If you ever listen to professionals talking at a poker table, you may get lost very quickly. You may hear someone say something about ducks, then another person talk about snowmen. Little do you know they are talking simple poker jargon. These, along with many others, are nicknames given to a combination of poker hands. These nicknames can be derived from the way the cards look, their symbol is cultures, or a historical event. In any case, here are some nicknames that you may hear about. Please note that the following list only pertains to pocket pairs. There are dozens of other nicknames given, but this article will only address pocket pairs.
Pocket 2’s – Nickname: Ducks. The nickname ducks were given to this pair because of the shape the number two makes. It resembles the way a duck looks when in the water. This nickname also could reflect the phrase ‘like a sitting duck’, as this hand is easy to get in trouble with other player’s hands have hit the flop.
Pocket 3’s – Nicknames: Crabs, Treys. Threes have two nicknames. First, crabs was given to it for its appearance. The number three looks like it has pinchers, like crabs do. It also has the nickname of treys because of the slight variation of the word threes.
Pocket 4’s – Nicknames: Magnum, Sailboats. The nickname sailboats were given to this pair because of their appearance (the fours look like sails). The nickname Magnum was also given to this pair in reflection of Dirty Harry’s gun, which was a .44 magnum pistol.
Pocket 5’s – Nicknames: Speed Limit, Presto. The nickname speed limit is simple to figure out – many highways have the speed limit of fifty-five miles per hour. The nickname presto came from a couple of miraculous wins with this hand, and years later, people still retain the magic in this hand my calling it ‘Presto’.
Pocket 6’s – Nicknames: Boots, Route 66. Again, these nicknames are simple to figure out. Route 66 is a nickname due to the cards making the number 66, and the nickname boots is for this hand as the numbers look like boots.
Pocket 7’s – Nicknames: Walking Sticks, Sunset Strip. The nickname walking sticks are used as the numbers resemble walking sticks. The title ‘Sunset Strip’ is a reflection of the television show.
Pocket 8’s – Nicknames: Snowmen, Piano Keys. The nickname snowmen are used as the number eight looks like the beginning of a snowman and the nickname piano keys are used as there are eighty-eight keys on a piano.
Pocket 9’s – Nicknames: Phil Hellmuth, Wayne Gretzky. These nicknames pay tribute to famous people – Wayne Gretzky wore the number 99 and Phil Hellmuth won the 1989 World Series of Poker with this hand.
Pocket 10’s – Nickname: Dimes. This hand is called dimes because the number ten is also referred to as a dime.
Pocket Jacks – Nickname: (Fish)hooks. Because of how they look, pocket jacks are referred to as hooks or fishhooks.
Pocket Queens – Nickname: Ladies. This hand is called ladies because this hand consists of holding two card with women on it.
Pocket Kings – Nicknames: King Kong, Cowboys. This hand is called King Kong because of the lettering (KK) and cowboys because the player is holding two cards with the strongest male photos.
Pocket Aces – Nicknames: Rockets, American Airlines, Bullets, Snake Eyes. Call them whatever you want, they are nice to have. Some nicknames are understandable (American Airlines because of the lettering), but others have been made up to signify the importance of this hand.