Poker Hand Nicknames

You’ve just been dealt your hand in a round of no-limit Texas Hold’em.  Excitement and anxiety builds within you as you begin to slowly fan your hand and eyeball those first few cards.  Maintaining the calm you want to convey, you control your breathing as you begin to assess the potency of your hand.  As you pick up the cards you run through the range of possibilities from the worst starter of a weakly 2-7 off-suit to the mighty pocket aces.

We all have our favorite starting hand, and many of us know where that hand ranks in the pecking order of starting cards.  Yet, what many of you may not know are some of the nicknames given to these starting hands.  Most of us have heard a starter hand such as A-A referred to as “Pocket Rockets” or “American Airlines,” but did you know they are also called “Eyes” or “Eyes of Texas”?  Certainly, you witnessed pocket kings in play with the commentary from your opponent, “Cowboys” or “Gorillas” (K-K being the initials for King Kong), or “Ace Magnates.”  You may also have heard the starter hand Q-Q referred to as “Ladies,” “Sisters,” “Four Tits,” or “Siegfried and Roy.”

Nicknames for starting hands have developed in a variety of ways over the years.  A-K, known as “Santa Barbara” and “Big Slick” received those names from a destructive oil spill which took place of the coast of Santa Barbara.  “Little Slick” has been given to the starting hand of A-2.  The “Lollipop Hand” refers to A-Q because at first the hand looks sweet , but often times gets licked in play.

The following list presents other starter hand nicknames that are commonly, or uncommonly used by poker players:

Acey-deucy: A-2
Ajax: A-J
Barbara Hutton (after the dime-store heiress): 10-5
Baskin-Robbins (symbolizing the chain’s “31 Flavors” of ice cream): 3-A
Beer hand: 7-2
Broderick Crawford (because of the actor’s tendency to say “ten-four” during the 1950s
television show, Highway Patrol): 10-4
Canine: K-9
Colt 45 (after the firearm or even the malt liquor): 4-5
Computer Hand (because it is the exact middle-ranked starting hand between A-A and 2-7 off suit): Q-7
Crabs (because they look like pinchers): 3-3
Darth Vader (the “dark force”): 4c & 4s
Dead Man’s Hand (the hand “Wild Bill” Hickok was holding when he was murdered in Deadwood, South Dakota on August 2, 1876): A-8
Dime Store: 10-5
Dolly Parton (from her starring role in the film 9 to 5): 9-5
Eubie (as in “If you play these, you be broke”): 8-6
Five and dime: 10-5
Heinz (from the Heinz slogan of “57 varieties”): 5-7
Hockey Sticks: 7-7
Jack Benny (because the comedian often joked that that was his age): 3-9
Jackson Five (from the Motown music group): J-5
Jesse James (after the gun he was shot with): 4-5
Katie or Katy (because the 10 is often represented with a “T”): K-10
King Crab: K-3
Kojak (after the old television show): K-J
Kokomo: K-8
Little Oldsmobile (after the 88 model): 8-8
Lumberman’s Hand (after the 2″ x 4″ board): 2-4
Marriage (from the game of pinochle): K-Q
Mongrel: K-9
Motown: J-5
Newlyweds: K-Q
Office Hours: 9-5
Oldsmobile (after the 98 model): 9-8
Pedigree: K-9
Pickle Man (representing a Heinz variety): 5-7
Pinochle (from the game): Jd -Qs
Presto: 5-5
Quinine: Q-9
Railroad Hand (because saying it out loud sounds like a steam train): J-6
Raquel Welch (after her curvaceous measurements): 3-8
San Francisco Busboy (a queen with a trey): Q-3
Snowmen: 8-8
Speed Limit: 5-5
Trombones (from the song 76 Trombones in Meredith Wilson’s play and movie The Music Man): 7-6
Union Oil (from company’s symbol) 7-6
Wayne Gretzky (his jersey number): 9-9
Walking Sticks (which the numbers resemble): 7-7
Woolworth (from the retail five and dime store): 10-5

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