The term va banque, also written as va banque, comes from a game that was most popular in the eighteenth century, titled pharo, or Faro. The term means that the player would like to make a bet equal to the current total in the games bank. The result of which, obviously, is either that the player will lose everything, or will make a considerable amount that will put them ahead. It is a move that can be considered somewhat similar to going all-in in poker, and is generally thought of as a decision that will either make or break the player completely.
The game of pharo is no longer particularly popular, and not offered as a choice in casinos. The term it popularised, however, has lived on in other forms, and is synonymous for describing a situation where a person is literally risking their life. Some poker circles refer to going all-in, or playing va banque, humorously as Russian or Canadian roulette. Others use it as term to describe a decision a person is making that may change their life, for better or worse. It is known to be used in some parts of the world to describe a person who is drinking and driving, and indicates that they are playing a game that may well end their life forever.
Va banque and going all-in have a similar affect on a game. In poker, a player can decide to bet the entirety of their remaining money on a single hand. If any players do not have an equal amount to the all-in, more or less, and still wish to call, they will put in an amount equal to the all-in of the player who initiated the bet.
Some players consider it best to go all-in when they are nearing a point in the game where they must either play big, or risk slipping towards bankruptcy, due to the luck of their game up until that point. Others make the move only when they have a hand that has a very high chance of winning, if the opportunity presents itself. Either way, the decision to make the play is available at any time, but is considered a highly risky move to make and should not be done lightly.
Popular Va Banque Reference
Va banque is also widely known for being used in a conversation that occurred between Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring, which gave an infamy to the term that has lasted many years.
The conversation came about during the Polish crisis, which occurred prior to the start of World War 2. Göring was known to have said to Hitler that he should be careful, and not push his strategy too far, which at the time involved playing the English and Poles against one another, providing a tactical advantage to the Nazi army. To this remark Hitler responded that in the course of his life, he has always the strategy of va banque. Hitler was of course saying that he would either gain everything, or lose everything, hence reflecting the strategy of players using the betting option in the game of cards.