Explanation of Nuts
“The nuts” in poker refers to the best possible made hand at any given time.
“The effective nuts” refers to the best possible made hand once we take into account card removal effects or range information. For example, in Hold’em:
The “nuts” on this board texture is actually the Jc9c for the straight-flush. Of course, we know that this hand is technically impossible since we hold the Jc ourselves. The effective nuts is hence the Ace-high club flush.
The term “stone cold nuts” is frequently used to emphasise that no better possible hand is available i.e. we have the absolute nuts.
Example of Nuts used in a sentence -> We 3bet preflop and flopped the stone cold nuts.
How to Use Nuts as Part of Your Poker Strategy
A fundamental skill in poker is being able to recognize which hand constitutes the absolute and the effective nuts on every possible board texture.
Effective nuts also takes into account players’ ranges. If the absolute nuts is not within any player’s range, then the strongest possible available holding (based on the ranges) is referred to as the effective nuts.
Effective nuts may also refer to any hand which is so strong that it would be a cooler if it is beaten. We might flop middle set in Hold’em and refer to it as the effective nuts even if our opponent can have top set in his range. This is because we never plan to fold our middle set regardless of the action.