The best hand, considering all the cards on the board, is the “nut.” Unbeatable. Every poker player aspires to catch nuts. Nothing could be made better. It’s unbeatable.
One problem: It’s much more likely you’ll catch the hand of a monster that isn’t crazy enough – “almost crazy” – on the flop or on a turn. But, the next card on the board can negate that high and high status. So watch out, and be prepared to turn around.
Playing Texas hold’em, you’ve dealt the pocket queen – hand made visit Domino777. Your QQ in the hole is most likely the best hand before the flop. An opponent must have pocket Aces or pocket Kings to beat him; it’s very rare. From a late position, you step up to dilute the field, so your QQ has a better chance of remaining in the lead. Your raise also helps build the pot, if you raise or your QQ is best at the showdown, so you take the pot.
Failure to go down: QJ-6 offsuit. You’ve caught a set of Queens – strong hands! At this point, no one can beat him, no matter what cards are dealt. Even pocket Aces can’t beat your Queens set. If an opponent has made a set, say three Jacks if he has dealt Jack, his hand is second best to you. Nor is it possible to be straight or even, considering the cards on the board.
The starting position is out of the bet and called by the other two. You raise the stakes to build the pot; You are so sure it will soon become your pot. After all, you think, “I have nuts!”
In turn, the dealer places 3 spades on the board. Tied to be empty for everyone, you think for yourself. Your opponent quickly examines you; so you make a bet, and get called by two opponents.
Then Big Blind increases your stakes. This is a pay raise – a tactic a skilled player can use when he has caught a possible winner and wants to build “his” pot. What can he have? Best set. That would be the case if he started with pocket jacks, sixes, or treys. No problem, there’s no way he can beat your Queens set – at this point. Nobody can have a higher set; also not as straight or flush as possible. No question, you have nuts. So you raise it back. He and one other player see the river with you.
Another Trey – 3 clubs – fell in the river. Now, Big Blind is out to make a bet. With a pair on the board – two treys – the only way his hand can possibly beat you is with a quad treys. Check your records on him, he is a freelance player, often playing marginal starting hands; and tend to catch up with just a few ins and outs – PokerPigeon. The odds of making a quads on the river are huge – more than 40 to 1 against him even if he has a set on the turn.
Your first tendency is to raise him again. Based on the odds, that would be a good bet. After all, you now have a full ship – the queen on the treys; and very profitable pot odds. But, something tells you not to raise; if she has quadriceps, she’ll raise you back up. It will be very expensive. Maybe the river gave him a treys quad – myrrh.
It may be. After you call the stakes, it produces two red trees. Yes, indeed, he caught absolute nuts in the river. He only had one, but he caught it – one card from the rest of the deck! Luck is on his side.
Next issue, we’ll examine the more common cases where your nut turns on a turn to be second best on the river.
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