The “Dead Man’s Hand” in poker is a two pair, consisting of the black aces and eights.
It’s called the Dead Man’s Hand because it’s what Wild Bill Hickok was holding, along with a jack (some say queen) of diamonds, at the moment he was killed.
Gunfighter Hickok made it a policy never to sit with his back to the door, but when another player playfully sat in his seat, Hickok broke his own rule.
Unfortunately, it just so happened that this was the day drifter Jackie McCall came through the door with a gun.
He shot Hickok from behind, and since then some superstitious gamblers dread getting aces and eights.