Even if you’re not a poker player, you’ve probably noticed the game’s exponential rise in popularity over the last ten years. From a relatively small back-room game to being featured on ESPN, Texas Holdem is a game that requires an incredibly high level of concentration and a deep understanding of strategy. Plus, there’s a lot of money at stake. At first glance, the serious nature of the game may not afford many opportunities for a laugh, but if you look at the nicknames that players throughout the world have given to the hands they play, it’s apparent that even poker players have a sense of humor. Below are some of the most colorful nicknames out there.
For anyone out there who either hates gambling or has lived under a rock for the last ten years, a Texas Holdem starting hand is made up of two cards dealt face down.
Two aces, the best starting hand in poker, is aptly nicknamed “American Airlines” perhaps because this hand lets you fly over the competition. It is also called “Bullets in the Chamber” probably for its dangerous nature.
Because an ace is a bullet and 6 is the worst kicker (the lower card in any hand) to get with an ace (you can’t make a straight), this hand is known as “Ray Finkle”, the fictional kicker for the Miami Dolphins in the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. In the film, Finkle missed a field goal, causing his team to lose the Super Bowl.
King – Queen is known as “Marriage” when it’s dealt. If you don’t win the hand, however, “Divorce” becomes the better fit.
This one is known as the “Montana Banana” because it’s easier to drive a frozen banana through the state of Montana than win with this hand. Although it’s a terrible starting hand, it’s a good one to bluff with because even if you lose, you still have the joke to fall back on.
Queen – Two is sometimes called “MacGyver” because it always seems you can make it work in the end. Nicknamed eponymously for the 80’s television series about a man that always made something from seemingly nothing, it can be a difficult hand to fold before you’ve seen all the community cards.
Jack – Five is referred to as “Motown” or “The Jackson 5” for purely phonetic reasons. Reminding us of a time when Michael Jackson was still cute, it can also be a good hand to bluff with.
Statistically the worst starting hand in poker, this is called the “Beer Hand” because you would have to be drunk to play it. Also, if you happen to actually win with it, you should probably buy a beer for everyone else at the table.