Poker Hand Nicknames

Texas Hold'em Poker is a cultural phenomenon that has developed its own unique vocabulary. From ‘Motown’ to ‘the Dead Man’s Hand’, there's a whole host of poker card nicknames to get to grips with.

Some poker hand nicknames come from sport, pop culture, history, daily life and more. Some are fun, some are creative, and some are just vulgar, but they all have a story behind them. Check out the most popular poker hand nicknames below, and let us help you decode the jargon so you sound like a pro at the poker table.

Nicknames for Hands with Aces

Ace-Ace (A-A)

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  • Alan Alda: The double "A's" are also the initials of the M*A*S*H star.
  • American Airlines: Nicknamed due to the double Aces "AA" that is also the familiar symbol for American Airlines.
  • Batteries: The nickname comes from double-A batteries.
  • Bullets: This hand garners the nickname "bullets" because the single suit symbol in the centre of each card side by side resembles bullet holes.
  • Eyes of Texas: Taken from the popular song, also due to the resemblance to "eyes" on dice, and the origin of the game "Texas Hold’em."
  • Joe Louis: (Given only to the pair of spades and clubs) because the Aces resemble eyes, you will get two black eyes if you try to fight them, like the famous boxer.
  • Needles: The "A" looks like the top of the needle, in that it's pointy.
  • Pocket Rockets: Aces look like rockets, and since they are "pocket cards", they're pocket rockets.
  • Snake Eyes (or Eyes): The pair of Aces is associated with rolling snake eyes (double 1) in Craps.
  • Teepees: The double Aces resemble the peaks of Native American Indian teepees.
  • Two Pips: A pip is a single unit of a number in a group, so two Aces, each worth one "pip" or point is "two pips".
  • Visine: This is a special designation for the combination of the Ace of Hearts and the Ace of Diamonds (both red suits), also known as "red eyes" because Visine eye drops claim to "get the red out."

Ace-King (A-K)

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  • Anna Kournikova: The Ace/King combo gets this nickname for sharing the initials of the former tennis star.
  • Big Slick: Because this looks like an easy winner, many novice players lose a lot of money betting on it.
  • King Arthur: Sharing the initials of King Arthur, the legendary King of Camelot.
  • Korean Airlines: Sharing the initials of the commercial airline of South Korea.
  • Walking Back to Houston: Because Texan players who bet too heavily on this hand often ended up "walking back to Houston" as a loser.

Ace-Queen (A-Q)

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  • Antony & Cleopatra: Because the cards share the initials of the famous Shakespearian lovers, Marc Antony and Queen Cleopatra.
  • Big Chick: A rhyming companion to Big Slick, but with a Queen (a "chick") instead of a King.
  • Little Slick: Like the Big Slick, but not quite as strong.
  • Mrs Slick: The King's wife, imitating the Big Slick.
  • Rocket Queen: The Ace (a “rocket”) is paired with the Queen, also referring to the Guns & Roses song.

Ace-Jack (A-J)

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  • Armani Jeans: Sharing the initials of the famous clothing line’s jeans.
  • Apple Jacks: Per the initials of the popular cereal brand.
  • Ajax: A phonetic similarity (A-Jacks) to the cleaning product.
  • Blackjack: Because A-J is the best possible hand in Blackjack.
  • Jackass: Jack/Ace sounds like Jackass.

Ace-Ten (A-10)

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  • Johnny Moss: Because he began his poker career at the age of 10.
  • Bookends: Each part of the end of the highest poker straight (10, J, Q, K, A).

Ace-Nine (A-9)

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  • Rounders Hand: Made popular as a crucial hand in the movie 'Rounders'.
  • McDermott: Named for the character Mike McDermott in the movie 'Rounders', who goes broke holding this hand.
  • Jesus (or Chris Ferguson): Chris Ferguson, the player nicknamed Jesus for his long hair, won the final hand of the 2000 WSOP with this hand.

Ace-Eight (A-8)

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  • Dead Man's Hand: The combo famously held by famous gunfighter and lawman Wild Bill Hickok when he was murdered.
  • Asterix and Obelix: Named after the comic book characters because A is the initial for Asterix and the rotund Obelix resembles an 8.

Ace-Seven (A-7)

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  • Slapshot: Nicknamed for the 7's resemblance to a hockey stick and the Ace being a bullet (hockey puck).

Ace-Six (A-6)

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  • Mile-High Club: Because six is phonetically similar to sex and the Ace is associated with airlines, the nickname is a reference to sex in an aircraft being known as joining the Mile-High Club.

Ace-Five (A-5)

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  • High Five: The "high" card (Ace) combined with the five. Simple, yet effective.

Ace-Four (A-4)

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  • Plane Crash: Because the A-4 combination resembles the double Ace combination with one of the "wings" missing (the 4 being a 'partial' Ace).
  • Stu Ungar: Famous player Stu Ungar won his last WSOP title with this hand as part of a straight.

Ace-Three (A-3)

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  • Ashtray: Due to the phonetic similarity of Ace-Trey.
  • Baskin-Robbins: The Ace/Three (numerically 1 and 3) are given the nickname due to Baskin Robin's famous 31 flavours of ice cream.
  • Thrace: The word Thrice (for three times) combined with Ace.

Ace-Two (A-2)

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  • Acey-Deucey: From the game of the same name.
  • Hunting Season: Nicknamed because Aces are bullets and twos are commonly referred to as ducks.
  • Little Slick: The lowest possible imitation of "Big Slick." Used for A-Q too, for added confusion.ce

Nicknames for Hands with Kings

King-King (K-K)

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  • Ace Magnets: Given this name because of how it seems like every time you’re dealt this hand, an Ace comes on the flop to undermine your position.
  • Cowboys: The phonetic similarities between the K in Kings and the C in Cowboys. Also, Texas was famous for its poker players and cowboys.
  • King Kong: Shares initials with the famous movie ape.
  • Elvis Presley: Referring to the 'King' of Rock 'n' Roll.

King-Queen (K-Q)

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  • Marriage/Royal Couple: For the union between a King and a Queen.
  • King of Queens: Reference to the Kevin James sitcom.
  • Valentine's Day: When both cards are hearts.

King-Jack (K-J)

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  • Kojak: Given for the phonetic similarity to TV's lollipop-loving detective of the 1970s.
  • Joking/Jacking: Due to the phonetic similarity.

King-Ten (K-10)

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  • Katie/Ken: Phonetic similarities to K-T or K-10.
  • Big Al: Named for the big-time poker player from Wisconsin nicknamed "Big Al" Emerson.

King-Nine (K-9)

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  • Canine: Nickname given due to the phonetic sounds of the K and Nine together.
  • Dog: Because of the name canine.
  • Fido/Mutt/Pedigree/Rin Tin Tin/Doctor Who: More canine references.

King-Eight (K-8)

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  • Kate: Named for the phonetic pronunciation of K-eight.
  • Feast: Because it's what the King ate.

King-Seven (K-7)

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  • Columbia River: Famous for its King salmon runs, the King Seven shares a phonetic similarity to King Salmon.
  • Kevin: More phonetic fun.

King-Six (K-6)

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  • Kicks: A combination of the words King and six together.

King-Five (K-5)

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  • Seattle Special: Named for the Seattle television station KING5.
  • Knives: K and Fives almost makes knives.

King-Four (K-4)

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  • Fork/Core: The phonetic combination of the K and 4 either way around.
  • Oppression of the Masses: What is a King for? One for the anarchists, there.

King-Three (K-3)

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  • King Crab: Because 3s resemble a sideways crab and King Crab is a popular food item.

King-Two (K-2)

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  • King Fritz/Big Fritz: Thought to be named for the famous German poker pro Andreas Fritz.
  • Donald: A reference to Donald Duck, the King of the ducks (used most often when the hand is off-suit).

Nicknames for Hands with Queens

Queen-Queen (Q-Q)

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  • Ladies: Queens are the only court cards depicted as female.
  • Calamity Jane: A famous Cowgirl. Thought to be a play on the 'Cowboys' nickname for KK.
  • Canadian Aces: The Queen of England is said to be respected in Canada.

Queen-Jack (Q-J)

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  • Maverick: From the popular western show of the same name whose theme song references "livin' on Jacks and Queens."
  • Hawaii: If you avoid playing this hand for a full year, you'll save enough for a trip to Hawaii!

Queen-Ten (Q-10)

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  • Robert Varkonyi: Won the WSOP in 2002 with this hand.
  • Quint/Q-Tip: For the phonetic similarity to Queen-Ten.
  • Cutie: For the phonetic sounds of the letters Q and T.

Queen-Nine (Q-9)

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  • Quinine: For the similarity to the sound of the name of a well-known malaria drug.

Queen-Eight (Q-8)

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  • Kuwait: Phonetically similar to Q-eight.

Queen-Seven (Q-7)

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  • Computer Hand: Because it is statistically equally likely to be ahead or behind any other single random hand. Computers found it to have a 50% chance to win and 50% chance to lose against any two random cards.

Queen-Six (Q-6)

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  • Quix: A combination of the two words.

Queen-Five (Q-5)

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  • Granny Mae: Granny for Queen, Mae because May is the 5th month. Bit of a reach, this one.

Queen-Four (Q-4)

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  • Housework: An unfunny and old-fashioned response to the question, 'What is a Queen for?'
  • Prince Maker: Another dubious response to the same question.

Queen-Three (Q-3)

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  • Windsor Waiter: A Queen with a tray (the Queen of England lives in Windsor).

Queen-Two (Q-2)

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  • Daisy: A reference to Daisy Duck - Donald Duck's partner and Queen of the ducks (2s look like ducks).
  • Queen Liz: Nicknamed as a reference to Queen Elizabeth II.

Nicknames for Hands with Jacks

Jack-Jack (J-J)

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  • Brothers: Two males who look similar.
  • Fishhooks: The J resembles a fishhook and there are two of them.
  • John Juanda: Initials of the famous Indonesian poker player.

Jack-Ten (J-10)

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  • Justin Timberlake: Shares initials (J-T) with the popstar.
  • T. J. Hooker Nicknamed after the 80's TV character (T-J) played by William Shatner.

Jack-Nine (J-9)

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  • T.J Cloutier (when suited): The poker player flopped three straight flushes in one year with this starting hand.

Jack-Eight (J-8)

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  • Jeffrey Dahmer: Named for the infamous serial killer who "ate Jack".
  • Jacket: Jack-Eight sounds a bit like Jacket if said quickly.

Jack-Seven (J-7)

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  • Jack Daniels: Named for the Tennessee whisky which has a ‘Jack’ and a ‘7’ on the bottle.

Jack-Six (J-6)

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  • Railroad: Because if you say Jacks and sixes repeatedly quick it sounds like a train going over tracks, apparently.

Jack-Five (J-5)

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  • Motown: For the famous music label's association with the Jackson Five - also called 'J5'.
  • Jackson Five: For sharing the 'J5' nickname of the famous Motown singing group the Jackson Five.

Jack-Four (J-4)

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  • Flat Tire: What's a Jack for?

Jack-Three (J-3)

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  • Lumberjack: A Jack and a 'Tree'.

Jack-Two (J-2)

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  • J-Lo: A play on the nickname of the famous movie star Jennifer Lopez: J and a low card.

Nicknames for Hands with Tens

Ten-Ten (10-10)

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  • Dimes: Because a dime is worth ten cents.
  • Tension: Holding this pair can cause a lot of tension, as it is a big pair that has a good chance of winning but isn't high enough to be a sure thing. Also a play on 'tens'ion.
  • Dynamite/TNT: T and T resembles TNT when spoken aloud.
  • Binary: 1010 is 10 in binary decimal notation.

Ten-Nine (10-9)

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  • Countdown: Because its sounds like the start of a 10-second countdown.

Ten-Eight (10-8)

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  • Tetris: A stretch here, but thought to be because of mild phonetic similarity.

Ten-Seven (10-7)

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  • Bowling Hand/Split: Named for the infamous 7/10 split in bowling.

Ten-Six (10-6)

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  • Sweet: As 10+6 = sweet sixteen.

Ten-Five (10-5)

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  • Woolworth: Nicknamed for the very first "five and dime store" of the early 20th century. Five and Dime is also a frequently used nickname.

Ten-Four (10-4)

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  • Broderick Crawford: The popular actor who was famous for using the call sign "10-4" on the show ‘Highway Patrol’.
  • CB Hand/The Trucker/Over and Out/Roger That: 10-4 means ‘OK’ in CB Radio speech.
  • Convoy/Good Buddy: From the use of "10-4" in the famous country song, ‘Convoy’.

Ten-Three (10-3)

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  • Fast Connection: Named for the T3 internet connection, which was once the fastest available.

Ten-Two (10-2)

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  • Doyle Brunson: For the 1976/77 WSOP Champion's winning hand.
  • Terminator 2: The movie's sub-title is ‘T2’.

Nicknames for Hands with Nines

Nine-Nine (9-9)

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  • Phil Hellmuth: Named for the 1989 WSOP winner who won with this hand.
  • Red Balloons: After the famous song 99 Red Balloons.
  • Wayne Gretzky: The jersey number of the Canadian hockey legend.
  • Popeyes: Looks like Popeye's muscular arms.

Nine-Eight (9-8)

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  • Olds or Oldsmobile: Because the '98 Oldsmobile was the biggest of the line.

Nine-Seven (9-7)

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  • Persian Carpet Ride: Named by the famous player Antonio Esfandiari, for whom this hand was a favorite.

Nine-Six (9-6)

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  • Big Lick: A sexual reference to the 69 position and a play on "Big Slick". Numerous other nicknames for this hand all follow the same derivation.

Nine-Five (9-5)

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  • Dolly or Dolly Parton: For the star's famous movie and song "9 to 5."
  • Hard Working Man: Someone who works 9 to 5.

Nine-Four (9-4)

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  • San Francisco: For the San Francisco football team the 49ers.
  • Joe Montana: The famous football player for the San Francisco 49ers.
  • 49er: San Francisco 49ers NFL Football team. Also refers to the men of the gold rush era who mined the Sierra Nevada hills near San Francisco.

Nine-Three (9-3)

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  • Jack Benny: Because Jack Benny always insisted he was "39" years old.

Nine-Two (9-2)

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  • Twiggy: Because the famous supermodel's waist measurement was said to be 29 inches.
  • Montana Banana: Bananas will grow in Montana's cold climate before someone wins with this hand.

Nicknames for Hands with Eights

Eight-Eight (8-8)

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  • Snowmen: Nicknamed due to the 8's resemblance to a snowman.
  • Time Travel: Because the DeLorean in the movie ‘Back to the Future’ needed to reach 88mph to travel through time.
  • Piano/Wurlitzer: Refers to the number of keys on a piano/organ keyboard.
  • Pretzels: Looks like the twists of two pretzels.
  • Lacey: The 8s resemble shoelaces.

Eight-Seven (8-7)

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  • RPM: Refers to the speed of old-fashioned records, spun at 78 revolutions per minute.

Eight-Six (8-6)

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  • Eubie: If you bet this hand "u-be" broke.
  • Maxwell Smart: The number moniker of the character Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) from the TV show ‘Get Smart’.
  • Rick James: For the famous singer who passed away on August 6th, 2004.
  • Pooch: For the player Bill Puccio who swears this is the winningest hand.

Eight-Five (8-5)

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  • Chad: The number of football player Chad Ochocinco, which is the literal Spanish translation of "eight five".

Eight-Four (8-4)

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  • Orwell: For the author George Orwell who wrote the book ‘1984’.
  • Big Brother: A reference to Orwell's famous book ‘1984’.

Eight-Three (8-3)

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  • Raquel Welch: Either because she claims to be 38 every year, or because of her curvaceous measurements.

Eight-Two (8-2)

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  • Tadpole: What the duck ate.

Nicknames for Hands with Sevens

Seven-Seven (7-7)

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  • Hockey Sticks: Because a 7 looks like an upside-down hockey stick.
  • Candy Canes: For the resemblance to a pair of candy canes.
  • Axes/Walking Sticks/Mullets/Scythes: Because 7s look a little like these things.
  • Sunset Strip: Reference to the television show ‘77 Sunset Strip’.

Seven-Six (7-6)

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  • Trombones: From the song ‘76 Trombones’.
  • Union Oil: For Union 76 gas stations.

Seven-Five (7-5)

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  • 007: For the winning hand in the Bond movie ‘Casino Royale’.
  • Heinz: For the ‘57 varieties’ line used to advertise Heinz.
  • Vietnamese Slick: The Vietnam War ended in '75.

Seven-Four (7-4)

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  • Kalashnikov: A reference to the AK-47 assault rifle (confusingly, but understandably, some may also use this to describe Ace-King).
  • Double Down: Always Double Down on 11 in Blackjack.

Seven-Three (7-3)

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  • Dutch Waiter/Swedish Busboy: Sven carrying a tray.
  • Joe Hachem: For the 2005 WSOP main event champion who flopped a straight with 7-3 to win the Main Event.

Seven-Two (7-2)

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  • W.H.I.P.: (Off-suit only) The acronym for "Worst Hand in Poker."

Nicknames for Hands with Sixes

Six-Six (6-6)

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  • Cherries: Because sixes look like cherries.
  • Route 66: After the famous old road between LA and Chicago.
  • Kicks: For the lyric "Get your Kicks on Route 66."

Six-Five (6-5)

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  • Bus Pass: Because free bus passes are given to UK citizens over 65.

Six-Four (6-4)

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  • Billion Dollar Hand: Reference to the popular old TV show ‘The $64,000 Question’.
  • Gilchrist: The Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist hit a lot of 6s and 4s.

Six-Three (6-3)

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  • Spanish Inquisition: Because it is an unassuming hand that nobody expects to win. From the Monty Python quote "nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition."

Six-Two (6-2)

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  • Aimsworth: Byron ‘Cowboy’ Wolford once played this hand and ended up with four deuces. When asked what he was drawing to, he said he wasn’t drawing, he was just ‘aiming for another deuce’, leading to this unusual nickname for an unusual hand.

Nicknames for Hands with Fives

Five-Five (5-5)

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  • Nickels: A nickel is worth 5 cents.
  • Speed Limit: Nickname given because 55 is a common US speed limit on highways.
  • Sammy Hagar: From his pop song "I Can't Drive 55."
  • Snakes: For the resemblance to a pair of snakes.

Five-Four (5-4)

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  • Colt 45: For the famous pistol.
  • Jesse James: Because the gunslinger was allegedly shot by a .45.
  • Moneymaker: The hand held by famous poker player Chris Moneymaker to win the 2003 WSOP.

Five-Three (5-3)

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  • Juggernaut: From ‘Magic: The Gathering’. This artifact card has the power of five and toughness of three.

Five-Two (5-2)

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  • Bomber: From the big B-52 bomber aircraft.
  • Pick-up: After the ‘card game’ 52 card pick-up.
  • Two Bits: The archaic reference to a 25-cent piece.
  • Quarter: 25 cents.

Nicknames for Hands with Fours

Four-Four (4-4)

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  • Darth Vader (two black cards): Dark Side of the Fours.
  • Magnum: Because the famous Magnum pistol is a .44 caliber.
  • Sailboats: Nicknamed because the double fours look like two sails.
  • Luke Skywalker/Princess Leia: May the Fours be with you.

Four-Three (4-3)

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  • Waltz: Because musical waltzes are always in ¾ time.
  • Books: What is a tree for?

Four-Two (4-2)

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  • Jack Bauer: For the character in 24.
  • Lumberman's Hand: Nicknamed for the common lumber stock two by four (2x4).
  • The Answer: Referring to the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything in the novel/movie "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

Nicknames for Hands with Threes

Three-Three (3-3)

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  • Crabs: Nicknamed due to the number's resemblance to a crab on its side.
  • Treys: Taken from the Old French word for three (tres).

Three-Two (3-2)

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  • The Nut Low: The lowest possible hand in poker.
  • Michael Jordan: The basketball great wore jersey number 23.

Nicknames for Hands with Twos

Two-Two (2-2)

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  • Ducks: Twos are often called ducks in poker, there's a vague similarity in appearance.
  • Desmond: Named after Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
  • Quack Quack: The sound two ducks make.
  • Richard Nixon: Nicknamed after Richard Nixon's famous double peace sign.
  • Swarovskis: Resemble the Swarovski Crystal swans.