From Cowboys to Bullets: The Most Popular Poker Hand Nicknames Revealed

6 months ago

Poker as a game has been around for a very long time. Therefore it’s only natural that players will come up with nicknames for the hands, just to keep things interesting! Over the years, some of the more popular nicknames for these hands have stuck around and are still used by players today. In fact, some hands are so popular that they have more than one nickname!

Almost every poker hand has some kind of nickname, but we’re going to focus on the most popular ones. So, if you don’t know your Cowboys from your Ladies, take a look below to learn about the most popular poker hand nicknames.

Pocket Pairs

As they’re popular hands, every pocket pair has some kind of nickname that you’re likely to hear at the table. It tends to be the case that the best hands get the best nicknames, but we’ll leave that judgment up to you.

Pocket Aces – AA

  • Pocket Rockets – Named after their rocket-like shape and the fact that it’s a pocket pair, you’ll hear Pocket Rockets used often at the table.
  • American Airlines – No prizes for guessing the reason behind this nickname; we’re sure the double A airline will be thankful for the free marketing it gets!

Pocket Kings – KK

  • Cowboys – While no one knows exactly why Kings turned to Cowboys, many people think it’s because of the alliterative sound.
  • Ace Magnets – We’re all familiar with re-raising our KK preflop, only to find an ace staring back at us on the flop; it happens so often, many people call them Ace Magnets!

Pocket Queens – QQ

  • Ladies – The only female card in the deck, it’s fitting that the queens are referred to as Ladies.

Pocket Jacks – JJ

  • Fish Hooks – Named as they look like a pair of fish hooks; pocket jacks often end up hooking in fish and costing them their tournament life!

Pocket Tens – TT

  • Dimes – While a couple of dimes won’t get you much these days, you can earn a lot more than that if you play your pocket tens well.

Pocket Nines – 99

  • Wayne Gretzky – One for all you hockey fans; this hand matches the jersey number of the GOAT.
  • Phil Hellmuth – This is the hand used by Phil Hellmuth to win the ‘89 World Series, so the poker world decided to honour the brat by naming this hand after him.

Pocket Eights – 88

  • Snowmen – The large bottom and smaller top make a pair of eights look like a pair of snowmen.

Pocket Sevens – 77

  • Hockey Sticks – While we think they should be called upside-down hockey sticks, you can still see the resemblance.

Pocket Sixes – 66

  • Route 66 – Not the most imaginative nickname, but Route 66 sure gets the point across!

Pocket Fives – 55

  • Nickels – While they’re not as valuable as dimes, a pair of nickels can still end up winning you a big pot if you play them well.

Pocket Fours – 44

  • Sailboats – This one takes a bit of imagination, but you can see how the wide part of the 4 looks like the sails on a boat.

Pocket Threes – 33

  • Crabs – Another one that stretches the boundaries of your imagination, but to some people, a pair of threes look like a pair of sideways crabs.
  • Treys – From the French “trois” for three, you’ll often hear people talk about “a pair of treys” rather than “a pair of threes.”

Pocket Twos – 22

  • Deuces – Again, from the French “deux” for two, many people prefer to say “a pair of deuces” rather than “a pair of twos;” it just sounds classier.
  • Ducks – While they look more like swan necks to me, a lot of people refer to pocket twos as ducks, so if you hear someone quacking at the table, you’ll know why!

Unpaired Hands

Just like the pocket pairs, just about every unpaired hand has some kind of nickname. However, some are much more popular than others and are regularly used at the poker table. So, let’s take a look at the most popular nicknames for unpaired hands.

Ace King – AK

  • Big Slick – Named as ace-king is considered to be a slippery hand by many players; it can bring you big wins and big losses in equal measure.
  • Anna Kournikova – Named after the initials of the popular Russian tennis player. A less charitable description of the nickname is “looks good, but never wins” – harsh!

Ace Queen – AQ

  • Anthony & Cleopatra – Named after the original historic power couple; the ace represents Anthony and the queen represents Cleopatra.

Ace Jack – AJ

  • Blackjack – This nickname could be used for any ace and Broadway hand, but is most commonly used with AJ, especially when the jack is black.

King Jack – KJ

  • Kojak – Given how close king-jack and Kojak sound, this nickname was a natural fit.

King Nine – K9

  • Canine/Dog Hand – This cute play on words is a favourite amongst dog owners!

Queen Ten – QT

  • Cutie – When you read the short-hand of this poker hand aloud, you’ll see why this hand is considered so cute.

Queen Seven – Q7

  • Computer Hand – Known as the computer hand as it’s the hand that wins 50% of the time against any two random cards.

Jack Ten – JT

  • Justin Timberlake – Maybe not as popular as it once was, you may find some players calling JT the “Timberlake.”

Jack Five – J5

  • Jackson Five – Named after the eponymous pop group.
  • Motown – Another reference to the Jackson 5; Motown are the record label that produced their hits.

Jack Four – J4

  • Flat Tyre – If you’re having a hard time figuring this one out, just ask yourself; what’s a jack for?

Ten Four – T4

  • Convoy – The only way you can end a HAM radio message; Ten-Four good buddy!

Ten Two – T2

  • Doyle Brunson – Named after the Godfather of poker who won two WSOP Main Event bracelets with this hand.

Nine Six – 96

  • Big Lick – A colourful parody of the “Big Slick” nickname; we’re sure you can guess why.

Nine Five – 95

  • Dolly Parton – When Dolly sang “What a way to make a living!” we’re sure she was talking about grinding it out on the poker table…

Seven Two – 72

  • H.I.P – Otherwise known as the Worst Hand In Poker, 72o is the very worst hand you can be dealt in Texas Hold’em.

view all

Monthly Rake Chase – €10k First Prize
100% up to $1,000
SwC Poker
No-rake Microstakes and Weekly leaderboard
100% up to $1,000

View all >

Betsson Poker
100% up to €600
Monthly Rake Chase – €10k First Prize
Guts Poker
100% up to €1000
Betsafe Poker
Complete Poker Missions to earn Rewards