Did you know that most poker hands are known by their specific and often colourful names in the world of gambling? It’s true! To you they might be a pair of sixes, but to an experienced player they could be “kicks” or “Route 66”. And what do you think “Ace Magnets” are? How about “Space Cowboy”? These are but a few examples, and trust us, there are hundreds upon hundreds of nicknames for poker hands.
So, if you wish to further your knowledge of all things poker, it’s useful to be aware of poker hand nicknames. While we certainly won’t be able to list every single nickname in existence, we can at least try to shed light on some of the most famous nicknames for poker hands today.
Most Popular Poker Hand Nicknames
As stated already, it would be nigh impossible to try and list all the poker hand nicknames used in this card game. What’s more, different hand nicknames might be used in different types of poker and online poker.
Therefore, we’ll mostly focus on the most popular hand nicknames that can be heard while playing Texas Hold’em (but definitely not limited to just that poker variant).
Let’s start with poker pairs! A pocket pair is any hand that contains two cards of the same value - anything from two queens (QQ) to two aces (AA).
So, which nicknames for pocket pairs in poker would be considered the most popular among players? Here are some.
Pocket Aces (AA)
- Pocket Rockets – a pair of aces is also called “pocket aces” and one of the most famous nicknames for pocket aces is “Pocket Rockets”, referring to the fact that the letter “A” resembles a rocket.
- Batteries – this pocket ace nickname refers to the “AA” symbol found on a certain type of batteries.
- Snake Eyes – this nickname is borrowed from craps. In craps, one of the most famous and popular dice games in the world, “Snake Eyes” refers to hitting a pair of ones.
Pocket Kings (KK)
- Ace Magnets – this nickname is used ironically. Namely, you don’t wish to see a pair of aces as it’s the only pair that can beat your hand.
- Cowboys – it is not quite clear how this nickname came about, but it is thought it’s because of the phonetic “C” in cowboys being the same as “K” in kings when spoken out loud.
Pocket Queens (QQ)
- Ladies – self-explanatory, as holding a pair of queens in your hands means holding the only pair of cards featuring women in the deck.
Pocket Jacks (JJ)
- Fishhooks or Hooks – this nickname refers to the fact the letter “J” visually resembles a (fish)hook.
Pocket Tens (TT)
- Dynamite – this nickname refers to the fact that saying “T and T” out loud sounds like “TNT” which is a symbol for dynamite.
- Train Tracks – this poker hand nickname is a case of alliteration (two Ts), but it might also be a reference to the Old West railroad.
A-X Poker Hand Nicknames
If pocket aces or kings aren’t in your cards (literally), then a combination involving an ace (A-X) might be the next best thing.
- Big Slick – this nickname refers to the combination being your hole cards in Texas Hold’em. However, unless the situation improves, it might be a slippery (slick) slope.
- King Arthur – a play on the cards’ initials referencing the legendary king of the round table.
- Space Cowboy – an “Ace from Space” (a timely ace) and “Cowboy” combo.
- Anthony and Cleopatra – a reference to Shakespeare’s famous play (Anthony being the ace and Cleopatra being the queen).
- Rocket Queen – a combination of “Rocket” and the queen, but also a reference to a popular Guns N’ Roses song.
- Blackjack – a reference to blackjack, one of the most widely popular casino games. (By the way, ever wondered how blackjack stacks against poker? We explore the topic of poker vs blackjack in another blog, so feel free to give it a read-through.)
- Hijack – this hand includes the high card (ace) and the jack, hence the mashup nickname.
K-X Poker Hand Nicknames
Everyone wants to hold an ace in their hands; however, combinations with kings are also often a desirable outcome. Here are some king combinations and their popular nicknames:
- Marriage – referring to the queen and king cards being married.
- Divorce – the same reference, except this nickname would be used if the hand in question is a losing one.
- Throne – self-explanatory; the king and queen sit on a throne together.
- Just Kidding or Joking – “jk” is used as an abbreviation for “joking” or “just kidding”, hence this “backronym” nickname.
Q-X Poker Hand Nicknames
So, what about some of the most famous nicknames for queen hand combos? Let’s name a few:
- Hawaii – this nickname is extremely well-known among professional poker players. The story goes that if you don’t play this hand for a year, you’ll be able to afford going to Hawaii.
- Quack – a simple portmanteau of “queen” and “jack”.
- Cutie – if you sound out “Q” and “T” together you’ll get “QT” or “Cutie”.
- Q-Tip – in the same vein as “Cutie”, only slightly different.
J-X Poker Hand Nicknames
Jacks might not be as mighty as aces, kings, or queens, but poker hand combinations that include this card can still pack a punch.
- Greek Passport – allegedly, a poker player from Greece won their game with this particular hand and bought an Australian residency.
- T.J. Cloutier – a legendary name in poker circles, T.J. Cloutier is said to have flopped three straight flushes in one year.
With So Many Poker Hand Nicknames, Is Poker Easy To Learn?
As promised, we’ve looked at some of the most famous poker hand nicknames, and there are still dozens of combinations we haven’t even mentioned. (A Jack-Three might be a “Lumberjack”, a Nine-Five is also called “Dolly Parton” thanks to her famous song and film, and a Five-Four is referred to as the “Jesse James”, thanks to the .45 colt that was used to shoot him down.)
It might seem overwhelming, but knowing even a few of the nicknames we mentioned here could come in handy on your journey to learning how to play poker. Quick question: remember what “Snake Eyes” is? If you already know the answer, you’re well on your way, but even if not, you can always refer to this list and remind yourself of all the most popular poker hand nicknames. Don’t worry: we won’t tell, if you don’t!