpot.

Where did the expression “according to Hoyle” come from?

An Englishman named Edmond Hoyle wrote a rulebook for the card
game whist, the ancestor of bridge, in 1742. Hoyle’s rules were used to settle
arguments during that one game until Robert Foster published Foster’s
Hoyle in 1897, which included the rules for many other card games. Since
then, “according to Hoyle” has meant according to the rules of any game,
including those played in business and personal relationships.

Why, when someone losing begins to win, do we say he’s “turned the tables”?

The phrase “to turn the tables” is a chess term dating from 1634 that
describes a sudden recovery by a losing player. The switch in position
of each side’s pieces makes it look as though the losing player had physically
turned the table on his opponent to take over the winning side
of the board.
Incidentally, it’s impossible to successively double the number of coins
on each square of a chessboard. By the time you’ve finished you would
need 18 quintillion coins, more than all that have ever been minted.

Why is a non-relevant statement during a debate or argument said to be “beside the point”?

The expression “beside the point” is from ancient archery and literally
means your shot is wide of the target. Its figurative meaning, that your
argument is irrelevant, entered the language about 1352, as did “You’ve
missed the mark.” Both suggest that regardless of your intentions, your
invalid statement is outside the subject under discussion.

From The Book Titled "Now You Know" by Doug Lennox