Posted by ESC on February 27, 2005
In Reply to: DEAD MANS HAND? Poker saying... origins? posted by Pauline James on February 27, 2005
: Hi folks! Started watching lots of late night poker on Sky, and have noticed when someone gets a full house of 3 aces and two 8's, they call it a dead mans hand. Does anyone know the reason? I have a bet on that it is something to do with the wild west and being shot while holding these cards. Could be wrong, can you help.
Here's what it says in the archives:
"Aces and eights" is known as the dead man's hand in stud poker. The phrase dates back to the murder of James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok by Jack McCall in Deadwood, Dakota Territory on Auust 2, 1876. After he was shot in the back of the head, "the famous gunman's stiffening fingers revealed his two pair -- aces and eights."
source - "Triggernometry" by Eugene Cunningham