Dead Mans Hand Poker
Dead Mans Hand poker mythology still is up for debate on some aspects, but what is for sure is that the poker hand is a pair of Aces and a pair of eights. Many times people that play poker refers to any hand having any hand that has a pair of Aces and eights as the dead man's hand, but truly the term dead mans hand poker comes from the game of 5-card stud poker. The origin of the hand comes from the Wild West, as Wild Bill Hickok was holding that hand when he was shot in the head by Jack McCall on August 2nd 1876, in Nuttal & Mann's Saloon at Deadwood, South Dakota.
According to the legend Hickok's hand were all of black suits in the Ace of clubs and spades and the eight of clubs and spades. However, in today's use of the term, the suit of the dead mans hand poker does not matter, as anyone that has a pair of Aces and a pair of eights in poker is the dead man's hand.
The one part about the poker legend that still remains a mystery is the fifth card. There are some that say it was the queen of clubs, but it is still a mystery. Some suggestions are that he discarded one of the cards and was waiting for the 5th before he was shot and killed and some that he had the 5th card and was waiting for the other players to act before being gunned down, hence the name dead man's hand.
Jack McCall was apparently insulted by Hickok the day before he was shot. Hickok bought him breakfast and told him not to play poker again until he paid off his debts from losing. The next day there was another poker game and Hickok was not in his usual position with his back against a wall for protection. McCall was drunk and came up behind Hickok and killed him. He was caught and tried and found innocent, but then caught again in Wyoming tried and hung.
While the connotation to the dead man's poker hand is a little eerie since Hickok died after being dealt it a pair of Aces and eights, the dead mans hand poker hand is actually a very good hand in poker. While the hand was a good one, in general, it was not a good one for Wild Bill Hickok, who never got to finish his poker game.
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