The Origins Of Battlegrounds' 'Winner Winner Chicken Dinner' Line

When you win in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, you see the message: "Winner Winner Chicken Dinner." That's... weird. So where'd it come from?

It's a line you may be familiar with if you've been to Vegas, or indeed if you've played any of PlayerUnknown's previous mod work. "'Winner Winner Chicken Dinner' has been used in my Battle Royale game-modes since way back in the ARMA 2 DayZ Battle Royale mod," PU told Nathan in an interview just after E3. "We do intend to keep it as it has become part of the game mode over the last four years."

But where did it come from? PU didn't invent it it. It didn't come from that terrible movie you may only now remember seeing it in. It did not, as the quickest Google search may tell you, hail from Las Vegas casinos either (though that answer at least gets the chicken dinner part right).

No, for the best answer on the internet, we're instead going to turn to our pals at Deadspin, who for entirely unrelated reasons looked into the history of the term back in 2009. Speaking with David Guzman, co-author of a book called A Guide to Craps Lingo from Snake Eyes to Muleteeth, they were told:

"'Winner Winner Chicken Dinner' came from alley craps back in the Depression. They used to play craps in alleys and didn't always use [money], but if they did it use [money] 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.

That last part certainly seems possible; I've heard a number of older Australians use the term in relation to sports, with "Chicken Dinner" taking the place of "Winner" in rhyming slang.

So there you have it. While the absolute origins of the term may be lost in the fog of unrecorded British slang, its more immediate meaning definitely has its roots in 20th century gambling. So next time you win in Battlegrounds and feel like you got lucky, well, maybe that was the point...


Comments

    Cockney slang seems considerably more likely. The problem with both the Vegas and alley craps gambling theories is chicken was one of the cheaper meats in the 1930s and only cost 15-20c for a pound (around $3.50 in today's dollars). If you wanted to eat meat in the 1930s, either chuck beef or chicken were going to be your picks.

    All I know is it too Red Rooster far too long to adopt it into their advertising.

    I personally feel that there must be some truth to the Vegas story correlating the saying with casinos, but wonder why it is so tied to Blackjack? And no, it was not because of the "21" movie, as I've been a Croupier for longer than that film has been out and we were even warned of an increase in people using the phrase, as well as an increase in card-counting attempts (which was hysterical watching people try to card-count... at a table with an automatic shuffler! :D).

      People are idiots though. I play tournament Texas Hold-em, and people ask if I card count...

      When I (try to) explain to them that its not a thing in poker, but blackjack, they want to know why its not done by everyone. Trying to explain why it doesn't work with a 4 or 6 deck auto shuffled table is near on impossible.

      Trying to find a single deck table where it works is pretty rare outside of Vegas, and its getting harder to find a table there as well.

    Re the top pic: there's nothing like harsh light photography of food to make it look like a leftover specimen in a morgue.

    Why don't Kotaku just ask the PUBG developer where he got the phrase from?

      Because that would answer where he got it, not where it originated.

        Yes, that will answer where PUBG got the phrase, which is the title of this article.

          The title asks what the origin is, not where PlayerUnknown got it from. The phrase has existed since at least the 1930s while Greene was born in 1971, so where he got it from and its origin aren't the same thing.

    I feel like I used to hear the phrase all the time from some groups of friends and I feel like it was well before anything DayZ / ARMA used it.

    Isn't that from red rooster it originated from?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now