The Nuts of Poker
Poker is a card game played by two to seven players, usually with a 52-card deck. The object is to win a pot of money, which is the sum of all the bets placed in any one deal. A player wins a pot by having the highest-ranked poker hand or by making a bet that no other player calls.
A player’s best hand is known as the “nuts.” The nuts are the first five cards a player receives, starting with the flop. The nut can be changed by the turn and river.
The nuts are the best possible hand at any given moment, as determined by a combination of the flop, turn, and river. If the flop has 7-6-2, then trip sevens are the nut hands; if the turn has a 5, then they are no longer nut hands.
When a player holds a pair of Kings, he may fold the pair, or may check and hope that another player raises or calls. This is known as sandbagging, and it is a common practice at the poker table.
Maria Konnikova, a psychologist and journalist who is a world-class professional poker player, wrote a book about her immersion into the world of high-stakes poker. Her book is not just about the cards or the money; it’s also about the human decisions and habits that make people successful in a poker environment.