With mind as oxygen tanks and imagination, we are back to immerse ourselves in the dirty mirror of history again. This time we take the scenic route across the Deadwood Territory in Dakota, where we explore the origins of the Dead Man’s Hand, a combo familiar to card players and motorhead fans.
The Dead Man’s living exploits
However he got the nickname Wild Bill, soon no one dared to say that it wasn’t an appropriate name. Although the Revenant film was based on real events that Hugh Glass survived, Wild Bill was in a similar Ursine bridge between New Mexico and Missouri when he found that his train was stopped on the tracks for a bear and cubs. At a time when humans were still fighting for their primacy in the food chain, these hard-nosed rangers did not have the same empathy for animal welfare that we have today. Bill got out with a cocked gunner and approached the bear with the measured step of a man who knew the innumerable forms of danger. Unlike Timothy Treadwall, whose passion for bears and humanizing his observations of their behavior ultimately blinded him to their wilder nature, Wild Bill did not hesitate to perform his duty.
As he stared at this incarnated constellation with iron eyes, the she-bear climbed to the height of her immense stature and scratched his chest like spearheads, splitting his clothes in two and leaving scarlet rags in their place. Hickok fired a clean shot in chaos at unmistakable speed that ricocheted off the angry bear’s skull. The bear was twice as angry and was now staggering in white agony. She sprinted and pinned Hickok where she tried to devour him. 100 years before Jiu Jitsu existed in the western mainstream meta, Hickok managed to make room for his knees by pushing his hips under the vengeful mass of the bear, just enough to go past his injured front to the knife on his Belt. A man who was awarded firearms for his skill moved his knife over the bear’s neck with the precision of a butcher and killed it immediately.
Cards to play in Dakota when you’re dead
The dead man’s hand was a living man’s hand before the shot was fired at the border on the evening of August 1, 1876. It appears that the bullet that entered Bill’s soft head did more to ensure his immortality in posterity than ever before being released from his own big iron, including the bear pit. Like James Dean, Kurt Cobain and countless others, it seems to live forever that you die young.
Nuttal and Mann’s Saloon, the mainstay of the later famous Deadwood main street. You will not find meekness among players, soldiers, prospectors and seekers of happiness here, but there is unmistakably a latent something; a sense of possibility of divergent forks. From the bar you can see Wild Bill playing poker. He stands at the door and mocks the claim of growing paranoia. Opposite is the drunkest man in the room, an honor hard earned in a city famous for lawlessness and bacchanalia. Jack McCall is bitter. The price of his work is lost in gambling, a drink worsens the situation. Contrary to the double nature that is assumed by the inhabitants of Gomorra,
Wild Bill takes pity and advises McCall to retire without remorse and even save a coin to cover the breakfast he would need for his upcoming hangover.
The next night Hickok comes to Nuttal and Manns; Five Card Stud is the game. His usual place, which again faces the door, is taken and his occupant refuses a switch. The game is set in every way. Betting begins. Coins seek and find happy new masters. Forlorn participants lose contagion strands. Jack McCall still stinks after last night, his acidity untamed by Bill’s good-bye goodbye. Bill never knows. McCall raises the pistol and glides ghostly through the tavern as he walks between his whispers toward his goal. The bullet he shoots is up close. The wild Bill Hickok dies immediately. He slumps, the cards are still like vices in his pale fist, the famous black two-pair aces and black figure-eight – the dead man’s hand. He is 36 years old, although, like Alexander, he lived a thousand years of splendid life. Later folklore copies Bill Hickok privately stated that he supernaturally knew that his life in the city of Deadwood would end. Bill himself was buried in Deadwood. His friend Charlie Utter gave a tearful eulogy to a large crowd.
McCall showed no remorse in two successive lawsuits, one by an informal “miners” jury just before the murder and one by Yankton’s official courts, the capital of Dakota Territory, in which he was sentenced to murder. Jack McCall was hung up on March 1st, 1877. Years later the cemetery was moved to a different location and McCall’s exhumed body was no longer visible because the foul-smelling rope was still tight around his neck.
As a superstitious sailor, it is strange that cards found in the cold dead hands of a murdered man are not considered bad omens among poker players, but of course we see that aces and eights can be played just like any other set in the game modern game.
So we managed to handle Wild Bill, a bear plot, and the infamous Dead Man’s Hand in a thousand fewer words than usual. If the ingenious observation of old Shoeface that the soul of the joke is short, shows that this has been our funniest written venture so far. Did we miss anything about Wild Bill? What is your favorite way to play the Dead Man’s hand? What is your favorite Motorhead song? Leave a comment below, we appreciate your opinion on everything to do with poker.