Dead man's hand - poker taboo, black aces and eights

dead mans poker hand
Dead man's hand - poker taboo, black aces and eights 7

Legend has it that on a hot and dusty day in August 1876, several men gathered to play cards in a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. Chances are they were in full swing. five-card poker games, and it's not clear what the stakes were. It didn't matter, as it turned out, because what happened next ended the game and started legend, lore, and superstition. "Dead Man's Hand" in poker .

What is a dead man's hand in poker?

dead man's hand in poker

Before they settled the game, the infamous lawman and fighter "Wild Bill" Hickok was killed by a vengeful drunken young man named Jack McCall .

Hickok's hand is said to have a random card, a pair of aces, and a pair of eights. So this special set of cards with aces and eights became known as " Dead man's hand.

Variants throughout history

If you enjoy playing poker, you may be familiar with black aces and eights, reputed to be "Dead Man's Hand". However, often any aces and eights get this nickname.

There are references to the dead man's hand since 1886 . Some of them depict different combinations of cards that have nothing to do with Hickok. Hands containing jacks and sevens , jacks and eights , and even house full of jacks and tens , were called variants for many years.

How Black Aces and Eights Became a Dead Man's Hand

wild bill hickok poker dead man's hand
Wild Bill Hickok

History says that McCall, 24, lost all his money on Hickok the day before playing cards in the same Deadwood salon. He returned to the bar, slipped behind Hickok, shouted obscene language, and shot him dead.

After his notoriety made him a target, Hickok used to sit with his back against a wall to guard against such an ambush. That day, however, another player refused to give up his seat, which only reinforced the impression of Hickok's bad luck.

The legend became popular after the release of Frank Wilstach's book " Wild Bill Hickok: Prince of Pistols in 1926. Wilstach wrote that Hickok had a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights when he was killed. Other historians have described various combinations of aces and eights.

Is a dead man's hand a good poker hand?

Simply put, "Dead Man's Hand" - these are two pairs , which are better than a pair and can be beaten by a three of a kind or better. But if you are not superstitious, it is not bad for a five card draw game , mainly if you draw it after the initial deal.

In hold'em poker, this is not such a good hand due to the community cards. Only aces as hole cards can keep many players in the game after the flop. Some people don't stay in aces and eights just because of the legend. .

References in pop culture

death of ten year old album ha ha thin
Album Death of a Decade by Ha Ha Tonk

The legend of the dead man's hand passed into more modern culture in songs, movies, literature and even games . There is even a popular online video poker game called " Aces & Eights" .

That infamous hand is the title of the song motorhead and is mentioned in other gambling tunes, including:

  • Tramp, gambling Willie Bob Dylan
  • I am the storm by Blue Oyster Cult
  • Aces and eights Michael McDermott
  • Dead man's hand ha-ha-tonka

Popular films

Poster for the movie "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance"

Naturally, this image is found in several classic westerns. American film director John Ford made several films that featured the notorious hands of aces and eights. The two most famous films were " Stagecoach " and " The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance ".

Other notable films featuring a dead man's hand include:

  • Border Marshal
  • Badlands of the Dakota
  • Winchester '73
  • And the spider came

Watch out for aces and eights at the poker table

Many poker players have superstitions and Dead Man's Hand is probably at the top of the hex list. But aces and eights make up a two-pair combination worth considering . Since many people play online poker, the best deal you can get is AA in withers, and 8-8 closed cards worth a slight raise, no matter what the flop is.

As with any other game of poker, compare the strength of your hand with the bets and inclinations of your opponents. Hey, if you have to, cross the screen to deflect the curse!

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PostDead Man's Hand - Poker's Taboo Black Aces & Eights first appeared in US online casinos.