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List of playing-card nicknames

This list of playing card nicknames has the common nicknames for the playing cards in a 52-card deck, as used in some common card games, such as poker.

Single cards

The following is a list of nicknames used for playing cards used in most card games which use the standard 52-card pack. Such games usually require the revealing or announcement of held cards, at which point the nicknames may be used.

Card Name Initial Alternative Names Collective Names
King K Cowboy, K-Boy, Knight, Monarch, Sergeant, Alexander (K♣), Charlemagne (K♥), Charles (K♥), David (K♠), Julius Caesar (K♦), One-Eyed King (K♦), the Man with the Ax (K♦), Suicide King (K♥), The Butcher of Baghdad (K♦) Coat Card, Court Card, Face Card, Figure, Liner, Paint, Paintskin, Picture, Picture Card, Redskin, Rembrandt, Royal Cards, Picasso, Monkey Broadway Cards, Honor Card
Queen Q Cowgirl, Dame, Lady, Girl, Hen, Joy Girl, Painted Lady, mop-squeezer, Bedpost Queen (Q♠), Argine (Q♣), Black Maria (Q♠), Calamity Jane (Q♠), Helen of Troy (Q♥), Judith (Q♥), Molly Hogan (Q♠), Dirty Gertie (Q♠), Pallas Athena (Q♠),Fanny Kaplan (Q♠), Stenographer
Jack J Boy, Bower, Fishhook, Hook, J-Bird, J-Boy, Jackal, Jackson, Jacksonville, Jake, John, Johnny, Johnson, Knave, Valet, Fish Hook, Eunuch (J♠), Hector (J♦), Laughing Boy (J♦), Ogier (J♠), La Hire (J♥), Lancelot (J♣), Pam (J♣), Roland (J♦)
10 T Big Cassino (10♦), Dime, Sawbuck, Bo Derek Spotter Whiteskin N/A
9 9 Neener, Nina Ross, Niner, Curse of Scotland (9♦), Pothook, Scourge of Scotland (9♦) Pusher, Spot
8 8 Fat Lady, Ocho, Snowman, 8 Land, Race track, Time travel, Hog Nads
7 7 Beer Card (7♦), Candy Cane, Hockey Stick, Mullet, Salmon, Walking Stick
6 6 A Boot, Grace's Card (6♥), Loyalty at the Risk of Death (6♥), Sax, Sex N/A
5 5 Five Spot, Nickel, Pedro, Fever Wheelcard
4 4 Boat, Four Spot, One Legged Ace, Broken Ace, Sailboat, Sharp Top, The Devil's Bedpost (4♣)
3 3 Crab, Butts, Trey No-Spotter
2 2 Deuce, Dewey, Duck, Little Cassino (2♠), Swan, The Curse of Mexico (2♠)
Ace A Alas, As-Nas, Clover (A♣) Blackberry (A♣),The Crispin(A♥), Bull, Bullet, Death Card (A♠), Eyes, MasterCard, One Spot, Pig's Eye (A♦), Puppy Foot (A♣), Rocket, Seed, Sharp Top, Spadille (A♠), Spike, Spot, Tax Card (A♠) Broadway Cards, Honor Card
Joker Wildcard, Pagliacci, Old Maid, Trump Card, Imperial Bower, The Fool, The Fly, The Bird

One-eyed royals

The phrase one-eyed royals is jargon referring to the three face cards showing only one eye: the Jack of Spades (J♠), Jack of Hearts (J♥) and King of Diamonds (K♦). The terminology results from the depiction of the face on the card as being shown in profile, so only one eye is visible (all other face cards show two eyes). The jacks are also referred to, separately, as one-eyed jacks: Jack of Spades (J♠), Jack of Hearts (J♥).

They are frequently used in home games of draw poker as wildcards. Because the King of Diamonds is the only king card bearing an axe (the others show swords), a common phrase for the one-eyed royals is "One-eyed Jacks, the Man with the Axe". Another common phrase is "One-eyed Jacks and Suicide King" denoting the King of Hearts (K♥) bearing a sword through his head. These four cards are the only cards of differing rank and suit in a common deck that share an identifying trait.

Texas hold 'em pocket card nicknames

The following is a list of nicknames for pairs of two playing cards, usually hole cards, used in poker derivatives such as Texas hold 'em and Omaha hold 'em poker. These nicknames are usually used by the player when announcing their hand or by spectators or commentators who are watching the game.

Ace higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
Alan Alda An alliteration, Alan Alda was the star of the TV version of M*A*S*H
Albert Anastasia An alliteration, first mob boss killed gangland style in 1957
American Airlines (A♥ A♦) So called due to the commercial airline's acronym, AA
Banditerna (A♠ A♣) Swedish for "the Bandits"
Batteries AA like a AA battery commonly used in portable electronic devices
Bullets Looks like bullets, possibly a reference to the Dead Man's Hand, two pair of aces and eights, suggesting that Wild Bill drew a third bullet in the back, which filled his hand in death
Eyes Probably from snake eyes in dice
Eyes of Texas From the song, probably an elaboration on dice
Flying Nazis Probably because an A looks like a plane, and the Nazis had the most successful flying "aces" in their air force
Joe Louis (A♠ A♣) Two black eyes, what you will get in the ring if you fight Joe Louis
Pocket Rockets Looks like rockets
Needles Looks like needles
Rocky Mountains Looks like mountains, from Mat Rampson
Sharp Tops Sharp on top, see also A4
Snake Eyes From dice snake eyes is the outcome of rolling the dice in a game of craps and getting only one pip on each die
Squirrel Probably named because the hand is "the nuts". Possibly also a reference to the phrase "Even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while"
Sticks Looks like sticks
Teepees Looks like teepees
Two Pips A pip is a mark indicating the suit or numerical value of a playing card
Visine (A♥ A♦) Two red eyes, it gets the red out
AK Anna Kournikova Initials; also looks good, but never wins.
Barry Greenstein(A♦ K♦) From 5th annual Jack Binion World Poker Open in Tunica MS, as per Hooter Huon
Big Slick It is a slippery hand that one can easily lose a fortune over
Kalashnikov Due to the name of a gun designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, AK-47.
Big Ugly (offsuit) Imitating Big Slick, but "Ugly" if offsuit
Exxon Valdez (A♠ K♠) Since it has a lot of black in it.
King Arthur Named after the legendary British leader.
Korean Airlines Named after the South Korean Airline
Mike Haven (A♦ K♦) Mike played two pre-flops all-in in a row with these cards to win the final table, coming from behind
Salt Lake Pair No explanation found. The "pair" refers to the cards being well matched, rather than of equal value.
Santa Barbara Due to a big oil spill off Santa Barbara
Walking Back to Houston Gamblers who played this hand too strongly were often left with no getaway money. Although other sources state its name was derived because the old time poker players would play this hand so well that they'd leave their opponents walking back to Houston
AQ Antony & Cleopatra A for Antony and Cleopatra his queen. Named after the famous lovers and Shakespearian works
Big Chick Imitating Big Slick(AK)
Big Slut Imitating Big Slick (AK). Hands involving Queens are often derogatory, especially if they don't win.
Doyle Brunson In his book, Doyle said he would never play AQ, and busted out of the 2008 WSOP Main Event holding AQ offsuit.
Little Slick Imitating Big Slick (AK)
Mrs Slick Imitating Big Slick (AK)
Rocket Queen A song made popular from Guns N'Roses
AJ Armani Jeans AJ is the acronym used by the brand Armani Jeans
The Unrare n/a
Apple Jacks Backronym of AJ
Ajax Named after the foam cleaner due to the phonetic similarity between "Ajax" and "Ace-Jack", or "A-Jacks"
Blackjack Named after the card game in which AJ (Or an Ace with a picture card or 10) is the highest possible hand
Foamy Cleanser Ajax
Hijack As in "High-Jack"
Jackass Imitative of "Jack-Ace"
Trapasso Likely to be named after the American Football player A.J.Trapasso
AT Bookends 2 ends of the highest straight
Johnny Moss It's speculated that Johnny Moss is associated with this hand because he began playing poker at the age of 10
A9 Rounders Hand From the movie
McDerment (A♣ 9♣) A corruption of the last name of Mike McDermott, the character played by Matt Damon in the movie Rounders, whose fortune rode heavily on this hand.
Jesus (Chris Ferguson) Chris Ferguson beat TJ Cloutier at the final hand of the 2000 WSOP Championship event holding A9 against TJ's AQ
Gimp Hand Because it's so much weaker than Ace-Ten.
A8 Dead Man's Hand See Dead man's hand
Asterix and Obelix Inspired by characters from René Goscinny's The Adventures of Asterix. Asterix represents the Ace due to the matching initial with Obelix representing the 8 due to their similar shape.
Slapshot Nicknamed Slapshot as a hockey reference as sevens are sometimes called hockey sticks and aces are bullets
The Sonnert Named after poker player Bengt Sonnert for his success with it in the World Series of Poker Europe 2008
A6 Mile High Club Airplane and sex (Aces are often nicknamed after planes due to their shape, "six" in German is pronounced as sechs similar to "sex")
Tennessee Ernie Ford Singer famous for the song Sixteen Tons
A5 High Five An Ace is high, combined with a five gives us a high five
A4 Plane Crash Aces are synonymous with flying (e.g., 'Flying Nazis', 'Pocket Rockets' and 'American Airlines') probably due to the shape of the 'A', a '4' is like an 'A', but with a missing 'wing', hence Plane Crash
Stu Ungar Ungar won the last of his three World Series of Poker Main Event titles in 1997 with this hand, making a straight.
Transvestite The disappointment inherent in seeing an Ace, then seeing the top half of the four and assuming it is another Ace. The unhappy surprise occurs when the player realizes he does not have two Aces.
A3 Ashtray Imitates Ace-trey
Baskin-Robbins Nicknamed Baskin-Robbins because of their 31 different flavors of ice cream.
Thrace A portmanteau of "Three" and "Ace", also named after the historical and geographic area in southeast Europe Thrace
A2 Acey-Deucey From the game Acey Deucy
Riewoldt Playing number of St. Kilda Captain, Nick Riewoldt (12)
Hunting Season Aces are known as bullets and twos are known as ducks, hence hunting season
Little Slick Imitation of 'Big Slick' (AK)

King higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
KK Ace Magnets Ace Magnets because the ace is the only card you don't want to see
Brokeback Named after the film that depicts the complex romantic and sexual relationship between two cowboys (KK also being called "Cowboys")
Butchers of Baghdad Reference to 2003 invasion of Iraq and the most-wanted Iraqi playing cards
Cowboys No explanation found. The nickname is probably given for a number of reasons, including the association between cowboys and playing poker, the similarity between the "K" of "King" and the "C" of "Cowboys" and both characters are male.
Elvis Presley Named after the "King" of Rock and Roll
Gorillas From King Kong
Gorillas in the Mist From the movie starring Sigourney Weaver, a nickname taken from "King Kong" (Also KK)
Kangaroos Kangaroos are used on children's alphabet cards to illustrate a K
Kevin Keegan An alliteration
King Kenny An alliteration; the nickname of former Liverpool player Kenny Dalglish, who would soon be manager of Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United
Knights An association with the feudal king images on the cards
King Kong An alliteration
Kinkerbells Courtesy of Vince Van Patten on Celebrity Poker
Krispy Kreme An alliteration
KQ Divorce (suited) If it loses
Ferdinand and Isabella A Spanish King and Queen
Lucy and Ricky The King and Queen of TV
Marriage (suited) If it wins, comes from the game Pinochle
Mixed Marriage (offsuit) Comes from the game Pinochle
Othello (offsuit) This is reference to Othello and Desdemona, the fated couple from William Shakespeare's play Othello. Possibly also a reference to 'Mixed Marriage'
Royal Couple A King and Queen!
King of Queens Popular American Sitcom starring Kevin James and Leah Remini.
Valentine's Day (K♥ Q♥) A matched couple, both showing their hearts
KJ Bachelor's Hand (offsuit) "Jack-King-Off"
Bill Fillmaff (offsuit) The "signature hand" of "Bill Fillmaff", a character parodying poker professionals in general and Phil Hellmuth in particular, portrayed by Internet personality Kevin Bowen
Harry Potter Written by J.K. Rowling
Just Kidding Backronym of JK
Jackie Kennedy Wife of JFK
The Rookie As said by Daniel Negreanu
Joking 'Jo' referring to the Jack; also, in textspeak, "j/k" is a pseudo-emoticon meaning "joking" or "just kidding"
Jordy Kooistra Initials of Dutch poker player
King John JK
Kojak Mimics KJack, thanks to the '70s crime drama starring Telly Savalas, who was himself a poker player and occasional participant in WSOP Main Events
Ralph Perry 2002 WSOP Main Event finalist berated by Antanas Guoga for overplaying the hand
Starsky and Hutch
Tucson Monster No explanation found
KT Big Al A reference to a Wisconsin poker player named "Big Al" Emerson
Katie Imitation of K-T
Ken A portmanteau of "King" and "Ten"
Ike Turner Beats QT (Tina Turner - see below)
Woodcutter (offsuit) Possibly from the Legend of King Edward and the Woodcutter
K9 Bow-wow From canine
Canine "K"-nine
Dogs From canine
Fido A derivative of canine
J-Ball The term "J-Ball" came about in Austin when a player would self-promote that his favorite hand was K9. He would always be sure to point out to people that K9 would have been the nutz for that flop or when he won with it, he made sure everyone knew. Soon people started calling the hand "J-Ball" after the player because they associated the hand with him
Mongrel (offsuit) From canine
Mutt (offsuit) From canine
Pedigree (suited) From canine
Rin Tin Tin From Rin Tin Tin K9 cop
The Doctor Who K-9, the Robotic Dog from the British Television Series Doctor Who
Sawmill Byron 'Cowboy' Wolford says:
Milton Butts and I were playing poker in Bryan, Texas, where they had a good game going on the weekends. We'd been playing for a couple of days when a hand came up in which I had a K-9. I made a pretty good hand with it, but lost the pot and went broke. As I was driving back home to Houston with Milton, feeling kind of disgusted about going broke with that K-9, we passed by a sawmill where a man was sawing logs in the lumberyard. "As hard as that guy works for his money, I'll bet he would never go broke with a K-9", I told Milton. And that's how K-9 got named "Sawmill." Some of those names are still going around - Doyle Brunson mentioned the sawmill hand in his book, Super/System
K8 Kate A portmanteau of "King" and "Eight"
Feast What the 'King ate'
Kokomo Imitative
K7 Columbia River The Columbia River is famous for its salmon runs. "King Seven" sounds like "King Salmon"
Kevin Sounds like Kevin
K6 Kicks Nicknamed "Kicks" (if Pig Latin is used) for phonetic reasons
K5 Knives A combination of "King" and "Five"
Seattle Special The nickname refers to Seattle's NBC affiliate, channel 5 with call letters KING Seattle TV channel 5 based in King County, Washington, United States
K4 Core A portmanteau of "King" and "Four"
Fork 4K sounds like "Fork"
Fork Off (offsuit) 4K sounds like "Fork" plus "Off" for offsuit
Forking Idiot From "Fork". Probably a suggestion that you would have to be an idiot to play the hand
Oppression of the Masses The answer to the question: "What is a king for?"
K3 Alaska Hand From Alaskan King Crab
Commander Crab A derivative of King Crab
Swedish Meatballs SWEDES
King Crab 3 looks like a crab
Sizzler The home of all-you-can-eat King Crab
K2 Big Fritz (suited) An unconfirmed reference to German poker player Andreas Fritz
Donald A reference to Donald Duck, the "King" of ducks (since 2s are also known as "ducks")
The Zepik An unconfirmed reference to Canadian poker player Kevin Zepik. Named for the resemblance K2 has to the initials "KZ".
Hand of the Night A reference created by Chris Hinst during his weekly poker night. Named because he kept getting this same hand.

Queen higher card

Nickname for the IBM Q7 (AN/FSQ-7) SAGE computer. This type of vacuum tube computer was physically the world's largest computer ever built.

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
QQ Bitches As obviously named as cowboys.
Calamity Jane No explanation found, but the nickname is likely to come from Cowgirls the female equivalent of Cowboys (KK). Calamity Jane was also a friend of Wild Bill Hickok, a gunfighter who died during a poker game.
P-CO The last two queens of England
Canadian Aces Because Canadians revere the Queen of England
Canadian Rockets Because Canadians revere the Queen of England
Four Tits Vulgar
Hilton Sisters Jetset party girls Paris & Nicky Hilton
Jailhouse Rock Homosexuality in prison
Ladies Because they're the only female cards. Queens tend to have derogatory names, especially when they lose, so Ladies is more likely to be used when they win.
Pair of Wire Cutters Dykes
Pocket Tubmans (Q♠ Q♣) Reference to Harriet Tubman
San Francisco Wedding A gay reference
Siegfried & Roy Two Queens
Snowshoes Probably because they're the shape of a traditional snowshoe
QJ Quack Combination of Queen and Jack
Maverick From the Maverick TV show theme song, "Livin' on jacks and queens. Maverick is a legend of the west"
Hawaii According to the pros if you don't play QJ for a year you'll save enough money to go there.
Oedipus an allusion to Sophocles' Oedipus the King, the ancient Greek tragedy in which Oedipus (the "J" in this pairing) unwittingly kills his father and marries his mother, Jocasta (the "Q")
Pinochle (Q♠ J♦) The big hand in the game Pinochle
JQuery JQuery never loses
QT Cutie For phonetic reasons
Goolsby Named for Everett Goolsby, well known Texas gambler. Crony of Doyle Brunson, Cowboy Wolford and Benny Binion
Tarantino Quentin Tarantino, a famous movie maker
Q-Tip A backronym of QT. A Q-tip is a cotton swab.
Quint Imitative
Robert Varkonyi In the 2002 WSOP, Varkonyi knocked out Phil Hellmuth and eventually won the final event with this hand
Q9 Quinine "Queen Nine" sounds like "Quinine", an early anti malarial drug, from lowball
Snow and a Ho 8 is a snowman, Q is a ho
Frigid Bitch From "Snow and a Ho"
Face Sitter A vulgar reference to analingus, what the 'queen ate'
Bitch Called Hope Tempting to try for a straight, but rarely succeeds
Kuwait Nicknamed "Kuwait" for phonetic reasons
Q7 Computer Hand (offsuit) From an apocryphal story that a computer proved that these were the most commonly occurring cards on the Flop.

There is also a story of an early computer simulation in which Q7 was a break-even hand

Dike a lady with a mullet
Q6 Arnold Palmer's ex-wife Palmer was nicknamed the King.
Nesquik No explanation found
Sad Ole Bess A play on Queen Elizabeth I's other nickname, "The Virgin Queen," AKA the Cherry Queen
Q5 Granny Mae If both spades, an old-time player, Granny=Queen, Mae=5th Month, some say Q5 spades was her favorite
Q4 Housework A joking response to the question, "What's a queen for?"
Prince Maker A joking response to the question, "What's a queen for?"
Shuli Popularized in the notorious underground "Emergency Poker League" or "EPL", frequented by elite players of the Canadian circuit
Q3 Gay Waiter 'Queen' with a 'tray'
San Francisco Busboy 'Queen' with a 'tray'
Windsor Waiter 'Queen' with a 'tray'
Q2 Daisy A reference to Daisy Duck, the "Queen" of ducks (since 2s are also known as "ducks"). See also "Donald" - K2
Queen Liz A reference to Queen Elizabeth II

Jack higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
JJ Brothers Two similar looking males, e.g., brothers
Fishhooks They look like them, and because fish get beat with overpairs
Jaybirds Starts with J
Bowers Named after the Jacks from the card game Euchre where jacks are the highest trumps and are called bowers, in turn from the German Bauer (literally, farmer)
Jonatan Johansson An alliteration, former Finnish footballer and Charlton Athletic forward, nicknamed 'JJ' by the fans
John Juanda An alliteration, John Juanda is an American professional poker player
Colostomy Bag Vulgar, from "Pocket Jacks", 'Jacks' being a UK/Irish slang term for a toilet
Kid Dy-no-mite Signature expression of the character JJ from the TV show Good Times
One Eyed Jacks (J♠ J♥) Both side views
Rentboys Two young men, similar to pocket queen's "Prostitutes" nickname
The Two Jakes The movie sequel to Chinatown starring Jack Nicholson and Harvey Keitel
JT Justin Timberlake Justin Timberlake's initials
Greek Passport A Greek immigrant won with this to buy an Australian Residency
John Terry Named after the England Football Captain.
T.J. Hooker After the '80s action drama starring William Shatner
J9 Braggars Jacks and nines are wild in the game of braggars
T.J. Cloutier (J♣ 9♣) T.J. flopped three straight flushes with this hand in one year
J8 Jeffrey Dahmer He 'ate Jack', serial killer who ate his victims
Jacket Sounds like jacket
J7 Jack Daniels Named after Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Tennessee whiskey
J6 Railroad Say it rhythmically, jacks and sixes, jacks and sixes
J5 Jackson Five Michael Jackson's childhood group
Motown Record label for Jackson Five
J4 The New Motown Motown was named for the Jackson Five, but now there's only four
Austin Squatty Named after John "Austin Squatty" Jenkins due to his penchant for raising and reraising with this hand
Flat tire What's a 'jack for'?
Kid Grenade After a poker dealer who when he played was "liable to go off at any moment"
J3 J Lo As in "J-lo", "lo" meaning "low card" or perhaps the resemblance the 3 has to a derrière
Lumberjack A Tree and a Jack
Minus Michael and Jermaine Jackson 5 without two members, preferably clubs to resemble afros.
J2 The Prince and the Pauper (suited) After the novel set in 1547, which tells the story of two young boys who are identical in appearance: Tom Canty, a pauper who lives with his abusive father in Offal Court off Pudding Lane in London, and Prince Edward, son of King Henry VIII. They end up changing places.
Heckle and Jeckle Nicknamed Heckle and Jeckle after twin cartoon jaybirds (2 Jays) that first appeared on television in 1946. (Heckle and Jeckle were, in fact, magpies).
Jack Shit Popular English phrase referring to "nothing", in this context referring to the fact there is a Jack with the worst possible kicker and also something widely regarded among poker players "nothing" hand.

Ten higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
TT Audi Named after the famous Audi TT car
Binary In Binary, 1010 equal 10 (in decimal notation)
Bo Derek Actress from movie 10
Dimes A dime is a coin worth ten cents or one tenth of a United States dollar
Dynamite Comes from T and T sounding like the explosive TNT
McDonald's Named after the ten piece McNugget
Tension Imitative
TNT Comes from T and T sounding like the explosive TNT
T9 Mobile Hand Named after the "Text on 9 Keys" mode on mobile phones
Countdown Countdowns usually start at ten, nine...
T8 Tetris Imitative
T7 Bowling Hand The difficult Seven-ten split
Daniel Negreanu (suited) His favorite hand
Split A bowling reference, a seven-ten split
T6 Sweet Sixteen Six and Ten. Should be mumbled with sarcasm as you fold it
T5 Dime Store From 5 & dime
Homosexual A gay reference, as you cannot make a straight with a ten and a five in your hand.
Five and Dime From nickname "Dimes" as a dime is a United States coin worth 10 cents. A Five and Dime is a type of variety store.
Merfs A draw poker game where tens and fives are wild
Woolworths The Five and Dime store chain
T4 Ex-Girlfriend Named after a Las Vegas local's highschool girlfriend, because it sounds like the last name "fortin"
Broderick Crawford From 50s "Highway Patrol", who said "10-4" into radio
CB Hand Ten-four is CB radio language for OK
Convoy From the old trucker song, ten-four good buddy
Good Buddy Old trucker radio language, ten-four is CB language for OK
Over and Out Two-way radio language for end of conversation, ten-four is radio language for OK
Roger That Two-way radio language for OK, ten-four is also radio language for OK
Truckers' Hand Following the CB radio craze of the '70s, for the same reasons as "Broderick Crawford"
The Trucker From CB radio
T3 Kitchies The T3 must be offsuit; refer to Dipthrong's kitchen for origin
Fast Connection Refers to the T3 telecommunications connection
Hot Waitress Ten with a tray (trey)
T2 Terminator 2 T2 is abbreviation for Terminator II
Whirlygig Contemporary
Doyle Brunson (aka Texas Dolly) Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson twice won the WSOP in 1976 and 1977 turning these hole cards into full [houses]

Nine higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
99 Barbara Feldon Played Agent 99 on Get Smart
Hitlers Nein, nein!
German Virgin What a German Virgin would say. Nein, nein!
Phil Hellmuth (9♣ 9♠) He won the 1989 WSOP with this hand
Red Balloons (9♦ 9♥) From the 80s song 99 Red Balloons by Nena
Popeyes Look like Popeye's arm muscles
Pothooks The 9 looks like a traditional pothook
Wayne Gretzky Hockey player's uniform number
98 Oldsmobile The Olds 98 car
97 Persian Carpet Ride A term Antonio Esfandiari coined for his favorite hand, making joking reference to his Persian heritage. He used the term on Poker After Dark, apparently after his friends teased him about the hand, no further explanation given. However, Esfandiari also used the term on the commentary track of the World Poker Tour Season 2 DVD set, so the term dates back to at least 2004.
96 The Dirty 69, sexual reference
Big Lick 69, sexual reference to Big Slick
Breakfast of Champions 69, sexual reference
Dinner For Two 69, sexual reference
Good Lover 69, sexual reference
Happy Meal 69, sexual reference
Mighty Meal 69, sexual reference, 96 suited, stronger than a Happy Meal (see above)
Big Love 69, sexual reference
Joe Bernstein A gambler from the 30s, a sharp road gambler. Joe was known as a dapper dresser at the poker table
Jaka Šubic Famous Slovenian improv comedian and poker player.
Percy (offsuit) 69, sexual reference
Prom Night (suited) If suited because they wear a tux on prom night, 69 sexual reference
95 Betty Hutton From a version of stud with nines & fives wild
Dolly Parton From the movie 9 to 5
Hard Working Man Works 9 to 5
94 Joe Montana 49ers quarterback, borrowed from 92 Montana Banana, when he was benched the joke was 49 unsuited
Lost World Series Refers to the lost baseball World Series of 1994. Could also refer to the fate of a player who plays these cards incorrectly.
San Francisco 49 refers to San Francisco's Football team, the 49ers, which in turn refers to men of the 1849 gold rush in the Sierra Nevada mountains east of San Francisco
93 Jack Benny For years Jack Benny claimed to be 39 years old
The Sandy Sandy Dunlop became 2013 champion of the Black Cat Poker tournament with these hole cards
92 Montana Banana It is a widely asserted myth that this nickname originates from the legalization of poker in Montana by Proposition 92. However, poker was legalized in Montana by the Card Games Act, 23-5-311. The nickname is referring to how it is more likely that bananas will grow in chilly Montana than this hand making money.

Other sources suggest it is Joe Montana's quarterback rating

Twiggy From the 70's model's top measurement of 29

Eight higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
88 Dawg Balls/Doggie Balls Looks like them
Piano Keys There are 88 keys on a piano
Rocket 88 Big was Olds 98, smaller car called Olds 88
Racetracks Goes round and round like a race track
Snowmen Looks like two snowmen
Lindros Eric Lindros wore Jersey #88
Dale Jr Number 88 Car
Two Fat Ladies Looks like two fat ladies taken from bingo
Lacey Looks like shoe laces
Pretzels Looks like two pretzels
Wurlitzer The number of keys on the Wurlitzer electric piano
Time Travel The time travel speed (88 mph) used in the Back to the Future trilogy
Infinity on the side Looks like two infinity symbols on their side
Ovechkin A reference to the hockey player, #8 Alexander Ovechkin.
87 RPM The very first record format was a 10 inch disc that spun 78 revolutions per minute
Tahoe From the seven/8 variation of holdem
Crosby A reference to the hockey player, #87 Sidney Crosby.
86 Pooch Bill Puccio swears these cards win every time
Jagr Named after hockey player Jaromir Jagr, who wore number 68 his entire career.
Rick James Named after Singer/Celeb Rick James, who died on 8/6.
Eubie If you play these, you be broke
Henry Bowen A Texas gambler
Maxwell Smart From TV show Get Smart, Agent 86, see also 99
Pacheco Nuts (offsuit) The California Grand, in Pacheco is right alongside Highway 680.
85 The Hamilton This hand is so named after a well known Scottish player. It is of course not a powerful hand but can on occasion make a well disguised straight. Its main function, though, is to tilt other players.
Chad Football player Chad Ochocinco wears uniform number 85. Ochocinco, translated literally from Spanish, means "Eight Five."
84 Big Brother From George Orwell's book titled 1984
Boris Backhand From boris89 winning 217,752.13 on this hand
Orwell Author of the book titled 1984
83 Most Feared Hand in Hold'em A tongue in cheek reference to it being the third worst hand in poker
Raquel Welch Raquel Welch still claims to be 38
82 Tadpole An answer to the statement, "What the duck ate."

Seven higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
77 Axes Looks like them
Scythes Seven look like a Scythe
Len Goodman Renowned judge from Strictly Come Dancing, known for his famous catchphrase, "Seven!"
Candy Canes Looks like them
Hockey Sticks Looks like them
Mullets Because of the hair style, flat in front, long in back
Saturn Saturn VII Rocket
Sunset Strip From 77 Sunset Strip a TV series that aired from '58-'64 starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr
Walking Sticks Looks like them
76 Trombones From the song 76 Trombones, from the musical The Music Man and its film adaptation
Union Oil Union 76 gas stations
75 007 (7♠ 5♠) Reference to James Bond's winning hand in the 2006 movie Casino Royale
Vietnamese Slick Year the Vietnam War ended
Heinz The H. J. Heinz Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has 57 varieties of condiments, the most famous being ketchup
Pickle Man A reference to Heinz of 57 sauces fame
Pistol A reference to the famous pistol made by Fabrique Nationale the FN Five-seven
Double Down A Double Down is a player decision in Blackjack, in which you are betting that your hand can be won with one more card. A player may only double down on his first two cards dealt. When a player doubles down, the original bet is automatically doubled (a second chip appears) and the player receives one more card. Since there are more 10 point cards than any other, doubling down is most worthwhile on an 11-point hand, 7-4 being worth 11 points.
Ghost Dog Almost undoubtedley from the film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai starring Forest Whitaker, but no explanation found
Kalashnikov Most likely refers to the famous AK-47 and AK-74 assault rifles designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov
73 Dutch Waiter Sven with a Tray
Joe Hachem Joseph Hachem won the 2005 World Series main event holding 7♣ 3♠ when the flop came 4♦ 5♦ 6♥
Swedish Busboy Sven with a Tray, see also San Francisco Busboy and Dutch Waiter
72 Beer Hand (offsuit) It's called the Beer Hand because it's either time for a beer; or if you win with this you need to get other players a beer; or only a person full of beers would play this hand.

The beer hand has the worst chance of winning of all possible pocket cards in a full table playing Texas Hold'em. It is slightly better in short-handed games because the fact that it is not possible to make a straight or flush without hitting four appropriate community cards is less important in short-handed games.

Jeremy Beadle Bad Hand
Hammer (offsuit) The Hammer isn't specifically the 72 hand. At least not officially. In poker, the hammer is defined as the last position (the cut-off), particularly when you're heads-up. The 72 offsuit got the nickname as a result of a competition to play "The Hammer" on "The Hammer" and has been adopted into legitimate Oxford Dictionary poker parlance
W.H.I.P. (offsuit) Worst Hand In Poker

Six higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
66 Boots Looks like boots
Cherries Nicknamed because of similarity to the shape of the number 6
Kicks Get your kicks on route 66
Route 66 The road from Chicago to LA
65 Bus Pass UK bus passes are often available to citizens over the age of 65 (although this age varies)
Ken Warren Won with this hand at World Series of Poker
64 Billion Dollar Hand In reference to The $64,000 Question
Gilchrist Named after the Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist for his ability to always hit 6's and 4's
Arlo Royal Arlo if suited, named after Arlo Payne, a long time regular poster to the usenet newsgroup
63 Blocky Another nickname of Broomcorn from the story in Doyle Brunson's Super/System. He used to play 63 as an ambush hand
Jimmy Summerfield (offsuit) Kevin Larsen says:
One time while playing with Jimmy, she [the dealer] had noticed that trash cards were hitting the flop quite often especially 6's and 3's, so Jimmy wins a huge pot after she told him to play the 63 off he was holding. Thus was born the "Jimmy Sommerfield".
Once, while playing down on the coast, a player wins a big pot. He slaps his cards down on the table and announces "I've got a Jimmy Somerfield!". Then Jimmy says "Let me introduce myself", and shows the player his ID.
I was dealing a four eight game one night to Jimmy, a few other dealers and a bunch of locals. A fairly loose game. The pot is capped six or eight way action. Jimmy announces preflop "I've got my hand !" Nobody believes him when the flop comes 6 6 3 He gets four or five callers to the river. Monster Pot!
Spanish Inquisition Nickname given to this starting hand by Iron Men of Poker. Refers to the fact that "Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition", a reference to the classic Monty Python quote.
62 Aimsworth Byron 'Cowboy' Wolford says:
I was in San Antone playing a big no-limit game with Jack Straus, Sen. Red Berry, and a bunch of the old-time players. Jack was on top of you all the time, but in full ring games, he wasn't as tough as he was shorthanded or heads up. He had two aces and I took the flop with a 6-2. A deuce came on the flop, he made a bet, and I called him. Off came another deuce on the turn, he bet, and I called him. A third deuce came on the river and we got all in. When I showed him that 6-2, he said, "What the hell were you drawing at there, Cowboy?"
"Oh, I wasn't drawing at nothing", I answered. "Just aiming at another deuce. I guess I'm Aimsworth."

Five higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
55 Sammy Hagar After Hagar's song, "I Can't Drive 55"
Nickels Five cents per nickel
Presto There is debate as to where this term originated. The most commonly accepted source of the nickname is that many years ago, before Rec.gambling was split into several groups, followers of the group who were blackjack players were fond of saying "Presto!" as they turned up a 21. This became a sign of recognition of fellow travelers. Around this time (circa 1991), the World Rec Gambling Poker Tournament(WRGPT), of which the first few were played slowly over email, came into being. During WRGPT2(92-93), the attribution of pocket fives as the "Presto Hand" was made by the player Howard Simonson, after using pocket fives to knock out several players from the tournament some number of times. [If a copy of the table-talk from WRGPT2 can be found and cited, this can be absolutely confirmed] Consequently, the term stuck among the rec.gambling minions, and has become a common poker term today. There is also suggestion that the hand won more often than it should due to a computer glitch.

However, there is a counter-argument that there used to be a club in London called the Presto Club. The address was 55 Victoria Street, London. Therefore, whenever someone was dealt 55 in hold'em, they'd say they were dealt "Presto", because of the club's street address. When English players played events worldwide, the word spread, and it caught on everywhere.

Snakes Looks like two snakes
Speed Limit 55 MPH, the maximum speed limit in the US in the National Maximum Speed Law era
54 Colt 45 The gun, and the beer
Jesse James Because the outlaw was rumored to have been shot by a .45
Moneymaker Winning hand of Chris Moneymaker, 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champion
53 Bully Johnson A poker player that Doyle Brunson described as being "laid back and quiet". He played this hand after being raised preflop and caught a straight on the flop to beat another guy's trip aces
Juggernaut Well-known Magic: The Gathering artifact card with power of five and toughness of three.
52 Bomber B-52 bomber
Pick-up As in 52 card pick up
Quarter 25 cents
Two Bits 25 cents
Ivey Named for one of the greatest bluffs on High Stakes Poker, when Phil Ivey raised pre-flop with a five-deuce offsuit, was re-raised by Lex Veldhuis with KJ suited, and then went all in causing Lex to fold his hand.

Four higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
Sailboats 4's look like sails on a boat.
Obama Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States
Dark Force (4♠ 4♣) Dark Side Of The Fours
Darth Vader (4♠ 4♣) The two black fours are the "Dark Side of the Fours"
Diana Dors Her top measurement
The Harley (4♠ 4♣) Favorite hand of BCP pro Harley Quin after flopping quads with these hole cards: "The Fours are strong with this one..."
Luke Skywalker "May the Fours be with you." Usually referenced with one black four, and one red four.
Princess Leia (4♥ 4♦) An extension of the Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader reference
Fourtale n/a
Magnum The .44 cal gun
Midlife Crisis Likely to be named after the approximate age of the average midlife crisis (actually given as 46)
43 Waltz In music, waltzes are always in 3/4 meter
Books "What's a tree for ?"
42 Jack Bauer The main character in 24
Lumberman's Hand A common piece of lumber is a two by four
The Principle Canadian Politician, Steven Hicks Favorite hand. He always said he played it On Principle
The Answer In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the computer decided that the answer to everything in the universe was 42

Three higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
33 Crabs Because a 3 looks like it has pincers
Treys "Trey" dates back to the 14th century, and is a name for a card or a die showing three points; originally from Old French treis.
Pere Ghaf Named after Mahdi Ghafghazi who called his rest with pocket 3 in hand while ace, King and queen and no three were on the table and lost it all in Mafi Tournament, He interestingly claimed that he has played very well
Can of Corn This nickname likely comes from baseball where a "Can of Corn" is an easily caught fly ball. Supposedly comes from a general store clerk reaching up and dropping a can from a high shelf. Likely to be analogized due to the ease in which 32 is caught since it is the lowest possible non-hand (22 being a pair).
Little Pete No explanation found
Michael Jordan From his jersey number (23)
Polish Big Slick A bad Polish joke mimicking AK Big Slick
The Nut Low In this instance 'nut' meaning 'most' rather than 'best', low hand (i.e., the lowest hand)
Hooter Hand (suited) Named after famous poker dealer Houth "Hooter" Houn who played this hand as aggressively as AK.
Crubs (if clubs) From the card game Hearts

Two higher card

Card Initials Alternative Name Explanation
22 Desmond Named after Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Ducks From deux, French word for two, also a 2 looks like a duck, also used in bingo
Quack Quack From two little ducks, also bingo reference to the number 22
Swans/Swarovskis Looks like Swarovski Crystal swans
Richard Nixon From the famous photo of Nixon getting on a helicopter giving two victory signs

Poker hand nicknames

The following sets of playing cards can be referred to by the corresponding names in card games that include sets of three or more cards, particularly 3 and 5 card draw, Texas Hold 'em and Omaha Hold 'em. The nicknames would often be used by players when revealing their hands, or by spectators and commentators watching the game. With TV and web broadcasting of Poker tournaments, nicknames became much more popular all over the world.

Card Initials Alternative Names
flush Golf Bag (set of clubs), Puppy Feet, Puppy Prints (from the design of the club)
flush Well-Dressed, Decked Out
flush Valentine's Day, All My Hearts, Heart-breaker (if it loses)
flush Laborers, Digging Deep, In The Hole (if it loses)
AA235, 2358K Fibonacci
A3579, 3579J, 579JK What Are The Odds
2357J, 357JK All The Primes
2468T, 468TQ, 68TQA Even Stevens
AAAAK Knights of the Round Table, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
AAAA Team Rocket, Thunderbirds, Musketeers
AAAKK Windsor Castle, The Penthouse, Updown Court, The Pinnacle, Bran Castle (amongst some of the world's largest and/or most expensive buildings and/or mansions)
AAA Athos, Porthos and Aramis
AAKK Big Slick Did the Trick (a rhyme, if the appropriate two-pair hand is formed from the AK starting hand (aka Big Slick); poker professionals will tend to bet aggressively with this hand)
AAJJ Jackasses (play on "Jacks and Aces")
AA88 Dead Man's Hand
AKQJT Broadway (off-suit), Royal Flush (suited)
A3A6 Austin 3:16 (after WWE wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin)
AA23 Princess Leia
A6A8T Golden Hand (from the Golden Mean)
AK47 After the AK-47 assault rifle developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov
KKKK Four Horsemen
KKKAA The Nativity (the famous Biblical story in which the Three Wise Men visit Joseph & Mary to witness Jesus Christ's birth)
KKKQQ Buckingham Palace
KKK Alabama Knight Riders, Three Wise Men, Christmas Special, Ku Klux Klan
KKQQ Mommas and Poppas, ABBA, Double Date, "Aerosmith" (based on the song title, "Kings and Queens"), The Ice Breaker
KQJT9 Off-Broadway (off-suit), Hail to the King (suited)
QQQQK Elvis in Vegas, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
QQQQJ Bachelor's Dream
QQQQ Village People, Magnolias, Scrabble Player's Dream, The Joy Luck Club
QQQ Six Tits, Daisy Hand
QAAAK The Duck
QQ33 San Francisco waiters (Queens and Treys)
QJT98 Honeymoon in Vegas (if it wins, based off a scene from the movie of the same name)
JJJJQ The Strip Club
JJJJ8 Riewoldt On A Roll (after AFL Richmond full-forward Jack Riewoldt)
JJJJ5 Neverland Ranch
JJJ55 Jackson Five
JJJ "Hart, Schaffner and Marx"
JJ55 Rock 'n' Roll, Motown
JJ33 Hookers With Crabs
JT987 Convenience Store Straight, Honeymoon in Vegas (if it loses, based off a scene from the movie of the same name)
TTTT Larry (after Larry Fortensky, Elizabeth Taylor's eighth husband), Shotgun
TTT Thirty Miles of Bad Road, Elk River, Gilroy, Judge Bean, Judge Duffy, Judge Judy, Judge Wapner, San Jose to Gilroy (approximate distance in miles between the two cities), Dallas to Fort Worth (ditto), Judas (his pay was "thirty pieces of silver")
TT Fingers n' Toes (ten of each), Dubs Dimes, Duff McKagan, Top Titties
TJAAT Golden String
TT33 Hot Waitresses (Tens with treys)
TK421 Star Wars, Stormtrooper (Why aren't you at your post?)
T8642 Rizlo, Scotch Straight
9988 Oldsmobile
9966 Dinner For Four, Dubs Sixtyniners
999 Extra Virgin (99 is "German Virgin")
888 Television Subtitles
77744 Sailing Rednecks
777 21, 21 Miles of Rough Road, Jackpot, Slot Machine
7733 Queens of the Stone Age (after their song 3's and 7's)
75432 (off-suit) Kansas City, Sympathy Hand (it is the worst hand possible)
6667J Devil's Convenience Store
666 The Devil, Lucifer, The Beast, Devil's Area Code, Kotch
65432 Rabbit, The World Trade Center Straight
555 Washington Monument, Pork Chop Sandwich, Movie Call (All bogus numbers start with "555")
5432A First Street, Little Minnie, Little Wheel, Pup, Puppy, Spoke, Steel Wheel (suited), Steel Wheel Bike (suited), The Bicycle
4444A Hole-In-One
4444 Yacht Club
444 Grand Jury
49 Full Cup (Joke from the TV Series Friends, where Chandler and Joey play "Cups")
36TJK The Royal Sampler (from a joke on The Simpsons)
3333T Teddy, EJ, Mr Football (after AFL/VFL Footscray/Western Bulldogs legend Ted Whitten), 1961 (if it loses)
3333 Forest, Four Trees, The Magic Numbers
3322 Socks and Shoes, Mits and Mites, Mites and Lice, Nits and Lice
3A4A5 Pi
2222 Mighty Ducks
222AA Marksman
22233 Tent, Mites and Lice, Nits and Lice
222 Huey, Dewey, and Louie

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The ace card has been called As-Nas, the name of a Persian card game believed to be an ancient ancestor of modern poker

The nine of diamonds playing card is often referred to as the Curse of Scotland or the Scourge of Scotland, there are a number of reasons given for this connection:

  1. It was the playing card used by Sir John Dalrymple, the Earl of Stair, to cryptically authorise the Glencoe Massacre. Certainly there is a resemblance between the nine of diamonds and his coat of arms.
  2. The Duke of Cumberland is supposed to have scribbled the order for "no quarter" to be given after the Battle of Culloden on a nine of diamonds playing card.
  3. It has also been suggested that it is a misreading of the "Corse of Scotland" i.e., the "Cross of Scotland" or St Andrew's Saltire. There is a resemblance between the pattern of the nine of diamonds and the Saltire.
  4. Nine diamonds were at one time stolen from the crown of Scotland and a tax was levied on the Scottish people to pay for them - the tax got the nickname "The Curse of Scotland".
  5. The game of Comète being introduced by Mary of Lorraine (alternatively by James, Duke of York) into the court at Holyrood, the Nine of Diamonds, being the winning card, got this name in consequence of the number of courtiers ruined by it.
  6. In the game of Pope Joan, the Nine of Diamonds is the Pope - a personage whom some Scottish Presbyterians consider as a curse.
  7. Diamonds imply royalty and every ninth king of Scotland was a curse to his country.

The Six of Hearts is known as loyalty at the risk of death or Grace's Card. This is because in 1688 an Irish Jacobite soldier, Colonel Richard Grace of Moynelly House, Athlone, used this card to write a refusal to surrender and sent it to William of Orange. Colonel Grace was loyal to King James II of England, and risked being shot or hanged for his refusal to give up. The words Colonel Grace wrote were, "Tell your master I despise his offer, and that honor and conscience are dearer to a gentleman than all the wealth and titles a prince can bestow"

The origin of The Bicycle, Little Wheel, Spoke, Steel Wheel, Steel Wheeled Bike or simply The Wheel is unknown, but it is believed to have something to do with the popular bicycle-patterned playing cards issued by the United States Playing Card Company.

The Princess Leia is the hand AA23 (more common in Omaha since this version of poker used 4 hole cards). This is because Leia was held prisoner in detention block AA23 before she was rescued by Han, Chewbacca and Luke in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.