Holdem Poker has a rich tapestry of character. From old days on the Mississippi to modern day internet whiz kids, poker has been played all types of people in all manners of locations. Subsequently almost every hand in poker has a name and can tell you a story.
The most powerful hand before the flop in Texas Holdem Poker is two Aces. Subsquently they generate the most excitement and colourful names. The most common names for two Aces are Rockets, Pocket Rockets, and Bullets (for obvious reasons). They are named after several famous people and organisations with initials starting with the letter “A” including Alan Alda, Albert Anastasia, and American Airlines. They are also known as numerous pointy and sharp objects including Rocky Mountains, Sticks, Teepees and Two Pips. A few obscure references include Squirrel (the nuts) and Batteries (Double A). Individual names for a single Ace include Bull, Bullet, Death Card (spades), Mastercard, One Spot, Puppy Foot (clubs), Seed, Sharp Top, Spike and Tax Card (spades).
Two kings are another strong hand preflop in holdem and are commonly known as Cowboys. Another name is Butchers of Baghdad (so named in reference to Saddam Hussein on the Iraqi most wanted playing cards). Alliterations of KK include Krispy Kreme and King Kong (and also Gorillas, Gorillas in the Mist). Ace Magnets is common because an Ace always comes on the flop. A King is also known as David (spades), Julius Caesar or One eyed king (diamonds), K-Boy, Monarch, Sergeant, Alexander (clubs), Charlemagne or Charles (hearts). Another fitting term for this hand is The Elvis Presley (The King of Rock n Roll).
Queens often have nasty nicknames, partly because of the number of times they are beaten by Aces and Kings, but also through reference to homosexuality. Some nicer terms include Lovely Ladies, Ladies, Calamity Jane (likely extensive of Cowboys for KK) and Snowshoes (resemblance to the original shape of snowshoes). Crude nicknames include Siegfried and Roy and B***hes.
Other pairs such as Jacks through to Twos all have a nickname or two. Jacks are commonly known as Hooks or Fish-hooks. Less known names include Rent boys, Kid Dyne-o-mite (TV show reference), Brothers, Jay Birds, John Juanda (Poker Player) and finally possible the most vulgar – Colostomy Bag (as Jack is slang for toilet in some countries). Two Tens are referenced as Two Dimes, TNT, Dynamite and Binary (In Binary 1010 is the equivalent of 10). Nines are known as Barbara Feldon (Get Smart- Agent 99), German Virgins (Nein), Phil Helmuth (Won WSOP in 1989), Popeye, Pot hooks and Wayne Gretzky (Hockey Player). Two eights are Snowmen, Dawg Balls, Piano Keys, Little Oldsmobile, Racetracks, Two Fat Ladies, Lacey, Pretzels, and Wurlitzer. Sevens are axes, mullets, hockey sticks or walking sticks. A couple of sixes are known as Cherries, Boots or Kicks (On Route 66). Fives are Presto, Snakes or Speed Limit, while Fours are Canadian Presto, Dark Force, Darth Vader, Magnum and Sail boats. A Pair of threes is either crabs (claw shaped like the number 3) or treys and a pair of Twos is usually Deuces, Ducks, or Quack Quack (in reference to the number two being shaped like a duck).
Hands that aren’t a pair often have nicknames too. Ace-King is commnoly known as Big Slick. Names include backronyms such as Korean Airlines and King Arthur as well as normally acronyms such as Anna Kournikova. The Kalashnikov is another nickname, aptly named after the designer of the AK-47. An Ace and a Queen is known as Big Chick or Mrs Slick. Notable hands include Jack-Four (Flat Tire – what’s a Jack for?), J6 (Rail Road – phonetics of Jacks n Sixes sounds like a train). Probably the least appealing and most famous hand is the Ten-Deuce also known as the Doyle Brunson after he successful made two full houses in World Series of Poker final tables.
There are thousands of hand nicknames and only a few of the commoner ones have been listed here. If you are interesting in other poker starting hand nicknames I recommend checking out Wikipedia for an extensive list of common names.
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