Nuts in poker mean the best of possible combinations in a particular hand. Having made the best hand at the table, you can call it as a nut hand.
The poker players use the concept of "nuts" for identifying the strongest hand in a certain hand. It gives the player, who hit the nuts, the confidence in a dominant strength of his hand. Each player wants to collect the nuts, because such players have a very big chance of winning with such combination.
There are no preflop nut hands. You can estimate the hand’s strength only after seeing the flop, and on the subsequent streets.
Examples of nut hands on the flop:
Figure 1 presents (from top to bottom): the nut flush of hearts, the nut set of queen, the nut full house tens-nines.
Examples of nuts on the turn:
The figure presents (from top to bottom): the nut full house (the bank can be divided if the other player has pocket A9), the nut flush, the nut four of a kind.
Examples of nuts on the river:
The figure presents (from top to bottom): the nut four of a kind, the nut straight (split is possible), the nut flush.
The nut hand on the flop and turn does not guarantee 100% win. You can make a top set on the off suited flop with a pocket pair, and your opponent will hit a straight on the river. Or your nut full house on the turn will beat the four of a kind of your opponent on the river.
Example: the player A has pocket kings, K688 are on the board; his opponent (Player B) has pocket sixes. That is, both players have full houses, but only player A has a nut hand. However, only one out can help the player B to win. If suddenly six comes on river - he will hit four of a kind, which is higher than full.
Nut on the river means a 100% guarantee for winning.
That brings us to the next topic which answers the question: “What are the types of nuts?”
The type of nuts:
The current nut is the highest possible combination at the table at a given time or, more precisely, on a certain street (for example, on the flop or turn), but with the likelihood that the stronger combinations may come on the next street (or streets) for the opponent (as in the hand above).
Absolute nut is unconditionally the best possible combination in hand. It can be determined not only on the river, when all cards are visible. You can flop four of a kind, without outs for a straight flush or nut flush on the turn for the opponent.
The most outstanding example of absolute nut on the flop:
Sometimes such concept as the second largest nut is used.
There isn't any sense to fold the nut hands. Even if you are beaten on the river, you should be profitable in the distance.
Therefore, the nut hands are usually played either aggressively (with confidence in victory or by trying to knock out the poker players with nut draws, which are older than your combination and they can hit them further), or passively (wishing to involve more players into the pot and extract more money from them).
In any case, even with a nut hand, you should not forget to adjust to your opponents and position in order to get the maximum profit.
The concept of "nuts" is present in almost all poker dictionaries, however it cannot be referred to the official poker terminology. This is colloquial or slang word which has been used by the poker players for many years. This word is used not only at the table, but also in educational literature.
For many, the word “Nuts” is more symbolized with a popular candy company Nestle, so some people adhere to the theory of a tasty bar.