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Terminology - 2

In the previous edition of this article, I wrote about why Pocket Aces, Pocket Kings, and Ace-King have particularly peculiar nicknames. For this article, the focus will be shifted from premium hands to ordinary ones. The one thing common between all of them is that you shouldn’t play them pre-flop, unlike the previously discussed hands! 

Dead Man’s Hand (AA88)

Nickname for a specific poker hand, the Dead Man’s Hand is popularly referred to a two-pair of black aces and black eights. The story behind it is a little horrifying, yet incredible. In the late 19th century, “Wild Bill”, James Butler Hickok - sheriff, marksman, gambler - was shot to his death while playing Five Card Draw Poker at the Number Ten Saloon in South Dakota. Most accounts of the story argue that the dead man’s hand was a two-paired one - of the Ace of Spades, Ace of Clubs, Eight of Spades, and Eight of Clubs. The identity of the fifth card has no consensus as of now. Wild Bill was murdered by John “Jack” McCall. The story behind his motive is equally exciting. McCall was getting steadily drunk at a bar where he watched Wild Bill Hickok playing poker. Eventually, one of the players left and McCall replaced him. Too drunk to know what cards he was playing, McCall lost all his money after which Hickok then gave McCall some to buy himself some food and advised him not to take a break from the game till he could recover from his losses. McCall, insulted, accepted the cash. 

The next day. Wild Bill joined the game, sitting with his back to the door and the bar (since his spot was taken), thus sealing his fate. McCall, drinking, saw an opportunity to take revenge make a name for himself. He came up behind Hickok, pulled the trigger of his gun as he shouted, “Damn you, take that!” Hickok, holding a hand of two black Aces and two black Eights, dropped dead. 

The Computer Hand ( Q-7 Off )

Q 7 off-suit is known as the ‘Computer Hand’. The story behind this nickname is not as exciting as the Dead Man’s Hand, but it is interesting nevertheless. Poker player Ray Zee, the author of High-Low Split Poker for Advanced Players, was apparently present at a place where a computer scientist ran multiple simulations over a small sample size of poker hands on a Tandy computer in the early 1970s. Due to some reasons, best explained as dumb luck, Q-7 ended up being the winning hand in most simulations. With respect to actual statistics, Q-7 shows 51.77% equity versus a random hand. But the bottom line, Q-7 is not a good pre-flop hand. Please don’t play with it and lose all your money. 

The Brunson ( 10-2 )

You are not a poker fan if you don’t know who Doyle Brunson is. Referred to as the Godfather of Poker, Brunson holds ten WSOP Bracelets in his possession. But the story behind Ten Deuce is incredible! In the 1976 WSOP Main Event, Doyle Brunson was heads-up with car dealer Jesse Alto. In the last hand of the tournament, Jesse Alto bet out with A-J, Brunson called with 10-2 suited. The flop: A-J-10, giving Alto two pair. Brunson, looking to put pressure on the amateur, shoved with his meek bottom pair with the worst kicker. Alto snap called, and why wouldn’t he?

But Brunson turned a deuce. What are his outs? A Ten and a Two. Six cards. The river? A deuce. The Godfather got runner-runner deuces to complete a full-boat and win the WSOP in one of the worst suck-outs in poker history. But that is not all! Who would have imagined the same situation to go down exactly one year later?! The very next year, Doyle Brunson, heads up against Gary “Bones” Berland looked down at 10-2 – again. Berland had 8-5.

The flop: 10-8-5. Brunson behind on the flop again. The turn - 2. Brunson has two pair, and this time he was ahead on the turn. Berland shoved. Brunson gladly called. Believe it or not, Brunson rivered a 10, hit a boat and was crowned world champion for the second consecutive year. One commentator rightly said, “They say lightning never strikes twice. But in Texas, it does!”

That’s all for now. Look out for more articles relating to poker slang and poker terms, if you don’t want to appear stupid at a poker game with pros!



Saptarshi 'Pixie' Basak

An avid poker enthusiast, a book bug, highly interested in International Politics and Affairs, he loves the variations in poker, his blogs bring the same variation in writing style and topics.