Why are Aces and 8s called the Dead Man’s Hand?

The legend began 139 years ago - August 2, 1876.

Wild Bill Hickok and the cards he held when he was shot to death on August 2, 1876 (TVTropes)
Wild Bill Hickok and the cards he held when he was shot to death on August 2, 1876 (TVTropes)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On August 2, 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was shot to death while playing poker at Nuttall & Mann’s Saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota by  Jack McCall.

Hickok, who was 39, had a real aversion to sitting with his back to the door. But on this day, he did. McCall walked into the saloon and fired a bullet into the back of Wild Bill’s head.

McCall was tried and acquitted. He claimed the murder was revenge for Wild Bill killing his brother. Turns out McCall didn’t have a brother.

The trial was later overturned because Deadwood was not totally incorporated at that time. McCall was re-arrested, tried in Yankton, convicted and hanged.

When Wild Bill Hickok was shot, legend said he held 2 pair: black Aces and black 8s. It’s not known what the 5th card in his hand was.

That’s why Aces and 8s are known as the Dead Man’s Hand — a legend which began 139 years ago.

Photos: TVTropes

Comments are closed.