What is ‘Snowmen’?
Snowmen is a casino term used to describe a pocket pair of eights. The term comes from the fact that the number ‘8’ looks like a snowman, so therefore ‘snowmen’ has become a popular term when describing a pair of eights as a hand. As a starter hand, snowmen is a pretty good one to have and will often see players betting before the flop in an attempt to stay in the hand with the hope that another eight will make its way onto the table in the flop.
Slang terms for starter pairs based on what the number looks like are quite common in casino games. In addition to snowmen for a pair of eights, some players will refer to a pair of 4’s as ‘sailboats’. Other terms include ‘ducks’ for a pair of 2’s, a pair of 9’s is sometimes called ‘meathooks’ and a pair of 7’s is referred to as ‘hockey sticks’ by some players and ‘walking sticks’ by others.
Experienced poker players know that starting with snowmen puts them in a relatively strong position, but their strong starting hand could become instantly weaker if an eight doesn’t appear on the flop. If the dealer were to turn over a nine, a king and a four, the player holding snowmen will know that there is a good chance that one of their opponents could be holding at least one nine or one king, meaning their pair of eights has become easily beatable.
Depending on the type of player, they may choose to fold or stay in the hand with the hope of seeing another eight on the turn or the river. They may also decide to try and bluff their way to the pot, although that could be seen as a risky strategy. If an eight were to appear however, they would be in a very strong position indeed when it came to the end of a hand.
Even some of the most experienced players find a pocket pair such as snowmen hard to resist when it comes to betting, this is because they know that statistically, the chances of being dealt a pocket pair is relatively rare. In-fact, players stand to receive a pocket pair from the dealer only once every seventeen hands. That kind of rarity tends to make players play more aggressively with a pocket pair of eights, despite the risks of becoming exposed once the flop has been dealt.