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All You Need to Know About Poker Hand Nicknames

Home » All You Need to Know About Poker Hand Nicknames

All You Need to Know About Poker Hand Nicknames

Pocket aces in a poker hand.

If you play online poker regularly, then you’ve probably heard a couple of the colorful nicknames given to poker hands. To the untrained hand, “kick” or “Route 66” is likely to mean nothing during poker online games; however, experienced players know that it’s referring to a pair of sixes.

It’s essential that you know your “acemMagnets” from your “space cowboy” if you want success in online poker tournaments and games. There are hundreds of poker hand nicknames out there, but a few are the most important to remember if you want to learn how to play poker well.

While it’s impossible to list every nickname, these are the most popular nicknames to be aware of.

Most Popular Poker Hand Nicknames

As mentioned, it’s a tall order to list all of the nicknames you’ll come across in online casino games. However, if you want to learn how to win gutshot draws and other poker plays, you’ll have to recognize the most important ones. 

You’ll most likely hear the following nicknames when playing Texas Hold’em and other common poker variants.

Pocket Pairs

Pocket pairs are one of the most common combinations within a poker hand and they simply refer to two hole cards of the same value in a hand.

Here are the most popular pocket pair nicknames you’ll hear for different values.

Pocket Aces (AA)

  • Pocket Rockets: The letter “A” resembles a rocket, and this is what led to pocket aces becoming pocket rockets.
  • Batteries: If you know anything about batteries, you’ll know that they come in different sizes with different letter identifiers. The most popular battery is the “double A.” Hence, a hand with AA became known as “batteries.”

Pocket Kings (KK)

A pocket kings hand in poker.
  • Ace Magnets: An ironic nickname, meaning that you don’t want another player to have a pair of aces, given that it’s the only pair that could beat this hand
  • Cowboys: There isn’t a defined reason for this nickname, but it’s thought to come from either the phonetic similarities between “c” and “k” or from Texas Hold’em, as Texas had a lot of poker players and cowboys.
  • Big Slick: This can be one of the best starting hands, but it can also be a slippery slope and result in big losses too.

Pocket Queens (QQ)

  • Ladies: It simply describes that you’re holding two symbolically “female” cards in your hand.

Pocket Jacks (JJ)

  • Hooks or fishhooks: This is self-explanatory, given that the letter “J” looks like a fishhook.

Pocket Tens (TT)

  • Dynamite: “TT” sounds like “TNT” when it’s said out loud. TNT is the symbol of dynamite.
  • Train Tracks: Alliteration for the two Ts, but it’s also thought to refer to the Old West railroad.


Your best bet after pocket kings or aces is to have a combination of something involving an ace (A-X).

Ace-King (AK)

  • King Arthur: The cards’ initials in reference to the famous King Arthur of the Round Table.
  • Space Cowboy: Combination of the cards’ two nicknames, “ace from space” and “cowboy.”

Ace-Queen (AQ)

  • Anthony and Cleopatra: Referencing Shakespeare’s play, the ace is Anthony, and the queen is Cleopatra.
  • Rocket Queen: A combination of the “A” resembling a rocket and the queen and a throwback to the famous Guns N’ Roses song, “Rocket Queen.”

Ace-Jack (AJ)

  • Highjack: A mashup between having a high card (ace) and the jack card.

Ace-Eight (A8)

  • The Dead Man’s Hand: Wild Bill Hickok apparently had this exact hand when he was shot during a poker game in South Dakota in 1876. Whether this is true or not remains a mystery, but the nickname has stuck.

K-X Hands

Here are some king combinations and their most popular nicknames.

King-Queen (KQ)

A king and queen card of hearts.
  • Marriage: This refers to the fact that the king and queen are usually married.
  • Divorce: Same reference as above, except this nickname would be used if this hand actually turned out to be a losing hand.
  • Throne: Kings and queens sit on the thrones.

King-Jack (KJ)

  • Joking/Just Kidding: “JK” is an abbreviation for just kidding or joking in real life. 

Q-X Hands

These are the most common queen hand combo nicknames.

Queen-Jack (QJ)

  • Hawaii: There’s a story among professional poker players that if you don’t play a QJ for a year, you’ll be able to afford to go on holiday to Hawaii.
  • Quack: A mashup of queen and jack.

Queen-Ten (QT)

  • Cutie: “QT” said out loud, sounds like “cutie.”
  • Q-Tip: Same initials of this hand.

King-Nine (K9)

  • Canine: Said out loud, K9 sounds exactly the same as “canine.”

J-X Hands

Jack-Ten (JT)

  • Greek Passport: Legend states that a Greek player won a game with this hand and used the money to buy an Australian residency and move there.
  • Justin Timberlake: The ‘Nsync singer often referred to as “JT.”
  • TJ Hooker: Named after the famous TV show character TJ Hooker.

Jack-Five (J5)

  • Jackson Five: This isn’t a great hand to have at all, but it is important to know it. Named after the Jackson sibling singing group.

Other Hands’ Nicknames

An ace to five straight poker hand.
  • Nine-Five (95) is called the Dolly Parton: So called for her famous song “Working 9 to 5.”
  • Five-Four (54) is called the Moneymaker: The exact hand that Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP Main Event with, showing the world that amateurs could win and changing the face of poker forever.
  • Ace to five straight (A, 2, 3, 4, 5) is called the Wheel: Describes the lowest straight you can get in a poker game.

Learn More About Online Poker With BetMGM

Of course, nicknames are just the start of learning how to play poker like a pro, and BetMGM is here to help you learn other essential information. Check out the BetMGM blog if you want to learn about poker, like what the river is, hand rankings, and more.

Register with BetMGM to play online poker, video poker, tournaments, or live dealer casino games.

Don’t know your “Dolly Parton” from your “space cowboy” when you play poker online? Here’s a list of the most popular poker hand nicknames you should learn.