What is nuts in poker and why is it called the nuts? The meaning has nothing to do with peanuts or cashews.

Saying you have the nuts in poker is like saying “I have the strongest possible hand right now”. The second nuts is the second best hand, and so on. When you have the nuts, it’s a great spot to be in, but it comes with challenges. Having the nuts on the flop does not mean you will have the nuts on the turn or river.

Sometimes, players have the “stone-cold nuts”, like four of a kind or a straight flush. Most of the time though, a nut hand can change when certain cards hit the table.

You need to know how to navigate these moments and make the most from players with weaker hands. Having the nuts and scaring off your opponents is an easy way to waste value.This article starts with clear examples of the nuts, then ends with useful strategies for playing these hands.

If you are unsure if you have the nuts, just check the board closely. What is the strongest hand combination with these community cards? Pairs and two-pair hands can never be the nuts.

Three-of-a-kind is the lowest-ranking hand combination that can be the nuts.

Board: 7♣ 8♥ K♠ 2♦ Q♣

The Nuts: K♦ K♣

On a board like this, there is no possibility for any hand stronger than three-of-a-kind.

Let’s do a quick test!

Can you find the nuts for these 4 example boards?

1. Board: 3♠ 5♠ 7♦

The nuts: 4♣ 6♥ makes a straight from 3♠ to 7♦

2. Board: 9♣ 9♥ A♦

The nuts: 9♦ 9♠ makes four-of-a-kind

3. Board: 3♣ 10♠ 7♦ Q♦

The nuts: Q♠ Q♣ makes three-of-a-kind

4. Board: 9♥ 10♥ 5♥ 7♣ A♣

The nuts: A♥ X♥ makes the nut flush (X = non specific card)

Even professional players misread the board sometimes. Take a close look and think carefully about what the strongest possible hand combination is.

Don’t forget about rare hands like straight flushes and four-of-a-kind, even if they are less likely.

Almost every online poker room will display your current hand combination somewhere on the screen. For PokerStars, it’s in the bottom right corner. For 888poker, it’s somewhere around the middle.

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When you have the nuts, you are secure for the moment. Things can change quickly though, meaning that you should have a plan for different turn and river cards.

Consider draws that threaten your nuts.

If you have the nuts on the flop, a lot can change by the river. You might have top set, but flushes, straights, and other hands can easily take away your advantage. Make sure you are aware of these draws and try to avoid letting your opponents see free cards. It’s usually a good idea to charge these drawing players by betting.

It might be good to let your opponent “catch up”.

Sometimes, you will have such a strong hand combination that your opponent has almost no chance of beating you. If you bet right away, you might scare away other players and miss out on tons of value. When you’ve got a stranglehold on the hand, it’s best to let your opponents bluff or improve their hand.

Don’t fall in love with your hand.

Some inexperienced players who have the nuts on the flop can’t fold – even when they should. When players make the nuts, they can mistakenly think that other players won’t be as fortunate. You should always have a realistic view of which draws can threaten your hand and what the current nuts are.

Какой вид покера предпочитаешь?

This next hand on GGPoker is a perfect example of a time to not get too attached to your hand.

On the turn, Paul Punts has the nuts in this GGPoker \$0.10/\$0.25 cash game. To make things even better, he has something called a “redraw”, which is a poker term for an even better draw to add to your already-completed combination. Paul has a redraw to a royal flush but needs a ten of hearts to come next.

One important note: The true nuts here is 10♥ 9♥ for a straight flush from 9♥ to K♥. Players will often consider the Ace-high flush the nuts in this situation since a straight flush is very unlikely. If Paul's opponent had 10♥ 9♥, they still only have a 45.9‑to‑1 (2.13%) chance of completing a straight flush.

Essentially, A♥ 7♥ is the nuts here.

On the river, disaster strikes. A Jack of clubs hits the felt and suddenly, Paul doesn’t have such a strong hand.

His Ace-high flush is beaten by many different hands, including KJ, KQ, K10, QJ, J10, and a few others. You need to be able to decide which hands your opponent can reasonably hold.

In this situation, Paul decides to fold when his opponent bets 2x the pot on the river. He thought that his opponent could easily have Jack 10.

PaulPunts can be found on GGPoker playing cash games for several hours a day. He’s almost always in the \$0.10/\$0.25 Texas Hold ‘em games and regularly comments on how casual the games are.

GGPoker can be a perfect option for long-term players who want to choose from several different tables with a wide selection of opponents.

Players generally buy in for \$25 at \$0.10/\$0.25, but going lower in the stakes can often increase the number of recreational players at the tables. At \$0.02/\$0.05 and \$0.05/\$0.10, expect to face weaker competition.