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Nicknames for Texas Hold’em Poker Hands

With the literal poker explosion in the last several years and millions of new players flocking the the game, poker hand nicknames have become more prevalent and popular than ever.

With poker television announcers spreading the word and old-time cardroom regulars passing along the word like cultural oral tradition, new poker players might feel lost amongst the jargon and lingo of seasoned veterans. With the obscurity of some of these nicknames, who can blame them?

While some hand nicknames are fairly transparent (American Airlines, Fish Hooks, and Jackson Five), the newer poker generation may have trouble with others (Broderick Crawford, Dead Man’s Hand, and Walking Back to Houston).

The "Phil Hellmuth" with his namesake and an assist from my then-2-year-old daughter. I think it's an improvement.

The “Phil Hellmuth” with his namesake and an assist from my then-2-year-old daughter. I think it’s an improvement.

Whether to add a bit of humor and sociality to the game or just made out of boredom in between deals, poker is one of the great purveyors of nicknames both for its players and its hands.

While Texas Hold’em starting cards have inspired most of the two-card hand nicknames, some have their roots way back in the Wild West draw poker days.

The following list contains some of the most popular poker hand nicknames:

Nicknames for Hold’em Pocket Pairs

AA

American Airlines

Rockets

Bullets

Snake Eyes

KK

Cowboys

King Kong

QQ

Ladies

JJ

Fishhooks or Hooks

1010

Dimes

99

Phil Hellmuth
(won the 1989 Main Event with two black nines)


Wayne Gretzky

(the Great One’s jersey number)

88

Snowmen

Piano Keys
(88 keys on a piano)

77

Walking Sticks

Sunset Strip
(TV show title)

66

Route 66

Boots
(for the slight resemblance of a boot to a 6)

55

Speed Limit

Presto

44

Magnum
(the .44 Magnum pistol was Dirty Harry’s gun)

Sailboats

33

Crabs

Treys

22

Ducks
(the 2 is similar to a duck’s shape in water)

Big Slick.

Big Slick.

Unpaired Hold’em Starting Hands

AK

Big Slick

Walking Back to Houston
(the old-time Texas poker players were cautious with this tempting, but vulnerable, Hold’em hand. Overplay Ace-King and you’d be left walking back to Houston.)

AQ

Doyle Brunson
(the poker legend hates to play AQ)

AJ

Ajax

A10

Johnny Moss

A8

Dead Man’s Hand
(Wild Bill Hickok was holding Aces and Eights when he was shot and killed)

A3

Baskin-Robbins
(an Ace is also a 1 when playing lowball, making 31 for 31 flavors)

KQ

Marriage

KJ

Kojak

Harry Potter
(J.K. Rowling)

K9

Canine

Fido

K3

King Crab or Commander Crab
(a 3 is often called a “crab”)

QJ

Maverick
(Jacks and Queens from the “Maverick” theme song)

Q7

Computer Hand
(statistically, this is the average winning hand in Hold’em)

J6

Railroad Hand
(supposedly, repeating “Jacks and sixes” sounds like a train on its tracks)

J5

Jackson Five

Motown

J4

Flat Tire
(what’s a jack for?)

10-5

Woolworth
(discount store chain)

10-4

Broderick Crawford
(his catchphrase in “Highway
Patrol”)

10-2

Doyle Brunson or Texas Dolly
(he won both his WSOP Championships with this modest holding)

98

Oldsmobile
(the classiest model was the 98)

93

Jack Benny
(always claimed to be 39 years old)

76

Union Oil
(owns Union 76 gas stations)

75

Heinz
(for Heinz’ 57 flavor varieties)

72

The Hammer

63

Blocky
(from Doyle Brunson’s Super System)

54

Jesse James
(he was allegedly killed with a shot from a .45 pistol)

 

The hammer, statistically the worst starting hand in Hold'em.

The hammer, statistically the worst starting hand in Hold’em.

Other Poker Hands

AKQJT

Broadway

A2345

Wheel

KKK

Three Wise Men

TTT

Thirty Miles of Bad Road
(Gilroy to San Jose)

QQKK

Mommas and Poppas

AK47

Assault Rifle
(named after the Russian machine gun)

222

Huey, Dewey, and Louie
(three famous “ducks”)

Unbeatable
Hand

Nuts

Four of a
Kind

Quads

Club Flush

Golf Bag

3 of a Kind

Set
(using a pocket pair)

Trips
(using a pair on the board)

Any Face
Card

Paint

 

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