The dead man’s hand is a slang term used in poker for a two pair of black aces and black eights, although its meaning has changed over time. The story goes that lawman and gambler “Wild Bill ...
The makeup of poker's dead man's hand has varied through the years. Currently, it is described as a two-pair poker hand consisting of the black aces and black eights. The pair of aces and eights, along with an unknown hole card, were reportedly held by Old West folk hero, lawman and gunfighter, Wild Bill Hickok when he was murdered while playing a game.
Dead Man’s Hand is one of the most iconic hand in poker. It harks back to the game’s roots in the American West and a real legendary lawman. Hickok probably spent more of his time at the poker table than in the sheriff’s office. We know that Dead Man’s hand is Two Aces and Eights – two pair.
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In the Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences (1903), the dead man’s hand is comprised of jacks and sevens. Several accounts claim that later, in 1907, British writer Edmond Hoyle (of Hoyle Cards and Poker Hall of Fame fame) called the dead man’s hand jacks and eights; however, Hoyle died in 1769, so this would have been a truly remarkable feat indeed.
If you’re a poker player, you probably stumbled upon the term “dead man’s hand” before. Poker players love using slang for all kinds of card combinations, and this one is used to denote a hand with two pairs. However, this hand cannot consist of any two pairs.
Is A Dead Man’s Hand a Good Poker Hand? Simply put, the Dead Man’s Hand is a two-pair, which beats a pair and can be beaten by three of a kind or better. But if you aren’t superstitious, this is pretty good in a five-card draw game, mainly if you draw it after the initial deal. It is not as good a hand in Hold ’em Poker because of community cards. Only aces as hole cards would keep many players in the game past the flop.