Even with the decline in the number of US players due to current US legislation it seams that everyone loves poker. From the number of online poker rooms, the players that play free online poker and the many tournaments is is clear that the poker boom of the last decade (both online and landbased) is still in effect. There are many new stories about (in)famous poker hands, bad beats and great feats of victory but in my opinion the most famous hands are those that have stood the test of time. My two favorites are “Dead Man’s Hand” and “Texas Dolly”- those are the main topics here.Texas DollyLong before the online poker boom Doyle Brunson became one of the few players to win the World Series of Poker twice in a row. He won in 1976 and 1977 and even though the tournament didn’t have the thousands of players it has now, this was still a huge achivement for Doyle.
The thing that qualifies his winning hands as being among the most famous is that both years he ended up winning the tournament with the some two hole cards, T2 (Ten Two) – a pretty unlikely coincidence.In 1976, Doyle played heads up against Jesse Alto who had AJ (Ace-Jack) in the last hand. Doyle’s hole cards were the T2 of spades. Doyle had a big chip lead and decided to call Alto’s raise before the flop (not something I can ever see myself doing). The flop were A-J-10, very good for Alto who could only realisticly fear a KQ now with his top two pair. Alto bets the flop and Doyle makes his signature power poker all in raise – not a very good time for this bluff. Alto calls and must have been exstatic to see Doyle’s bad hand. Then the turn comes a deuce and the river a Ten giving Doyle a full house that beats Alto’s two pair. A huge suckout for Doyle that must have brought Alto to tears…In the 1977 final Doyle faced Bones Berland. Again Doyle ended up holding the Ten Two (T2) with Bones holding an 85 (Eight Five). Neither player bet pre flop and the flop shows T85 – a very good position for Bones who unfortunately opted to slowplay the hand. Doyle and Bones both checked the flop, and the turn shows a deuce – just like the previous year. Both now having two pair it is easy to see why all the chips went to the center of the table. The river card is a Ten – not the 8 or 5 Bones were hoping for – giving Doyle the victory once again with a Full House, Tens and Twos and his second championship.Dead Man’s HandMy personal favorite – being a western fan and all – and probably he most famous poker hand in poker history.Year: 1876.Place: Deadwood, Black Hills. A rough miner’s town in the old “Wild West” country. James Butler Hickok (better known as Wild Bill Hickok) was murdered here in 1876 while playing poker. Gold was descovered in the Black Hills in 1874 which quickly led to a gold rush period and the creation of a miner’s camp that by 1876 were slowly developing in to the small town of Deadwood. Wild Bill Hickok was playing draw poker on August 2nd in a local saloon. The excact details of the days events vary but facts are that Wild Bill was shot in the back of the head during the poker game. “Crooked Nose” McCall was the shooter but his motivies are unclear. Perhaps he was a hired gun that should prevent Bill from becoming Sheriff or he had a grievance to settle or maybe he was drunk (not entirely unthinkable). The important thing here is that Wild Bill died holding the hand of AA88x. This hand (AA88x, two pairs) has since been named “Dead Man’s Hand”. No one really knows what Bill’s last card was. It could have been a Queen, a Ten or he maybe he only had four cards in his hand – having discarded the last and waiting the dealer to give him a new…References to this historic event are plenty and can be found in book titles, songs, TV shows – like in the 4th episode of The X-Files, season 3 and the actual murder scene has been portrayed in many movies. My favorite is the scene in the hit Western show “Deadwood” – mainly because the show is rough, dirty and realistic. Check out a a scene where Bill plays poker with his soon to be killer here: poker scene on YouTube