Be Careful or Your Poker Nuts Will Get Crushed!
The origins of the phrase "poker nuts" are uncertain although it is thought to have come from old slang meaning "delightful thing, practice or experience". It is a "delightful thing" of course, because in Texas Holdem the poker nuts is the best possible hand that you can have at any point in the game.
If you have the nuts, you can't be beaten...at that point in the hand. This is the crucial factor that a lot of inexperienced players fail to take account of, the nuts can move from one player to another and your hand which was the nuts earlier on can end up being crushed!
The following example should demonstrate the fickle nature of the cards in Texas Holdem poker and how your nuts can quickly turn to pulp!
You are playing a hand of Texas Holdem poker and there are three players still in the game at the flop. You get dealt 7 of clubs, 8 of diamonds; Amy has 5 of spades, 5 of clubs and John's hand is King, 9 of hearts.
The flop is dealt and the cards are 9 of hearts, 6 of hearts and 5 of diamonds. This is a great flop for you - you've got the poker nuts! At this point you have a straight - 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 - which cannot be beaten by any other combination of cards.
Now you decide to "slow play" your hand and try to draw a bet from somebody with a high pair who will like this flop, so you simply check. Amy likes the look of her hand now as she's flopped three 5s so she makes a bet which is called by John as he now has a pair of 9s with a King kicker. You like the way it's going so you call the bet.
The turn card is Ace of hearts. John is now smiling to himself as he has just managed to make the poker nuts with a flush, his two hearts in his hand plus the three on the table with Ace King high now give him an unbeatable hand. John bets as he knows he's got the nuts but he wants to extract the maximum cash from the table so he keeps his bet low enough to get called. You still think you're winning with the straight, in fact the Ace has strengthened that belief as you now reckon John probably has an Ace in his hand and maybe even two pairs.
He's fallen into your trap! Or so you think.
The river is dealt and it's the 5 of hearts. This is a blow to you as there are now four hearts on view, so anyone with a heart is beating you with a flush. John is happy with the 5 as he still feels he is winning with the top flush, while his opponents may also have made a flush and think they are winning. Amy of course is the real winner as she has just made the nuts with four 5s, her four of a kind can only be beaten by a straight flush or a better four of a kind. There aren't enough connected hearts showing on the table to make a straight flush and there isn't another pair showing so it is impossible to make four of a kind.
Amy wins the pot while you and John reflect on what should have been.
Both of you held the poker nuts at one point in the game but failed to realise that the poker nuts - and your fortunes - in Texas Holdem can change completely with one turn of a card.
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