|The makeup of poker's dead man's hand has varied through the years. Currently, the dead man's hand is described as a two-pair poker hand consisting of the black aces and black eights.|
Along with an unknown "hole" card, these were the cards reportedly held by "Old West" folk hero, lawman and gunfighter, Wild Bill Hickok when he was murdered.
|James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837 – August 2, 1876), better known as Wild Bill Hickok, was a folk hero of the American Old West.|
Hickok came to the West as a stagecoach driver, then became a lawman in the frontier territories of Kansas and Nebraska. He fought for the Union Army during the American Civil War and professional gambler after. Between his law-enforcement duties and gambling, Hickok was involved in several shootouts.
|He was shot and killed on August 2, 1876 while playing poker in the Number Ten Saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota).|
Wild Bill had a premonition Deadwood would be his last camp, and expressed this belief to his friend Charlie Utter, and the others who were traveling with them at the time. 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 named John McCall walked in unnoticed. Jack 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.
|McCall was acquited on his first trial but was subsequently hanged on March 1, 1877 after a second.|
The gravesite was moved in 1881 and his body was exhumed and found to have the noose still around his neck.
A photograph of Deadwood in 1876.