What is the Nuts in Poker

The nuts in poker

In poker, the best possible hand for any given situation is known as the nuts. This term defines the best possible combination in a given hand. So, having made the best hand at the table, you can call it the nuts in poker.​

This concept is widely used both on the preflop and on each of the subsequent streets (flop, turn, river). But the main meaning, of course, this term has on the river, when all the cards are dealt on the table and you need to determine the winner.

With the absolute nuts, you will be in a completely invulnerable position. However, it is sometimes possible that someone else might have the same hand as you, in which case you split the pot.

What is the Nuts in Poker

Poker players use the term "nuts" to refer to the strongest hand in a given hand. The player with the nuts has inherent confidence in the dominant strength of his hand. Each player wants to collect the nuts in poker, since with it he has a very high chance of winning (sometimes a pot split is possible).

If we talk about preflop, then the concept of the nuts is rarely used here. There are simply premium hands here – stronger hole cards that need to be played with more often. If you are still asked what hand can be considered the nuts preflop, then the answer, of course, will be pocket aces as the strongest possible pocket cards in the hand.

Much more often, the concept of the nuts in poker is used on board cards. It's important to note that the nuts can, and often do, change as cards appear on the board. For example, if the flop is 4-5-8, then the player with 6-7 has the nut hand, but if the six falls on the turn, then the hand 7-9 will already give the nuts. That is, the strength of the hand should be judged by the fact, according to all the cards that have appeared on the board.

Nut Hands' Examples

Let's consider various examples of the maximum possible strong hands on different streets (that is, on a different number of cards on a common board). Let's start with the flop.

The Flop
The Flop

The figure shows (from top to bottom): the nut heart flush, the nut set of queens, the nut full house on tens.

The nuts on the flop

The Turn
The Turn

Here you see examples of the nuts already on the turn. In the picture (from top to bottom): nut full house (the pot can be divided if the other player A9), nut flush, nut four of a kind.

The nuts on the turn

The River
The River

And finally, the nuts on the river. In the picture (from top to bottom): nut four of a kind, nut straight (split possible), nut flush.

The nuts on the river


It is very important to keep a poker face with the nuts – so as not to give any useful information about your cards to your opponents. The better you hide the strength of your combination, the more chips you can win from other players.

How to Play the Nuts

When playing the nuts, your main goal is simple – to win as many chips as possible.

Folding nut hands doesn't make any sense. Even if you get run over on the river, you should still be profitable in the long run. Therefore, nut hands are usually played either aggressively (with confidence to win or trying to knock out poker players with nut draws) or passively (want to draw more players into the pot and extract more money from them).

In any case, even with the nuts, remember to adjust to your opponents and position to maximize your profit.

With the nuts, your goal is to maximize the pot and not take any action that will scare your opponents away. If you're not making any money through your own fault, it's a bad game, but if you're playing well and drawing a lot of chips from your opponent, then it's a job well done.

Here are some tips for playing the nut hand:

  • really make sure you have the nuts to begin with;
  • analyze the board and possible draws;
  • estimate the possible ranges of your opponents;
  • do not get involved in slowplay;
  • think about what range they can put you on;
  • take into account the huge role of position.

Why not get involved in slowplay? Why is playing the nuts passively more often worse than playing aggressively? Poker wisdom tells us that in most cases a bet is better than a check and a raise is better than a call. Texas holdem is an aggressive game, and in modern poker based on aggression, if you suddenly slow down and start check-calling rather than betting and raising, even not very experienced opponents will suspect a trick.

Final Thoughts

Experienced poker players can only look at the board for a couple of seconds and immediately name the absolute nuts possible here. To improve their analysis and range skills, many players actively use various poker programs, such as a poker calculator.

And just while watching poker videos, you can try to practice: pause the hand, look at the board and name the absolute nuts, and then the second possible and third one. This may be difficult at first, but soon you will start clicking on such tasks like nuts.


💎 What does flop the nuts mean?

"Flop the nuts" refers to a situation in poker where a player's hand becomes the best possible hand immediately after the first three community cards on the board. It doesn't mean that their hand will remain the best possible hand through the turn and river, but at the moment of the flop, no other player can have a stronger hand.

🎯 Why do you have to bet the nuts in poker?

In some poker games and tournament situations, there's a rule that requires players to bet or raise with the "nuts" on the river if they are first to act. The "nuts" refers to the best possible hand that can be made at that moment in the game. The main reason for this rule is to prevent collusion between players.

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