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Dead Man’s Hand

Until a guy sent the scorpions scurrying last night, I didn’t know anything about Wild Bill Hickok. I’m not a big fan of Westerns and I had a football coach for both American History and Government/Economics. He was mostly just interested in football, so if they taught Bill back then, I missed it.

In case you don’t know, here’s a brief history before I get to the rest of  last night’s story. This info and the photos are all from the Wild Bill Hickok link in Wikipedia.

James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876), was a folk hero of the American Old West. The Old West, at that time, being Kansas and Nebraska. Coming from Iowa, I’ve never thought of Nebraska as all that Westerly.

Anyway, Wild Bill, a famous gunfighter and lawman, is credited as the originator of the quick draw which wasn’t actually very quick. He and the other fellow faced each other sideways, like in a duel, drew and aimed before firing. He was just a better shot.

Anyway, Hickok headed out West as a stagecoach driver, turned lawman and then soldier. After the Civil War, he ran for office a few times, was in a play with Buffalo Bill Cody and eventually went to the Black Hills in search of gold.

But this post is really about cards.

I love to play cards. As a matter of fact, if you know any great two person card games, I’d like to hear about them. I play Euchre, Pinochle, Canasta, Rummy, Whist, Cribbage and on rare occasions, any of many varieties of Solitaire.

I don’t play Poker. I have, but I just don’t like it real well. Maybe because I can’t bluff and since I can’t bluff, there’s too much luck and not enough strategy for me. Bill, on the other hand, was a professional poker player.

I have a good friend that’s a former cop. Whenever we go anywhere, he ALWAYS wants to sit with his back against the wall, preferably in the corner. Wild Bill, lawman and poker player, did, too. Except for the one night that he couldn’t.

On August 2, 1876, Hickok was playing poker at Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, in the Black Hills, Dakota Territory. Hickok, as a precaution, usually sat with his back to the wall. The only seat available when he joined the poker game was a chair that put his back to a door. Twice he asked another player, Charles Rich, to change seats with him, and on both occasions Rich refused. A former buffalo hunter they called  “Broken Nose Jack” McCall walked in unnoticed. McCall walked to within a few feet of Wild Bill and then suddenly drew a pistol and shouted, “Take that!” before firing. The assassin’s bullet hit Hickok in the back of the head, killing him instantly. ~ Wikipedia

That brings me to just before midnight last night. A guy drove up to the gate sending a multitude of scorpions running in every direction. I asked him what company he was with. I thought he said: Ace’s and Eight’s.

As you know, I often have had trouble catching every southern syllable. I’ve heard a lot of different company names down here, but none like that. Figuring I’d misunderstood, I asked again.

Yep, it was Ace’s and Eight’s.

He said: You know, the Dead Man’s Hand.

I said: Oh.

Of course I didn’t know but the internet smiled on me tonight and let me on-line just now to look it up. Ace’s and eight’s were the 4 cards showing in Wild Bill’s hand when he was shot. Apparently this is known in Poker circles as a Dead Man’s Hand.

I don’t know if you’re likely to win with 2 Ace’s and 2 Eights or if it even matters what that 5th card is? And I don’t know why someone named their company Aces and Eights. Maybe just because it makes a good story. Or maybe it’s like that old Oscar Mayer Wiener jingle. No, actually I don’t wish I were one, but it’s hard to forget. 😀


12 thoughts on “Dead Man’s Hand

  1. Pingback: Tips on How to Get More Blog Readers « FORK IN THE ROAD

  2. In answer to your question, yes, there are scorpions in Fort Worth. We used to live in Denton, Texas just north of Ft. Worth. Over the course of 10 years we had two scorpions in our house. Freaked me out!!! :0

    Were they the brown scorpions you saw? They are not particularly poisionous, but I’ve talked to people who have been stung and it’s not something you forget… it really, really hurts I’m told.

    Just now many scorpions do you see a night? I hate those things!!! I think I’ll tie my pant legs down around my fatbaby boots… don’t want one of them crawling up my leg.

    Don’t they scatter when they see people, like when you take the dog out? One of our Chihuahuas, Jesse James, would be the type to try to play with it. NO JESSE!!!

    Please tell me they do scatter when you go out and start walking among them, please… please… please!!!

    • LOL! They usually do scatter. I haven’t seen nearly as many this winter, if that’s any comfort. The only time I’ve had one on my pant leg was when one of the guys got one in his slipper and kicked it at me. 🙂

      • Yes, it is a comfort. During this time of nocturnal transition, the fewer critters I see… the better!

        Hope you’re having a great night/morning this day/days. LOL… I’m still getting my bearings with working nights. I take my morning vitamins at 8 or 9 pm. My lunch is around 1:30 am, and it’s one day when I start work and another when I quit. I am constantly trying to figure out what day it is. Luckily my watch and the atomic clock on the wall let me know quickly. 🙂

  3. Supposely we had relatives from the Deadwood area. They knew of Wild Bill Hickok. When I was growing up in the Allison, Iowa area, we had an old side saddle (a saddle used by females where they did not straddle the horse)in the attic. The story was this was the saddle of Wild Bill Hickok’s niece. As kids, we didn’t have a horse so we put it on one of our brown swiss milk cows. Anyhow, the saddle is in the Wild Bill Hickik’s museum on loan according to my first cousin.

    • Wow, Bruce! Wait till Heidi reads this one! Just think, she could have ridden sidesaddle in Wild Bill’s nieces’ saddle, on your brown cow! Or did she and she just doesn’t know it? 😉
      It’s so fun to hear from you!
      ~ Debbie
      I’m sure Heidi will add to this tomorrow!

    • LOL – and you’re my Texas buddy, Jeff. Don’t they have scorpions in Ft Worth?
      I hate it when Henry wants to go out in the middle of the night because they’re almost always there. I’m not particularly afraid of them since they don’t seem to be aggressive unless you pick one up by mistake and he wants down – but I’m always afraid one is going to zing Henry.
      ~ Debbie

    • Dear Baileys – I’ve played Hearts and Spades but never with 2 people – thanks. Gin Rummy we do play. Good to hear from you and hope all is going well for you now. I haven’t been able to get into my email to respond.
      ~ Debbie

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