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

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.

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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!

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Last updated  October 2, 2023
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About the author



Chief Content Writer


Chief Content Writer

Marco is 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.

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