Shuffle Up and Deal

[RR] “Other than the moment when I win a tournament, my favorite part is when the person running the event announces, ‘Let’s shuffle up and deal!'” Roderick the Rock opined. “There’s a nervous excitement in the air. Everyone’s happy with anticipation. It’s like the beginning of each baseball or basketball or football season, when everyone starts out even, and everyone has a chance to take home the title.”

[LL] “Speaking of baseball, that sport has the most powerful opener”, Leroy the Lion segued. “Every time an ump yells, ‘Play ball!’, I feel like a kid again for a moment.”

[DD] Deb the Duchess added, “Tennis and cricket settle for just ‘Play!’, which seems a bit abrupt.”

[RR] “That’s better than golf’s boring and formal ‘Ladies and gentlemen, on the first tee, so-and-so.'”

[LL] “Which still beat the other major U.S. sports, which start with wordless whistles. Basketball before the tipoff, football before the kickoff, and hockey before the face-off.”

[DD] “Soccer, too.”

[FF] “Auto racing isn’t bad. ‘Drivers… start your engines'”, Figaro the Fish added.

[LL] “Track meets have the long, drawn out, ‘On your mark…, set… Bang!’ as the official shoots the starting pistol.”

[RR] “Horse racing has a good one. ‘First Call’ is played on a bugle1 as the Call to the Post for the horses. Once they’re ready, bells ring as the gates open, and the race caller screams, ‘And they’re off!'”

[CC] Carlos the Crazy chimed in, “Eating contests begin with a countdown. Usually the whole crowd is chanting ’10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!’ and screaming so loudly that you can’t hear the emcee pronounce, ‘Begin eating!’ or whatever.”

[FF] “Sounds like you’ve been in a few.”

[CC] “You didn’t know that I’m the Chelsea Chowda Champ?”

[NN] Nate the Natural cut off the digression, “In chess, the tournament director asks for civility before the battle, ‘Players, shake hands and start your clocks!'”

[VV] Vincent the Veteran continued, “In bingo, they open with ‘Eyes down!'”

[RR] “Oh, we’ve missed the best one!” Roderick returned. “At least in some of the bigger boxing matches, Michael Buffer intones his awesome, ‘Let’s get ready to rumble!'”2

[VV] “Did you know that before he started saying that, he tried ‘Fasten your seat belts’ first? He didn’t hit on his famous catchphrase until 1984, a full decade after the Ali-Foreman Rumble in the Jungle. He’s made megamillions off of that trademark!3

[RR] “And to bring things full circle, a few years ago the World Series of Poker brought in Buffer to inject new life into the mundane ‘Shuffle up and deal!’4. They usually have the defending champion, a famous poker player, or a celebrity make the announcement, but that call was the best.”

[RR] “A couple years later, they invited his half-brother Bruce Buffer, who’s also a ring announcer, and he did a great job5, too.”


  1. You may not know the name, but you know “First Call”.
  2. Each round begins with a single loud clang of a bell.
  3. See the Trademark section of his Wikipedia article.
  4. On November 10, 2008, Michael Buffer started the heads-up action at the 2008 World Series of Poker final table with, “Let’s get ready to shuffle up and deal”. Here’s the full video, which starts with three players left, but you can jump to the heads up introductions or straight to the catchphrase.
  5. On November 6, 2010, Bruce Buffer introduced the WSOP 2010 Main Event Final Table. Here’s the full video, but you can jump to Bruce Buffer’s part or straight to “Let’s shuffle up and deal.”

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