Poker Hands: Card Combination Nicknames You Should Know to Sound Like a Pro

Poker jargon and terminology can often seem intimidating and overwhelming for poker newcomers. While there are various poker games to play, poker hands are the common denominator that runs through all poker variants. Knowing poker hand nicknames can help you sound like an experienced player at the table, even if you’re brand new to the game.

This post covers some of the most common poker hands and their nicknames so that you can feel comfortable playing any poker game. Let’s dive in!

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Pocket Rockets

This poker hand nickname describes a pocket pair of Aces. Pocket Rockets are considered one of the strongest poker hands, and they’re extremely rare to find.

Pocket Aces also go by the following names:


This nickname pertains to pocket Kings or a pair of Kings. Its origins are unclear, but some believe it comes from the “K” sound of the word “Cowboys.”

Pocket Kings also go by the following names:


This poker hand nickname refers to pocket Queens, or a pair of Queens, as the only female face card in poker.

Hooks / Fishhooks

Pocket Jacks, based on the letter “J”‘s hook-like shape.


A pair of 10’s, based on the American dime’s value of 10 cents.

Phil Hellmuth

This poker hand nickname is most commonly used for pocket 9’s. It references poker player Phil Hellmuth, who made his name with the same cards in the 1989 WSOP Main Event.

Wayne Gretzky

Another name for pocket 9’s. It’s derived from the poker champion of the same name, famous for donning a uniform with the number 99.


The nickname for pocket 8’s, derived from the number’s pretzel-like appearance. Pocket 8’s also go by the following names:

Candy Canes

A pair of 7’s, based on the number’s resemblance to a candy cane. Pocket 7’s are also called Hockey Sticks due to the number’s similar shape.


This poker hand nickname refers to a pair of 6s, as the number resembles a boot. Pocket 6s are also known as:


A poker hand nickname for pocket 5โ€™s based on the U.S. coin’s value of five cents.

Darth Vader

Some players call black pocket 4’s “The Dark Side of the Fours” or “Darth Vader.” A pair of 4’s also goes by:


This poker hand nickname is most commonly used for pocket 3’s due to the number’s similarity to the crustacean’s pinchers.


The poker nickname for pocket 2’s, derived from the number itself. Some call a pair of 2s “Ducks” due to the number’s resemblance to the animal.

Barry Greenstein

This nickname pays homage to the author of the famous poker book “Ace on the River,” which refers to an ace hitting on the fifth street. This situation can be a game-changing moment for players who master it and have made some of their luckiest wins in this very spot.

Big Slick

An A-K poker combination is called this because it is often quite powerful, yet if not improved on future streets, leads to precarious predicaments.


In poker, the highest straight imaginable comprises the most powerful cards between Ten and Ace. These respective cards are often called “Broadway” on their own.

Chris Moneymaker

The 5d-4s poker combination is forever associated with the legendary 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion, who secured his victory by playing this very combo as his final hand. This poker hand is a tribute to him and that fateful moment in poker history.

Doyle Brunson

The 10-2 poker hand has been affectionately nicknamed this after the two-time WSOP Main Event champion who won with that very same hand.

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Four Horsemen

A nickname for four-of-a-kind kings, inspired by the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” in the Bible.

Golf Bag

The five-card flush of club-suited cards is called this after the bag used to carry golf clubs.

The Hammer

The 7-2o is one of the most dreaded hands in poker that has earned this less-than-desirable nickname. As soon as players see this hand, they usually make the wise decision to fold.


A three-of-a-kind sevens in poker has come to be known as this, named after the jackpot numbers featured on slot machines.

T.J. Cloutier

Poker players call the poker hand Jd-9d this after the single player who reportedly flopped three straight flushes in one year with this set.

The Wheel

This is the colloquial term for an Ace-to-5 straight, which happens to be the most advantageous low hand in all of lowball poker.

Poker hand nicknames are a fun and exciting way to play the poker cards you’re dealt with. These are just some of themโ€”there are more than can be counted. But learning them can help add some flavor to your poker games. More importantly, using these names and other poker slang can help you appear more knowledgeable and confident in your poker play. So get out there and start using these hand nicknames at your next poker table!