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Jesse James

What is ‘Jesse James’?

‘Jesse James’ is the nickname given to a poker hand containing 4-5 from any suit or suits. The phrase usually refers to a two-card hand, so the hole cards in stud or the personal cards in Hold ‘Em. Poker players assign nicknames to all of the possible two-card hands, and these are often heard during play in reference to the different cards at the table.

‘Jesse James’ Explained

Jesse James was an infamous American outlaw and criminal who gained notoriety and fame for his actions, even during his life, and who was killed by bounty hunters in 1882. He lends his name to the poker hand of 5 and 4, in any suit combination. This is because the weapon which killed James was a Colt .45 handgun. The hand is also known as the ‘Colt .45’ or simply as the ‘Colt’, for the same reason and in reference to the weapon.

Since 2003, the 4-5 hand has another name: the ‘Moneymaker’. This rather apt gambling nickname actually comes from the name of the 2003 World Series of Poker champion, Chris Moneymaker who won the title with the Jesse James hand. Today, players might use any of the names above when talking about a 4-5 hand.

The hand itself is a good one to play, even when it falls offsuit, because it has the start of a straight. A flush 4-5 is even better, with two options already open. However, the low cards will not help if the game comes down to a pair; there are plenty of higher sets which could beat the low five. It is, therefore, a ‘drawing hand’ which needs improvement and will rely a lot on the draw or the flop, with a big chance of failure if those cards do not fall right, but it could still be worth staying in for and seeing the next card before making a firm decision.