Poker’s Dead Man’s Hand: An Explanation

The five-card combo of aces and eights, namely the ace-eight of spades and the ace-eight of clubs, is known as the “Dead Man’s Hand.” In honor of Wild Bill Hickok who was brutally killed in a poker game. It is called the Dead Man’s Hand. His final winning hand in the game was two pair, aces, and eights.

Any poker game being played refers to this particular two-pair by its nickname. Let’s find out more about the dead man’s hand.

Playing the Dead Man’s Hand: A Guide

If you’ve played poker before, you might want to try the dead man’s hand game as well, if only for fun. The dead man’s hand isn’t seen as one of the best poker hands in existence today, as has already been proven.

How to play the dead man’s hand will depend on the particular player in Texas Hold’em, for example, where it might be a weak hand. Experienced players will only follow through if they believe the conditions are right. However, it might not be the best line of action financially.

What card in a dead man’s hand is the fifth?

Even though the identity of the fifth card in Wild Bill Hickok’s poker hand is unknown. The Queen of Hearts is the most often accepted theory. However, in other artworks and hands that honor the hand, the fifth card is different.

The five of diamonds is often the fifth card in a dead man’s hand. While other times it’s either the nine or jack of diamonds. The fact that the dead man’s hand has two black aces and two black eights is its most major element. The hand is never displayed with an extra ace or eight because that would make it a full house.

Pop Culture’s Use of the Dead Man’s Hand

It makes sense that the dead man’s hand is featured in a number of popular Western movies, given how well-known Wild Bill Hickok and the hand are in Western culture. The dead man’s hand was specifically shown in Stagecoach and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance by director John Ford. While the title character in Liberty Valance is the victim, John Wayne grabs the hand in Stagecoach.

In the 1939 film In Frontier Marshal, performed by Randolph Scott. Wyatt Earp is the unlucky character. Wild Bill Hickok (Richard Dix), who was shot in the back two years prior, is seen holding the dead man’s hand in the 1941 Western Badlands of Dakota.

Dead man’s hand references in recent movies and video games

Aces and Eights was the winning hand in a poker scene in the 2001 movie Along Came a Spider. In the film, the dead man’s hand results in the transfer of a family shotgun. Later, the shotgun is crucial to solving the movie’s central kidnapping.

Video games like the Dead Money expansion for Fallout: New Vegas have also included the Dead Man’s Hand. A mission in the game requires the player to gather cards from the Sierra Madre casino’s ruins that make up the well-known dead man’s hand.

Is the dead man’s hand a decent hand?

It is widely believed that two pair is the typical winning hand in a full ring No-Limit Hold’em game. Given that the two pair in the dead man’s hand includes a pair of aces. It is thought to be one of the strongest two pair combinations. The dead man’s hand is, in theory, a better hand in a showdown because of this.  

When playing against a player who also has an ace but a stronger kicker that isn’t on the board. The dead man’s hand might be a pretty strong hand. As an example, consider a hand in which you hold Ace-Eight and your opponent holds Ace-King, with the flop reading A-8-4. Since your opponent will likely believe that their Ace-King is almost always the best hand in this case. You stand to gain a significant amount of money from them.


One of the most well-known poker hands is the dead man’s hand, and if any of the players at your table are interested in poker history. They might mention the hand if it comes up in play. Whether the game is 5-card draw, 5-card stud, or No-Limit Texas Hold’em. The dead man’s hand is typically strong enough to take the pot.

Wild Bill Hickok’s mythology has stood the test of time. Which makes him one of the most iconic figures in both gaming and western history.

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