The Dead Man’s Hand Explained – What is the Dead Man’s Hand in Poker?

Two pairs – one of black eights and one of black aces. That’s the hand that we all know as the ‘Dead Man’s Hand’. How did it get its name, though? What was the birth of one of the most popular terms in poker culture terminology? In this article, we’ll be exploring all of the things you should know about the Dead Man’s Hand!

What is the Dead Man’s Hand, Really?

The Dead Man’s Hand consists of a poker hand with an unnamed card and a pair of black aces plus a pair of black eights. This would be considered a fantastic hand to have in any poker game, but not by those who hold strong beliefs in bad luck. The Dead Man’s Hand is a hand that might win you a game, but it’s cursed (according to popular beliefs, that is).

Where Did the Dead Man’s Hand Come From?

The term originated sometime in the early 1920s, back when the American west still had its fair share of bandits and cowboys, even though the culture was starting to change. According to the legends, a lawman who used to love poker that went by the name of Wild Bill was shot in the head with a revolver in the middle of a poker hand. The man had a pair of eights and a pair of aces on him, according to most sources. Some say that he held different cards, but the two black pairs are the most accepted theory and the one that made its way to the grassroots of today-s poker culture.

The Truth About the Dead Man’s Hand in Poker

We won’t lie to you – two pairs aren’t the most powerful in poker. However, it’s a fantastic hand to have and one that could win you a complicated round in most poker tables. As such, as unlucky as the Dead Man’s Hand might seem to be according to the legends, it’s a powerful hand that would win most rounds of poker in any casino. If you’re able to see past the superstition that surrounds the two black pairs, then you’ll see how much of a powerful asset it is to have the Dead Man’s Hand at your disposal!

The Influence of the Dead Man’s Hand in Modern Poker

If you ask any professional poker player, it’s likely that they’ll tell you that they know about the Dead Man’s hand, but they don’t really hold anything against it or in favor of it. However, it has influenced poker pop culture massively, and there have even been songs that have revolved around the concept of the Dead Man’s Hand. The Dead Man’s Hand is also seen in videogames, movies, and TV shows. It may or may not be a myth, but one thing’s for sure – it’s one of the most recognizable hands in poker.

Raise the Stakes in Online Poker at the Best Online Casinos

Now that you know all about the Dead Man’s Hand, you might want to check out some of the best casinos at which you can try your luck and see whether you manage to get a lucky (or unlucky) draw and get a strong but deadly hand. We’ll be providing you with a list of online casinos that have poker at their disposal. Also, these are casinos that come with some fantastic casino bonuses to help you play without spending a dime of your own cash.

Casino Extra

The Casino Extra always seems to be doing that little extra to keep their players happily entertained, and the number of poker games that can be found on this site goes to show how true that statement is. The site comes packed with hundreds of things to do, which range from traditional slots to the best table games on the planet. That’s not all, though – you can log into the Casino Extra and claim its fantastic rewards to get your adventure started with a loud bang. Don’t miss out on free money – there’s no reason to do it!

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mBit Casino

Looking to enjoy the best online casino games at a bitcoin casino? If so, then you might want to pay a quick visit to mBit and see what they’re all about. This fantastic site doesn’t only pack fantastic casino bonuses, it’s also one of the casinos with the largest welcome bonus that you can claim in the world. Enjoy the popular mBit Races or simply log into the site to play some poker at their live dealer casino. There are also virtual tables that you can visit to play poker against the computer in case you don’t like the pressure of real-life dealers.

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One Casino

The One Casino is a cool site that has a great live dealer section as well as one of the best table game sections in the world. If you’re keen to play poker, then we encourage you to visit their virtual tables and enjoy some of the highest quality gameplay that the industry has to offer. Don’t do it before claiming the amazing bonuses that the One Casino has gathered for you and every player in the world, though!

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Play Poker Now & Win Amazing Prizes from Home!

The Dead Man’s Hand might be considered a symbol of bad luck, but how truly unlucky would you be if you had these amazing cards on you? Not so much, we think! If you wish to try out your luck and see how you handle a Dead Man’s Hand, you already know where to start. Visit any of the fantastic casinos that we’ve mentioned and start an adventure that might end up with your pockets full of chips!

Last updated  September 15, 2022
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About the author




Marco holds the title as Chief Content Writer and has a Mass Communications Major with a Specialization in Digital Marketing. He's an experienced casino writer with more than half a decade of gambling-related work on his back. He took a keen interest in gambling as a young adult and started writing expert content for the casino and sports betting niche in 2015. Now, he specializes in online slots, table games, and sports betting – producing well-researched content on all fronts of the iGaming world. He's also a regular contributor to Quora, where you can ask him anything related to online gambling and he’ll happily answer!

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