TEXAS HOLD’EM A TO Z:
"N" is for the Nuts
by Bill Burton
Bill Burton is the author of 1000 Best Casino Gambling Secrets available atwww.billburton.com, and Get the Edge at Low Limit Texas Hold'em available at www.bjinsider.com. He is an instructor for Golden Touch Craps: www.thecrapsclub.com
When you play poker and have a hand that cannot be beaten, it's called the "Nuts." Every player hopes to flop the nuts because they are guaranteed to win the hand, but how much money you win will depend on how you play the hand.
When you are playing Texas Hold'em you should be able to look at the cards on the board and determine "the nuts."
Look at this example.
If the cards on the board were
And you hold the
The best hand possible is a heart flush. Since you hold the Ace of hearts, you have made the highest flush possible. You have a "Nut Flush." In an ideal situation, your opponent will have a lesser flush and give you plenty of action.
Betting vs. Checking
When you have the nuts, you want to get as much money in the pot as you can. If you have players in the pot that you know will bet, you can go for a check-raise. If you are in a very passive game, and the players are likely to check along, then it would be better to bet it out and hope that one of the other players raises you. Then you can re-raise. In most instances, I prefer to bet in this situation. Many players try to get fancy when they have the nut hand. They will try for a check-raise only to have the other players check along with them. Unless you are in a very aggressive game, it will usually be better to bet a hand then to check it. The decision will be up to you and your read on the other players in the game, however my philosophy is: "When in doubt bet it out!"
Not Quite the Nuts
There will be situations when you have the very best hand after the flop. Some players mistakenly identify this hand as the nuts, and will bet it without giving any regards to the cards that come on the turn and the river. This can be a costly mistake when it happens.
I was playing in a game and limped in from late position with:
There were several players who called the pot but there were no pre-flop raises. The flop was:
Two players checked, then the next player bet and I called with my bottom two pairs. The player to my left raised the pot and the two players who had checked, folded. The original bettor and I called the raise. The game had been fairly loose and the player could have been raising with a pair of Aces. By reading the cards on the board, I knew it was possible that he could also be holding an Ace-high straight.
The turn card was
This gave me a full house of Queens and Tens. The player to my left bet and I raised. The player, who had previously raised, re-raised me and the original player folded. The best possible hand on board was now Aces full of Queens. The other player could not have four Queens as I held one of them. I did not think he had pocket Aces because this player had previously raised before the flop with any pair from any position. I re-raised and he re-raised me back. I called because I knew that my hand was strong but it was not the Nuts. The river card was a three that did not help at all. I bet and he merely called me.
I turned over my Queen-Ten and he turned over his King and Jack. He looked at my full house and was shocked. He said, " I flopped the nut straight! I thought you had a straight as well and we were going to split this pot."
Another player quipped, "You may have had the nuts on the flop, but you forgot about the turn and the river cards!"
By thinking that he had the nuts, he re-raised in situations where he should have just called. He admitted later that he misplayed the hand. There will be situations when you will flop the absolute nuts that won't change, but there will be other times when you have to be aware that the turn and river card may change the best hand on the board.
You won’t draw the absolute nut hand too often, but when you do, make sure to play it for the most profit you can get. Pay attention to the other players at your table so you can capitalize on your unbeatable hand.
Until next time, remember: "Luck comes and goes...Knowledge Stays Forever!"
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