What are the Nuts in Poker?

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What are the Nuts in Poker?

Because of the many interpretations of the term, the nuts is one of poker’s most controversial. Two people could hold two cards, and each player might see them as the nuts on the street. Many people still need to learn what it means despite being a trendy poker term.

Nuts can be translated as “the best hand,” which can have many meanings. The street level can change the definition of “the nuts” and “relative nuts.” Some players believe it’s the best hand. We also call them “absolute nuts” and “stone-cold nuts”.

There is so much controversy and discussion around nuts that it’s hard to understand why. Let’s get into it. Even the most obscure rule in professional poker has to do with stone-cold nuts.

The History of the Nuts

The most common apocryphal folk etymology for “The Nuts” is that it originated from the historical poker game in America. To ensure he doesn’t lose, he must place the nuts on his wagon’s wheels – the nuts that keep the handcart and wheel together – on the table.

A player only places such a wager if he believes he has the best hand possible. A player will not go all-in if it isn’t part of a complex strategy. It is how we came up with “nuts” for poker. It’s still widely discussed and misunderstood.

Nut Hand: The Most Misunderstood Poker Term

It’s been a hot topic of discussion, and many players continue to debate the issue on several forums. Some argue that the game will reach the river, so having the nuts is impossible. You can only have the best hand if you have four community cards. We’ve seen in many games that the river card can impact the game so that even a weaker hand will beat the nuts on the turn.

A player can get a nut hand even before the flop. It’s too early to call it the absolute nuts, as a single draw on any street could dramatically change its strength. Both interpretations are correct, but they have very different meanings.

There are many interpretations of the nuts that fall between these two interpretations. These interpretations only increase the confusion about what they mean. There are games where a player holds the nuts but may still tie with another player. You’ve probably played enough games to know that community cards can be used to complete hands that end up being the nuts.

Regardless of all the interpretations, the nut has one clear meaning: You can’t lose it if you have.

Because of the many different players’ interpretations, it can be unclear for everyone. Let’s begin by looking at nuts from the street level to make it more transparent.

Street Level Nut Hand

Street-level Nut hand isn’t its official name, but it’s a good idea for discussion. Because if you awake to a pocket Ace, there is no other hand than it.

Here’s how to show street-level nut hands:

  • Ben wakes up to find a pocket aces
  • James draws a strong A J
  • Chris awakens at 10:09

Ben has the best hand and therefore has the “nuts” on pre-flop. While Ben can tie with another player, that’s still a remarkable feat in itself. There’s no way AA can lose pre-flop. However, it’s still early, so the nuts can change.

Let’s look at a flop scenario: The dealer draws the flop, and the player gets 8 6.

The flop is now in play. Chris switches to the nut with a straight 10-high. There is no way to beat Chris’ hand at this stage. A tie with another player is the worst thing that could happen in this round’s straight-ten high.

There are still two streets in the game that has the potential to give James a flush. Chris isn’t the “absolute nuts” hand. Ben’s pocket Ace is still strong, but it’s no longer the nut because the flop has nothing to support it.

You can see that the nuts can change on any street. This turn card scenario illustrates this: The dealer draws K for the turn.

James must draw this card to win the “absolute nuts,” as it gives him AJ 8 7 K, the best hand possible. No matter what hand the other players have or what the river card is, there’s no way to lose a flush high in this game. Ben can only have a trip, and Ace and Chris can only have a straight Jack high. Both are lower than flush ace high.

It’s called the “nut hand at street level” because the nuts changed three times throughout the game. Each hand was the best on the street, but it didn’t hold up when he drew the community cards.

There are many other types of nuts you need to know about poker besides street-level nuts. It will help us determine which nuts each player had during the game.

Different types of nuts in poker

A nut hand is the best hand in the game. There are many interpretations. The “game” can be interpreted as the street with the most substantial hand or as the entire collection of community cards up to the river. To avoid confusion, we need to be familiar with the different types of nuts so that we are referring to the same thing when reviewing a game.

You need to be aware of these types of nuts when you play poker. It will help you strategize and perform better against your opponents.

The Nuts

The general term “the nuts” describes a hand that beats or ties with any player. The community cards were why all three players had the nuts, but they lost it in our case. It’s possible to have more than one player with the nuts, but you can’t beat it on this street.

It can also be referred to as a hand that no one else could beat but could lose on the next street. The nuts can only be understood when you are watching professional poker games. It is a hand that is impossible for another player to beat or tie.

When you hear the term “nut hand” or the nuts, it simply refers to a strong hand that no other player can beat at any time. It can also change over time, leading to a different type of nut hand.

Street Nuts

Because it is possible to beat it, this nut hand is the weakest of all the nuts a player could have. Although it’s the most substantial hand at street level, it could immediately change after a flop, turn, or river with backdoor draws.

In the game’s early stages, the nuts are changing so frequently that it takes time to pay attention. It’s the best hand in the game at that point, so it can dramatically alter a player’s strategy.

Ben has every reason to use his pocket ace pre-flop because there is no better pocket hand than AA. He can see the river with this card, which is a strong card. However, in our example, he might need to be more motivated to raise another player.

Chris failed to make a straight and has the nut hand since no combination can beat a straight ten high. He is more motivated to see the river and would call an all-in from James, who has the stone-cold nuts at the turn. When the K-turn card appears, Chris realizes he doesn’t have the nut hand. Even a very low spade-suited pocket card can outweigh his straight ten high.

Although it can significantly impact a player’s psyche and is the most damaging, it’s also the most vulnerable. It’s temporary, but we can still consider it the nut hand in that game stage.

Relative Nuts

Relative nuts refer to a hand that is unbeatable but which a player could tie with. It is when a player has a hand that is as good as possible at a showdown.

We can’t lose, no matter what the hand of our opponent. Splitting the pot with another player is the worst thing that could occur to our writing.

Board Nuts

The nut hand is only sometimes won by the player with the strongest pre-flop. The nuts sometimes favor a player with a firm hand pre-flop but are defeated by the community cards. If the dealer draws 10 JQ K A, this combination will outnumber any possible combinations a player could have. It saves Chris and Ben from potentially fatal rounds by allowing all three players to split the pot.

A “full board” hand ties all players regardless of hand. It is a different type of nuts people don’t talk about, as it voids the game and leaves nothing to be reviewed other than the bets made by players and the drivers that influenced their decisions.

Absolute Nuts

You can call yourself the absolute nuts or the stone-cold nuts if you have a hand that is unbeatable at any stage of the game. James is the whole nuts because no other combination could beat a flush high. Because he has the A, it’s impossible for another player to tie his hands.

Any player can get the absolute nuts even before the flop, as long as his turn and river cards don’t impact his hand. A royal flush is the best example of an early stone-cold nugget. It doesn’t matter what turn or river card you have; it’s impossible for any player to tie with a royal flush at all times.

Why are nuts critical?

Although the absolute nuts are what most players consider “the nuts,” it all depends on how the player interprets them. It’s one of the most misunderstood terms in poker. Understanding what nuts means can help you improve your poker strategies. It will help you to understand your opponents’ moves and impact your decision-making.

Knowing what a nut hand means can help you make better poker decisions. It could also save you from losing your chance at a WSOP bracelet. An unspoken rule in professional poker requires you to have the nuts.

The Unspoken Rule: When you have the Nut Hand

While we’ve discussed the importance of having a nut hand in a player’s psyche, there are also times when a player uses slow play to create the impression of a weaker hand. This strategy can be used even if you don’t have the nuts. If the game ends, it’s not a reason to have a player check the nuts on the river. Professional poker tournaments don’t condone this behavior and may even penalize players.

You have the nuts, and you should know it. There’s no way to lose, so take advantage. Failure to show justifiable aggression with the nuts can only signify oversight or collaboration. The player with the relative nuts or stone-cold can’t determine if the action will end the game.

A match between Mikalai Pobal and Joni Joni Jouhkimainen is one of the most famous examples of checking the nuts at the river during tournaments. This video shows you how this oversight can still occur, even at a professional level.

It’s not a reason to play slow when you’re the last to move before the game ends. He should raise a fair amount, even if other players check on the river. You must place a wager if you have the highest hand in the game and are the last to move before it ends.

There is an exception to this rule: if the player with the nuts is the initial to move, he may check. Professional players are used to checking the nuts on the river after they move first. This move aims to lure another player into a check-raise. This strategy creates the impression that a player with the nuts has weak hands.

One player is trying to build the pot at the river while intimidating his opponents. It is an excellent way to check the nuts on your river.


Understanding the nuts can be challenging, mainly when so many interpretations exist. It can indicate the best hand on a street, during the game, or all of it. But the only thing you can do with the nuts is to win the game. These are the types of nuts you will encounter when you play poker.

  • The Nuts
  • Street nuts
  • Relative nuts
  • Board nuts
  • Absolute nuts

These are the types you will encounter when playing poker. While playing or watching WSOP, these nuts will not be recognized by professional poker tournaments.

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