The word ‘nit’ in poker has evolved in the years since I started playing. When I first heard the term around 2003, it had a very particular meaning that was outlined fantastically by Daniel Negreanu on his blog at the time.
In poker, the nut hand is the strongest possible hand in a given situation. The second-nut hand or third-nut hand (and so on) may refer to the second and third best possible hands. The term applies mostly to community card poker games where the individual holding the strongest possible hand, with the given board of community cards, is capable.
Poker Penalty Checking Nuts Without
Flopping a flush or a similarly great hand and deceiving players all the way until the end is one of the joys of poker. It is perfectly legal to check the nuts on each street up until the river. However, the rule states that if you are last to act on a hand on the river and you are holding the nuts, you have to bet or raise. Meanwhile a player holding the nuts who is acting first on the last betting round can of course check in the hopes of check-raising — the rule only applies to a player acting last.
Back then, a nit was someone who took what they wanted from the game but didn’t give back. They would sit down at a table, fleece any novices and then leave, breaking up the game. Always looking out for number one.
I think this is a true description of a nit; a tenacious, bloodsucking insect that is nothing more than a pest. However, this is being used less and less by modern poker players.
Nowadays, a nit is pretty much anyone who plays a tight style of poker, whether it be aggressive or passive, and it is still used as a slur – usually by loose-aggressive players.
And that’s because playing loose-aggressive is seen as “cool”. I’m a massive nit, but I often feel the pressure to loosen up my game, just because playing tight gets such bad press.
After all, taking down a huge pot with 7-2 off-suit on a monster bluff is way more exciting than sitting around waiting for pocket kings.
Poker Penalty Checking Nuts Allowed
The thing is, being a nit works as long as you are tight-aggressive and not tight-passive (probably the least successful poker style ever).
Careful hand selection, controlled aggression and giving yourself easy decisions post-flop is a winning strategy for 95% of players at micro, low and some medium stakes games.
Patrik Antonius, Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan are among the best cash game players in the world and they play extremely loose-aggressive because the level of competition they face is very high and they need to avoid being predictable.
Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey are both considered loose-aggressive players
Most players do not have these restrictions. Whenever I sit down at a micro-stakes online poker table, I can be pretty sure that around 30 per cent of the people I’m playing with rode the special bus to school.
The chances they are able to process any information other than the two cards directly in front of them is minimal, so there is no real need to balance my range by playing anything other than the complete nuts.
I’ve lost count of the number of times at 888 Poker where I haven’t played a hand for an hour, I reraise with pocket aces and someone pushes on me with absolute garbage.
There is no need for subterfuge here, they don’t consider the fact I haven’t played a hand in an hour. They don’t think the reraise is suspicious and they don’t recognise how bad their hand is.
Time to take the bus to Value Town
Once you move up the stakes, you’ll find this doesn’t work so well and it will be important to vary the way you play to avoid becoming easy to read.
Until then, be nitty and proud.