What are Gorillas?
In poker, ‘gorillas’ means a pair of kings in the hole or the hand at the start of the game. The name is derived from ‘King Kong’, the movie gorilla – this is also a common name for the hand – and it is sometimes lengthened to ‘Gorillas In The Mist’, which is another movie reference. Other names for a pair of kings include Cowboys, Knights and Kangaroos.
In Hold ‘Em and stud poker games, players usually receive two cards to start the game. These two cards are often dealt face down to the table; though the player looks at them and learns their value, they then put them down and simply remember what they held. Those two cards are used along with others on the board or dealt face up to make a complete hand of five cards and bid for the pot.
Players often use nicknames for each starting hand in order to remember what they held, or to quickly describe their hand to the other players when needed. Each combination of two cards has therefore been assigned one or more nicknames. ‘Gorillas’ is one of these nicknames, used to describe a hand of K-K (two Kings). The hand is also described as King Kong by many players, and the ‘gorillas’ name derives from this. Sometimes the hand is called ‘Gorillas In The Mist’, which is a lengthy derivative of the original ‘King Kong’ nickname.
This poker slang is used for any combination of two cards. For example, A-A is often called ‘pocket rockets’ or ‘bullets’, Q-Q is usually ‘ladies’, and a K-9 is sometimes called ‘dogs’ (as K-9 = canine). Players might even make up their own slang terms to use, based on the initials and numbers of the cards in their hand.