Poker hand rankings and nicknames

The game of poker - Texas Hold'em in particular - is exciting and vibrant. One of the things that make it so entertaining is the unique vocabulary developed by its players to describe the 'high' poker hand rankings the game uses. The hand nicknames for many of the more common hands are used by spectators, and by the players, so knowing the lingo greatly enhances the enjoyment and understanding of the game.

We have got you covered with our poker hand chart and guide to many of the unique names for Hold'em hands. Read on to learn about the poker straight, poker flush, cowboys and pocket rockets, so the next time you sit down at a poker table, you can sound like a pro and identify the best poker combinations with ease.

Poker Hand Rankings

Want to know a royal flush from a full house? Here are the top 10 winning poker hands ordered from highest to lowest so you always know the best (and worst) cards to play when youre at the tables. Learn more about poker hands and rankings or basic poker rules here.

Ace Spades King Spades Queen Spades Jack Spades Ten Spades
Royal Flush
Having all face cards in order from Ace down to 10, all in the same suit, it ranks as the highest hand possible in poker.
Nine Diamonds Eight Diamonds Seven Diamonds Six Diamonds Five Diamonds
Straight Flush
Having a series of cards of any one suit in numerical order.
Ace Clubs Ace Hearts Ace Diamonds Ace Spades King Spades
Four of a Kind
Holding all of the identical cards from each suit. If two players both hold four-of-a-kind poker card hands, the highest ranking of the four-of-a-kind cards wins.
Ace Clubs Ace Diamonds Ace Spades King Hearts King Spades
Full House
Three-of-a-kind and a pair in the same hand. If two or more players hold a full house, the highest three-of-a-kind wins. So, if a hand contained 3 aces and 2 kings (also known as "Aces full of Kings") it would beat 3 kings and 2 aces (also known as "Kings full of Aces").
Ace Hearts Jack Hearts Nine Hearts Six Hearts Three Hearts
Five cards of the same suit regardless of order, the high card determines the winner of a tied hand.
Nine Spades Eight Diamonds Seven Spades Six Diamonds Five Clubs
Five cards in numerical order regardless of suit. An Ace can count as either a "1" or the high face card.
Ace Clubs Ace Spades Ace Diamonds Jack Hearts Three Spades
Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same face value, if tied with another player with three of a kind the highest face value wins.
Ace Clubs Ace Diamonds King Hearts King Diamonds Four Spades
Two Pair
Two pairings of identical value cards. The higher valued cards of the two pairs determine the rank with the best possible combination being Aces and Kings. If both competing hands are the same, the higher card in the remainder of the hand is the "kicker" or "high card."
Ace Diamonds Ace Hearts Nine Diamonds Five Spades Four Spades
One Pair
Any two cards of the same value, highest pair wins in the event of two players holding a pair. If both competing hands are the same, the higher card in the remainder of the hand is the "kicker" or "high card."
Ace Spades Queen Diamonds Jack Hearts Six Diamonds Five Spades
High Card
When no player at the table holds a qualified hand, the highest card (with Ace being the highest possible value) is the winner.

Poker Hand Nicknames

If you are looking for a particular hand you can click here to jump to those hands:

Ace Diamonds King Hearts Queen Spades Jack Hearts Ten Clubs Nine Diamonds Eight Clubs Seven Hearts Six Spades Five Diamonds Four Spades Three Hearts Two Clubs

Do you know of a hand nickname that we missed? Please contact us and let us know!

Hands with Aces

Cards Name Explanation
Ace DiamondsAce Spades
Alan Alda The double "A's" are also an acronym of the star of TV's popular series M*A*S*H.
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 center 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."
Flying Nazis Because the A's look like airplanes and successful pilots are known as aces. Nazis had a successful squadron of flying "aces".
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.
Needles The A's look like the top of the needle with the center of the "A" being the eye.
Pocket Rockets This nickname is given a pair of aces for the fact that they look like rockets, and since these pairs are "pocket cards" they are called pocket rockets.
Snake Eyes (or Eyes) The pair of Aces is associated with the snake eyes (rolling a single) in dice.
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 "gets the red out."
Ace DiamondsKing Spades
Anna Kournikova The Ace/King combo gets this nickname for sharing the initials of the popular tennis star and because it looks great, but rarely wins.
Big Slick Because this looks like an easy winner, many novice players lose a lot of money betting on it.
Big Ugly The opposite of the Big Slick because it should be beautiful, but if it is off suit it is ugly and unappealing.
Exxon Valdez (Given only to A/K of spades, A/K of clubs or combo of spade/club) Because it's a lot of black - resembling oil.
King Arthur Sharing the initials of King Arthur, the legendary King of Camelot, if held as King/Ace.
Korean Airlines Sharing the initials of the commercial airline of South Korea.
Mike Haven A special designation given for the man who played this pair in two pre-flops all-in in a row to win at the final table.
Walking Back to Houston Because "Texas" players who originated this variety of poker, and bet too heavily on it ended up "walking back to Houston" as a loser.
Ace ClubsQueen Hearts
Antony & Cleopatra Because the pair shares the initials of the famous Shakespearian lovers Marc Anthony and Queen Cleopatra.
Big Chick The queen is the King's "chick" and the Ace/Queen pair is a lesser imitation of the Big Slick (Ace/King pairing).
Big Slut Because the Queen is a slut trying to imitate the King in the Big Slick pairing.
Little Slick Close imitation of, but smaller than the Big Slick.
Mrs. Slick The King's missus, imitating the Big Slick.
Rocket Queen The Ace resembles a rocket and is paired with the queen, this nickname also comes from a Guns & Roses song.
Ace HeartsJack Hearts
Armani Jeans Sharing the acronym with the famous clothing line jeans.
Apple Jacks Sharing the initials of the popular cereal brand.
Ajax A phonetic similarity (Ace/Jack, A-Jacks) to the cleaning product.
Blackjack Because the Ace/Jack is the highest possible hand in blackjack.
Foamy Cleanser From the association with Ajax.
Jackass A bastardization of Jack/Ace.
Ace ClubsTen Diamonds
Johnny Moss Because he began his poker career at the age of 10.
Bookends Bookends - Each part of the end of the highest poker straight (top to bottom: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten).
Ace DiamondsNine Hearts
Rounders Hand Made popular as the final hand in the movie "Rounders".
McDerment A colloquialism of the last name of the character Mike McDermott in the movie "Rounders".
Jesus (also known as Chris Ferguson) Chris Ferguson won the final hand of the 2000 WSOP with the A/9 pair over TJ Cloutier's Ace/Queen.
Gimp Because it's weak compared to any Ace/face card pair.
Ace SpadesEight Spades
Dead Man's Hand The pairing held by famous gunfighter and lawman "Wild Bill Hickok" when he was murdered. Also called this because the holder is likely "dead" in the game.
Ace ClubsSeven Spades
Slapshot Nicknamed for the 7's resemblance to a hockey stick and the Ace being a bullet (hockey puck).
The Sonnert Because professional poker player Bengt Sonnert won with it in the European WSOP in 2008.
Ace DiamondsSix Clubs
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 airliner-also known as being a member of the mile high club.
Tennessee Ernie Ford Singer of the popular country/folk song "Sixteen Tons."
Ace HeartsFive Diamonds
High Five The "high" card (Ace) combined with the five, nicknamed for the popular celebratory greeting.
Ace ClubsFour Spades
Plane Crash Because the A/4 combination resembles the double Ace combination with one of the "wings" missing (the 4 being a 'partial' Ace), and the Ace associated with flying: American Airlines, Korean Airlines, flying Nazis). So an airplane with a broken wing crashes.
Stu Ungar Famous player Stu Ungar won his last three WSOP titles with this hand as part of a poker straight.
Transvestite Because the holder of this pair may think he's holding a pair of Aces at first glance, if the second card (4) is partially hidden, and is unhappy to find the second half of the pair is a fake.
Ace SpadesThree Spades
Ashtray Due to the phonetic similarity of Ace-Trey (French for Three).
Baskin-Robbins The Ace/Three (numerically 1 and 3) are given the nickname due to Baskin Robin's famous 31 flavors of ice cream.
Thrace The dual meaning comes from a combination of the word Thrice (for three times) and ace, as well as for the geographical location in Southeastern Europe Thrace.
Ace DiamondsTwo Hearts
Acey-Ducey From the game of the same name.
Hunting Season Nicknamed because Aces are bullets and twos are commonly referred to as ducks, so if you are holding the ace/two it's hunting season.
Little Slick The lowest possible imitation of "Big Slick."

Hands with Kings

Cards Name Explanation
King DiamondsKing Hearts
Ace Magnets Given this name because a pair of Aces is the only set that can beat this.
Cowboys The phonetic similarities between the K in Kings and the C in Cowboys. Also, Texas was famous for its poker players and cowboys. Players with this hand will play it fast and reckless, like a cowboy.
King Kong A big, strong hand that also shares the initials of the famous movie ape.
King HeartsQueen Hearts
Marriage For the union between a king and a queen.
King DiamondsJack Hearts
Kojak Given for the phonetic similarity to TV's detective.
Bachelor's Hand or Jackoff (Unsuited) Because the hand is a "jack off-suit".
King SpadesTen Spades
Katie The phonetic word formed by K-ten.
Big Al Named for the big time poker player from Wisconsin nicknamed "Big Al" Emerson.
King HeartsNine Spades
Canine Nickname given due to the phonetic sound of the King and Nine pronounced together.
Dog Because of the name canine.
King ClubsEight Hearts
Kate Named for the phonetic pronunciation of K-eight.
King HeartsSeven Spades
Columbia River Famous for its king salmon runs, the King Seven shares a phonetic similarity to King Salmon.
King DiamondsSix Hearts
Kicks A combination of the words king and six together.
King SpadesFive Spades
Seattle Special Named for the Seattle, US, King County television station.
King ClubsFour Hearts
Fork The phonetic combination of the words four and k together.
King DiamondsThree Spades
King Crab Because 3's resemble a sideways crab and King Crab is a popular food item.
King HeartsTwo Diamonds
King Fritz Named for the famous German poker pro Andreas Fritz.
Donald A reference to Donald Duck, the king of the cartoon ducks (used most often when the hand is offsuit).

Hands with Queens

Cards Name Explanation
Queen ClubsQueen Hearts
Bitches The derogatory nickname for two women.
Four Tits The obvious nickname for a pair of women's breasts.
Queen DiamondsJack Hearts
Maverick From the popular western show of the same name whose theme song references "livin' on jacks and queens".
Queen SpadesTen Spades
Robert Varkonyi The winner of the WSOP in 2002 with this hand.
Quint For the phonetic similarity to Queen-Ten.
Queen DiamondsNine Hearts
Quinine For the similarity to the sound of the name of a well-known malaria drug.
Queen ClubsEight Spades
Kuwait Phonetically similar to Q-eight.
Queen HeartsSeven Hearts
Computer Hand Because it is statistically equally likely to be ahead or behind any other single random hand. It was found to have a 50% chance to win and 50% chance to lose against any two cards.
Queen SpadesFive Spades
Granny Mae Because the queen's job is to have offspring for the king and is likely to become a granny, and May is the fifth month of the year.
Queen ClubsFour Hearts
Housework What is a queen for?
Queen HeartsThree Clubs
San Francisco Busboy Because the California city of San Francisco is famous for its gay community (queens) and the Q3 pair is a queen with a tray.
Gay Waiter or Windsor Waiter Queen with a tray.
Queen SpadesTwo Clubs
Daisy A reference to Daisy Duck Donald Duck's partner.
Queen Liz Nicknamed as a reference to Queen Elizabeth the second.

Hands with Jacks

Cards Name Explanation
Jack ClubsTen Hearts
Justin Timberlake Nicknamed for sharing the same initials.
T. J. Hooker Nicknamed after the 80's TV character played by William Shatner.
Jack DiamondsNine Clubs
Braggars Because nines and jacks are wild in braggars poker.
Jack SpadesEight Hearts
Jeffrey Dahmer Named for the infamous serial killer who "ate Jack".
Jack ClubsSeven Spades
Jack Daniels Nicknamed for the popular brand of whiskey "Jack Daniels" whose full name includes No. 7 Tennessee whiskey.
Jack HeartsSix Hearts
Railroad Because if you say Jacks and sixes repeatedly quick it sounds like a train going over tracks.
Jack SpadesFive Diamonds
Motown For the famous music label's association with the Jackson Five also called "J5".
Jackson Five For sharing the "J5" moniker of the famous Motown singing group the Jackson Five.
Jack DiamondsFour Spades
Flat Tire What's a jack for?
The New Motown Because now the Motown group has only four members.
Jack SpadesThree Hearts
J-Lo Nickname for the famous movie star Jennifer Lopez and the 3's resemblance to her highly publicized butt.
Jack HeartsTwo Spades
Heckle and Jeckle Named for the early television cartoon "J-birds" of the same name (2 Jays).

Hands with Tens

Cards Name Explanation
Ten DiamondsTen Spades
Dimes Because a dime is worth ten cents.
Tension Holding this pair can cause a lot of tension, it is the first of the bigger pairs that holds a high chance of winning, but isn't high enough to ensure a sure thing.
Ten HeartsNine Clubs
Countdown Because most tension building countdowns begin with 10 9
Ten SpadesSeven Spades
Bowling Hand Named for the 7/10 split in bowling.
Ten DiamondsSix Spades
Sweet Nicknamed for the "one-six" sweet sixteen.
Ten HeartsFive Diamonds
Woolworth Nicknamed for the very first "five and dime store" of the early 20th century.
Merfs Named for the draw poker game of the same name where tens and fives are wild cards.
Ten SpadesFour Hearts
Broderick Crawford The popular actor who was famous for using the call sign "10-4" on the show "Highway Patrol".
Ten DiamondsThree Spades
Fast Connection Named for the super-fast T3 internet connection speed.
Ten ClubsTwo Hearts
Doyle Brunson For the 1976/77 WSOP Champion's winning hand.

Hands with Nines

Cards Name Explanation
Nine HeartsNine Diamonds
Phil Hellmuth Named for the holder of the 1989 WSOP winner who won with this hand.
Nine ClubsEight Hearts
Olds or Oldsmobile Because the '98 Oldsmobile was the biggest of the line.
Nine SpadesSix Diamonds
"Big Lick" A sexual reference to (69) and in relation to the "Big Slick".
Breakfast of Champions A sexual reference to the 69 position.
Happy Meal A sexual reference to the 69 position.
Nine HeartsFive Diamonds
Dolly or Dolly Parton For the star's famous movie "9 to 5."
Hard Working Man Someone who works 9 to 5.
Nine DiamondsFour Clubs
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 ClubsThree Hearts
Jack Benny Because Jack Benny always insisted he was "39" years old.
Nine HeartsTwo Diamonds
Twiggy Because the famously super-thin model's waist measurement was 29 inches.

Hands with Eights

Cards Name Explanation
Eight SpadesEight Diamonds
Snowmen Nicknamed due to the 8's resemblance of a snowman.
Dog Balls (Doggie Balls) A cute moniker alluding to the fact that an 8 looks like a pair of balls.
Fat Ladies Because it looks like a pair of fat women side-by-side.
Time Travel Because the time machine in the movie "Back to the Future" needed to reach 88 mph to travel through time.
Wurlitzer Refers to the number of keys on a piano/organ.
Pretzels Looks like the twists of two pretzels.
Eight SpadesSeven Clubs
RPM Refers to the speed of the old-fashioned records that spun at 78 revolutions per minute.
Eight DiamondsSix Hearts
Henry Bowen For the Texas gambler.
Eubie If you bet this pair "u-be" broke.
Maxwell Smart The number moniker of the character Maxwell Smart from televisions "Get Smart".
Rick James For the famous singer who passed away on August 6th.
Pooch For the player Bill Puccio who swears this is the winningest hand.
Eight HeartsFive Diamonds
Chad The number of football player Chad Ochocinco, which is the literal Spanish translation of "eighty five".
Eight DiamondsFour Clubs
Orwell For the author George Orwell who wrote the book 1984.
Big Brother A reference to the theme of George Orwell's book 1984.
Eight SpadesThree Hearts
Raquel Welch Because she claims to be 38 every year.

Hands with Sevens

Cards Name Explanation
Seven DiamondsSeven Hearts
Hockey Sticks Because a 7 looks like an upside down hockey stick.
Candy Canes For the resemblance to a pair of candy canes.
Sunset Strip Reference to the television show "77 Sunset Strip".
Seven DiamondsSix Clubs
Trombones For the old song 76 Trombones.
Union Oil For the old Union 76 gas stations.
Seven SpadesFive Spades
007 (double Oh seven) For the winning hand in the Bond movie "Casino Royale."
Heinz For the 57 sauces of Heinz.
Seven ClubsFour Hearts
Kalashnikov A reference to the AK-47 assault rifle.
Seven HeartsThree Diamonds
Dutch Waiter/Swedish Busboy Sven carrying a tray.
Joe Hachem For the 2005 WSOP main event champion who won with a 7/3.
Seven DiamondsTwo Hearts
Beer Hand If you win with this hand you deserve a beer. Also given this nickname because only someone drinking too much beer would bet on this hand.
W.H.I.P. The acronym for "worst hand in poker."

Hands with Sixes

Cards Name Explanation
Six ClubsSix Spades
Cherries Due to the fact that a six looks like a cherry.
Six SpadesFive Hearts
Bus Pass Because free bus passes are given to UK citizens over 65.
Ken Warren For his winning WSOP hand.
Six HeartsFour Spades
Billion Dollar Hand Reference to the popular old TV show the "$64,000 Question."
Six DiamondsThree Hearts
Blocky Nickname of Broomcorn from author Doyle Brunson's "SuperSystem" that used the 63 as an ambush.
Spanish Inquisition Because it is an unassuming hand that nobody expects to win. From the Monty Python quote "nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition."

Hands with Fives

Cards Name Explanation
Five SpadesFive Clubs
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 DiamondsFour Hearts
Colt 45 For the famous gun.
Jesse James Because the gunslinger was shot by a .45.
Moneymaker The winning poker hand of the famous poker player Chris Moneymaker at the 2003 WSOP.
Five ClubsThree Hearts
Juggernaut From the Magic: The Gathering where the artifact card had the power of five and toughness of three.
Five HeartsTwo Spades
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.

Hands with Fours

Cards Name Explanation
Four ClubsFour Spades
Magnum Because the famous gun the Magnum is a "44."
Sailboats Nicknamed due to the fact that the double fours look like two sails.
Four HeartsThree Diamonds
Waltz Because musical waltzes are always in time.
Books What is a tree for?
Four SpadesTwo Clubs
Jack Bauer For the character in the book "24."
Lumberman's Hand Nicknamed for the common lumber stock two by four (2x4).
The Principle Because it was Canadian politician Steven Hick's favorite hand saying he played it "on principle."
The Answer Referring to the computer's answer to everything in the novel/movie "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

Hands with Threes

Cards Name Explanation
Three DiamondsThree Clubs
Crabs Nicknamed due to the numbers resemblance to a crab on its side.
Treys Taken from the French word for three.
Three HeartsTwo Spades
Can of Corn Baseball reference to an easy to catch fly, coming from a store clerk reaching up and dropping a can off a high shelf. Given the reference because it is the lowest 'non-hand' in poker with 22 being a pair.
The Nut Low The lowest possible hand in poker.
Hooter Hand Because famous dealer Houth "Hooter" Houn played this hand as if it was an AK.

Hands with Twos

Cards Name Explanation
Two SpadesTwo Clubs
Ducks Twos are often called ducks in poker due to the similar appearance to the animal.
Desmond Named after Archbishop Desmond TuTu (2-2).
Quack Quack The sound two ducks make.
Richard Nixon Nicknamed after Richard Nixon's habit of giving a double peace sign (2 fingers).

Now That You've Learned The Poker Rankings

If you want to become a skilled player at the tables, you need have a strong understanding of what hands are likely to lead you to victory. Thanks to the above list, you now know not only the hands youre likely to face, but the nicknames attached to them as well.

Are you interested in further poker strategy related reading? Then make sure to read our guides on poker terms, Starting Hands, How Many Hands You Should Play, History of Poker and Poker Odds. The forums contain a lot of useful information and we've compiled the best poker strategy articles for you to read.

If you want to contribute to our online poker strategy article section, then feel free to get in Contact with us using the link towards the bottom of the page.

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