A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

Recent entries:
“Save a turkey. Eat a taco” (11/26)
“Save a turkey. Eat a pizza” (11/25)
“Leftover lettuce is called the romaineder” (11/25)
“Save a turkey. Eat a pie” (11/25)
Entry in progress—BP (11/25)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Entry from March 16, 2011
“Winner, winner, chicken dinner”

"Winner, winner, chicken dinner” was popularized by ESPN sports announcers and by the gambling movie 21 (2008). The term is said to have originated at Binion’s Horseshoe casino in Las Vegas and is often credited to an unnamed Chinese blackjack dealer.

Many websites state that Las Vegas casino restaurants served chicken dinners for $1.79, so a $2 winner could afford a chicken dinner. There is no evidence that $1.79 was a standard price, or that a chicken dinner is standard Vegas fare. Binion’s served a 10-ounce New York strip steak with a baked potato and salad for $2 (see 1994 citation below).

The phrase “Winner, winner, chicken (for) dinner” has been cited in print since at least 1990. “Winner, winner, lobster dinner” has been used since at least 2005.

Scoring At Home: Your SportsCenter Catchphrase-O-Meter
Tommy Craggs — An occasional feature in which we explain and evaluate a SportsCenter anchor’s pet phrase. Today’s phrase: “Winner winner chicken dinner.”
Anchor: John Buccigross
Origin: The phrase, popularized by the unwatchable movie 21, apparently derives from the rich lexicon of craps, which is full of amusingly inscrutable patter. In an e-mail, David Guzman, an author of A Guide to Craps Lingo from Snake Eyes to Muleteeth, writes: “‘Winner Winner Chicken Dinner’ came from alley craps back in the Depression. They used to play craps in alleys and didn’t always use $$$, but if they did it use $$$ and they where winning, it meant they they could afford chicken for dinner that night.” The literature on the subject is limited, however, and Guzman allows that “Winner winner chicken dinner” may have roots in Cockney rhyming slang.

Wikipedia: Randy Peterson
Randy Pedersen (born 1962) is a professional bowler and color analyst for ESPN’s coverage of the PBA Tour. He works alongside play-by-play commentator Rob Stone. Pedersen grew up in Southern California, but relocated to Clermont, Florida in the early 1990s, where he has resided ever since. He and his wife Becky have two children: a son, Chad and a daughter, Savannah.
. “Winner winner, Chicken dinner!”
(referring to the winner of a match)

Wikipedia: Binion’s Horseshoe
Binion’s Horseshoe, also known as the Horseshoe Casino or simply The Horseshoe, was a hotel and casino located in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada on what is now the Fremont Street Experience. The casino was named for its founder, Benny Binion and had 366 rooms, three restaurants and a rooftop pool.

The property is still open, but Harrahs owns the The Horseshoe brand name. As of 2008 it is owned by TLC Corporation and runs under the name Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel.
Benny Binion bought the Eldorado Club and Apache Hotel in 1951, re-opening them as the Horseshoe Casino. He styled it like an old-style riverboat, with low ceilings and velvet wallpaper. It was the first casino to have carpeting, as well as comps that were offered to all gamblers. Benny believed that small-time gamblers should get the same comps as those who bet big money.

16 August 1990, Reno (NV) Gazette-Journal, “Dealer’s Choice” by Janne Hanrahan, Best Bets, pg. 11, col. 2:
And while I have no idea where we got the popular call of Winner, winner, chicken for dinner, I know this must be old. When was the last time that chicken for dinner was a luxury only winners could afford?

(We could update it: Winner, winner! Our special for this evening is South African piranha in beurre blanc with poppy seeds, accompanied by vegetables from Mars. Nah, Chicken is better.)

24 November 1991, Asbury Park (NJ) Press, “Dealers’ chants pump up players” by John Patrick, pg. E12, col. 1:
So, when the action’s heating up, you’ll hear the stickmen go into their routines: You got a Wager, Major; Gotta Hunch, Bet a Bunch; Bet a Chunk, Win a Hunk; Bring a Buck and a Truck; Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner; Six, Easy Six, Bet the Eight, Running Mate; Shooting the Don’t, Says he Won’t; Four, Trey, the Country Way, and And on and on.

Google Books
By Tim Underwood
New York, NY: Penguin Group
Pg. 152:
“Winner, winner, chicken dinner,” he said evenly, his expression revealing his elation only to Luci and me. The race was posted “official” and the payoffs flashed on the board.

27 March 1994, St. Louis (MO) Herald, “No such thing as free lunch—says who?” by Carolyn Olson, Travel, pg. 2T:
A 10-ounce New York strip steak with salad and baked potato for $2 at Binion’s Horseshoe from 10 p.m. to 5:45 a.m.

Google Groups: rec.gambling.craps
Newsgroups: rec.gambling.craps
From: (Sister Susie)
Date: 1995/07/22
Subject: Re: Stickman calls/rhymes

“Winner, Winner.  Chicken Dinner.” I have no clue why this was so popular in Las Vegas.  Now we say it at home.

Google Groups: rec.gambling.sports
Newsgroups: rec.gambling.sports
From: Patrick Torre
Date: 1997/01/31
Subject: Re: perry lin/money mgmt

I picked up the phone and put 200 on Providence… Winner winner chicken dinner… Enough said !!!

26 November 1998, Worcester (MA) Telegram & Gazette, “Iandoli taking small steps to big-time tv”:
While in Vegas, Iandoli picked up a phrase from a Chinese blackjack dealer that he often uses on the air—“Winner, winner, chicken dinner.”

30 November 1998, USA Today, “O’Meara wins Skins Games with $430,000; Lehman bags $420,000” by Jerry Potter, pg. 15C:
“Winner, winner, chicken dinner,” he said while leaving LaQuinta, Calif., with a victory in The Skins Game and $430000 in hand.

28 June 1999, Baltimore (MD) Sun, “Inkster joins major leagues; LPGA victor completes career Grand Slam” by Don Markus, pg. 1D:
Don’t expect anything complex from Inkster, who opened her Academy Awards-like victory speech by telling the crowd, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner.”

4 October 1999, The Capital (Annapolis, MD), pg. B5, col. 2:
‘Skins taste victory again
Johnson savors thought of chicken promotion

“I (Washington Redskins quarterback Brad Johnson—ed.) remembered last time they had a dollar off on Domino’s Pizza (if the Redskins did something wonderful). This time they had the chicken up there and I was thinking ‘winner, winner chicken dinner.’”

Hummer Forums by Elcova
11-18-2005, 10:00 PM
winner winner lobster dinner,...

The Internet Movie Database
Memorable quotes for
21 (2008)

Ben Campbell: Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Slot Machines Forum
11-09-2009, 11:47 AM
Haha, well here you go:

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
The legend tells that years ago every casino in Las Vegas had a three-piece chicken dinner with a potato and a veggie for $1.79. A standard bet back then was $2, hence when you won a bet you had enough for a chicken dinner. !”
11-10-2009, 03:06 AM
They explain this in the beginning of the movie “21”. It started with a Chinese blackjack dealer, at Binion’s, about 40 years ago. Everytime someone won, he was telling this phrase and it caught with all Vegas and nation after that.

They didn’t mention about the $1.79 chicken dinner connection though. Might explain where the Chinese dealer got the phrase from.

Online Casino Forum
02-18-2011, 07:47 AM
I did a little research. This is the original transcript from the movie 21. It was said in the opening scene.

“Winner, winner, chicken dinner.”
Those words had been dancing around my head all night.
I mean, it’s Vegas lore, that phrase.
Just ask any of the old-time pit bosses, they’ll know.
It was a Chinese dealer at Binion’s who was first credited with the line.
He would shout it every time he dealt blackjack.
That was over 40 years ago, and the words still catch.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner. There it is!
“Winner, winner, chicken dinner.”

Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-going radio program series in the field of sports and life issues via the internet. FIRST USE: 19970000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19970000
Standard Characters Claimed
Serial Number 77384160
Filing Date January 30, 2008
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition June 10, 2008
Registration Number 3492450
Registration Date August 26, 2008
Owner (REGISTRANT) David Eric Himmelstein INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 1342 1/2 E. Harvard Glendale CALIFORNIA 91205
Attorney of Record Mark Himmelstein
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Gaming machines namely devices which accept a wager and gaming software that generates or displays outcomes for gaming machines
Standard Characters Claimed
Serial Number 85258152
Filing Date March 4, 2011
Current Filing Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Owner (APPLICANT) Bally Gaming, Inc. DBA Bally Technologies CORPORATION NEVADA Att: Legal Department 6601 South Bermuda Road Las Vegas NEVADA 89119
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, March 16, 2011 • Permalink