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Be careful or your poker nuts will get crushed!

Poker nuts - where exactly does the phrase originate from? The origins are by no means certain but the phrase is believed 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 Johnís hand is King, Jack 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 Ė youíve 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 ďslow playĒ 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 sheís flopped three 5s so she makes a bet which is called by John as he now has a high flush draw. You like the way itís 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 heís 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 youíre 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.

Heís fallen into your trap! Or so you think.

The river is dealt and itís 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 arenít enough connected hearts showing on the table to make a straight flush and there isnít 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.

Beware - the nuts can change!

An alternative to the phrase poker nuts is the "nut hand". The nut hand in poker is the strongest hand that it is possible have in any particular situation. As well as the nut, there is also common usage of the phrases the second-nut hand and also the third-nut hand, meaning the next best and third best hands it is possible to have at that point.

As well as poker, the phrase nut hand can apply to other card games which use communal or community cards, which can be used by any and all players in the game. The nuts is the best hand using the cards in your own hand as well as those in the community.

Another theory on the origin of the phrase nut hand or poker nuts to describe the best available hand is that it came from Western USA. Back in the days of wagons a player would offer the wheel nuts from his wagon as security on his bet to show that he was not about to run off if he should lose.

Thus the terms "nuts" originated and came to mean a hand that was so good that the poker player would be prepared to stake everything on it, i.e. it was unbeatable. A further embellishment of this legend is that the phrase "stone cold nuts" arose because the games in the West were only plyed in the winter so the wheel nuts from the wagon were always freezing.

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Article by Ian McIntosh of www.Love-Texas-Holdem.com. Check out the site for all the latest information on Texas Holdem tournaments and freerolls.Please feel free to use this poker article on your website, newsletter or blog as long as this resource box is left intact and there's a live link to the site.

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