So called following the assassination of "Wild Bill" Hickok in 1876 as he was holding Aces & Eights.

DEAD MAN’S HAND

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In this high stakes poker game we catch a glimpse of this man’s hand. Note the upside down Ace of spades. “Wild Bill” Hickok was assassinated in Deadwood in 1876 during a poker game and his cards were picked up from the floor. The story has changed some over the years, but it is now accepted that Hickok was holding a pair of Aces and a pair of eights.  This became known in lore as the Dead Man’s Hand.