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Trombones

What is ‘Trombones’?

‘Trombones’ is a common nickname for the poker hand 7-6. The name is used for any combination of suits, including a suited set. The hand is named after a popular song from Broadway musical The Music Man called 76 Trombones. Another common name for the 7-6 hand is ‘Union Oil’ or simply ‘Union’, in reference to American fuel brand Union 76.

‘Trombones’ Explained

In games of Hold’Em poker and in some forms of stud poker, players are dealt two cards to their hand or face down in front of them. The other cards in the game are dealt face up, either to be used by the player (stud poker) or as a board which is shared by everyone (Hold’Em poker). When the two pocket cards are dealt face down to the table, the player will take a look and learn their value before returning them to their position. This limits the chance of an opponent seeing what they hold.

To remember which cards they hold, a practice developed of assigning nicknames to the two cards. These names relate to the cards in some way, usually referencing the value, suit or initials of the cards. For example, a hand of K-Q is often known as the ‘royal couple’, referring to the king and queen. A K-9 hand is usually called a dog because the cards sound like ‘canine’. ‘Trombones’ is another example of this, describing a hand of 7-6.

The name comes from a song in Broadway musical The Music Man called ’76 Trombones’. The award winning stage show has been running periodically since 1957, and also led to a successful movie adaptation by the same name which was released in 1962. The musical has been revived for the modern age – in 2003, a television series based on the stage show was launched.