Here's The Real Story Behind "Dead Man's Hand" Poker Legend!


You have probably heard the term ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ if you played poker couple of times in your life. But do you know where it came from?

The term ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ is actually based on a real story.

But let us explain the concept before we explain its story. As you know, there are many kinds of poker, but the main logic is simply to make the best 5-card poker hand.

For instance, “aces square” that we sometimes hear in the movies, which means to have 4 aces in your hand, is a great example of a good hand.

Having similar cards at the same time, like having a pair of kings, and a pair of eights or a hand of cards where all cards are of the same suit gives you an advantage.

Poker rules are pretty long but in a nutshell; if you can bring similar cards together in your hand, your chance to win increases.

Now let's get to our main topic: Dead Man’s Hand. This situation means you have a 2 pair poker hand consisting of black aces and black eights and a fifth card called “hole,” whose number and suit do not matter. It’s a good poker hand especially because of the aces.

But what’s the story behind? Here it is;

It was the year of 1876. A merciless gunfighter, Old West hero Wild Bill Hickock was murdered by Jack McCall during a game while holding a pair of 8’s and a pair of Aces.

He died before having the chance to see the 5th card. The number and suit of that card are still controversial.

Since then, having a poker hand of those 4 cards is called ‘Dead Man’s Hand.’

This incident takes a huge part in pop culture also. So much that it was in the movie Little Big Man (1970), Bob Dylan’s song Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willieé and many other movies like  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

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