For twenty years, I have worn a Texas-flag lapel pin or hat pin to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournaments at fellow Texan Benny Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, in Las Vegas. It helps me project an image of being fearless, cagey, and as full of tricks as I am of old Texas sayings. Wearing the flag helps start conversations, most of which often begin, “How’s the poker in Abilene?” Or Amarillo, or Gladewater, or Houston. The answer has radically changed with the growth of poker all over the world, which occurred after the release of the movie Rounders and escalated with televised poker tournaments and Internet poker. Gamblers everywhere are playing Texas Hold ’Em, a poker game that began in West Texas in the late fifties. Some estimate that as many as 50 million Americans play poker in home games, casinos, and on the Internet. When I proudly wear my Texas flag in Las Vegas, poker players make some assumptions that are true and some that are false, and that’s okay with me—it makes being on the road a lot more special. Here’s a list of nicknames for poker hands to help make you look like a winner—both among your poker-expert pals and in your chip count.

Two Aces: Pocket Rockets, American Airlines

Two Queens: Maude and Irene, Siegfried and Roy, Hilton Sisters

Ace/Ten: Johnny Moss (named in honor of the 1970 and 1971 World Series of Poker champion)

Ace/Eight: Dead Man’s Hand (Wild Bill Hickok had two pairs—one of aces and one of eights—when he was killed)

King/Queen: Royal Couple

King/Jack: Lonely Man

King/Nine: Canine Unit

Jack/Five: the Jackson Five, Motown

Ten/Five: Dime Store, Woolworth’s

Ten/Four: Good Buddy, Policeman’s Hand

Nine/Five: Dolly Parton

Eight/Four: Big Brother (from George Orwell’s novel 1984)

Two Sixes: Route 66, the Mother Road

Two Fives: Speed Limit

These hands are named after what the figures look like on the cards:

Two Jacks: Fish Hooks

Two Tens: Twenty Miles of Railroad Track

Two Eights: Frog Eyes

Two Fours: Sail Boats

Two Threes: Crabs

Two Twos: Ducks

Johnny Hughes has written for,,, and many other Web sites. He lives near Lubbock and currently is working on a book of poker stories.