James McManus wrote a series of articles about the history of poker that appeared in Card Player magazine. The August 15, 2007 installment, stll available online in the CP archives, is titled "Aces and Eights" and tells
the story of Wild Bill Hickok. He says this about the cards in the famous hand:
"Every witness agrees they included two pair, aces and eights, and some say the fifth card was the nine of diamonds. Whatever the kicker was, aces and eights have been known ever since as The Dead Man's Hand. No real or fictional hand of poker - not Yancey Howard's unlikely straight flush to bust the Cincinnati Kid, not Jimmy the Greek's jack in the hole against Johnny Moss, not even Henry Gondorf's double cold deck that gave him four jacks to Doyle Lonigan's four nines, or even that other Doyle's immortal ten-deuce, with which he won consecutive World Series of Poker
championships - is anywhere near as notorious."