What is ‘Ladies’?
When used in the context of casino gaming, ‘ladies’ usually refers to a two card hand that holds a pair of queens. The term might appear in blackjack and other games, but it appears most regularly in stud and community poker games. Sometimes, the phrase might be used to describe a set of two or more queens in a five card hand.
In poker, ‘ladies’ is one of the most common slang terms used to describe the two-card hand that consists of two queens from any suit. ‘Red ladies’ is the hearts and diamonds pair, and ‘black queens’ is the clubs and spades set. Ladies is a very strong opening hand in a stud or Hold’Em game, only beaten by a pair of kings or a pair of aces. A player who gets ‘ladies’ in the hole will almost certainly stay in for the next round, and their appearance early in the game puts that player at a strong advantage. However, there is a gambling superstition which claims that queens are a weak hand and seldom win, so there are players who will fold on this hand.
In poker, all of the different two-card combinations have different slang names. There are lots of other nicknames for the two queens hand, including ‘snowshoes’ and ‘P-CO’. If the hand wins, ‘ladies’ tends to be used as it is a favourable term. Often, the nicknames for the two queen hand are derogatory – from ‘San Francisco Wedding’ to ‘Canadian Aces’.
In horse racing, ‘Ladies Day’ is traditionally designated as a day when women attend the races. Many of the elite races, including Ascot and Cheltenham, have a ‘Ladies Day’ when formal dress is encouraged and high society socialise at the event. In the past, ladies would only attend the races on these special days, though today both men and women regularly attend race betting days.