Getting the most chips from the best poker hand

Apr 7, 2009 5:02 PM
by George “The Engineer” Epstein |

Capitalize on the ‘nuts’

A poker hand that cannot be beaten is called the "nuts." It doesn’t happen very often, so you want to make the most of it on those rare occasions when it does happen to you.

The other night, in a $3-$6 limit game at the Hustler Casino, the cards had not been going my way. I had lost several hands with second-best. Then things changed.

On the button, I looked down on 8-9 of hearts. Now that’s a marginal drawing hand – one that must improve considerably to win a pot. But, with seven opponents staying to see the flop and no raises, the pot odds were good enough to take a shot at it. To make a short story even shorter, you can see what the cards looked like when we reached the river.

As you can see, I had a hand that could not be beaten by any opponent. I had the NUTS! Now my objective was to build as large a pot as possible.

On the turn, I had made the "nut straight." With a "rainbow board," there was no danger of a flush. I decided to slow-play my nut straight. Hopefully the board would not pair on the river, in which case an opponent could have a full boat. An early-position player bet out and was raised by the player to his left. Two others called before the betting got to me on the button. I just called.

The river did not pair the board; again the poker gods had smiled on me. My nut straight was now THE nuts! No one could possibly beat it … Wow! With several opponents still in the hand, perhaps I could build a big pot for myself.

The early-position player checked; the player to his left who had raised on the turn, made the big bet. There were two callers. Then it was my turn. Of course I raised. The early-position player folded; and then the original raiser re-raised. Everyone else folded to me. Now it was just the two of us. And I knew he could not beat my hand. I checked my hole cards to make sure I had not made a mistake. Yup, I had the 9-high straight – the nuts!

Now, with just the two of us remaining in the hand, there was no limit on the number of raises. Fortunately we both had lots of chips on the table. We went at it, raising and re-raising. I could hear the murmurs from the other players at the table. After about ten rounds of raising and re-raising, my opponent decided – finally – to just call my last raise.

As I showed my nut straight and the dealer started pushing the pot my way, my opponent showed the 8 of diamonds. He had connected with the second-nut straight – a good hand but second-best to my nut 9-high straight. It was the biggest pot of the night! It’s the NUTS!

Try out your poker strategy with our new poker odds calculator.